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A crash course in Zoom etiquette

This week we have a guest post by Paula Johnson. She’s a copywriter and designer by day and performs stand-up comedy and improv in between pandemics.


Do you remember the last “normal” gathering you attended? Whether it was a business meeting or a game night with the gang, you knew how to behave. In short, never take the last donut at a staff meeting and always bring quality booze to a party. The new normal is sheltering in place, social distancing and self-quarantine. Meetings still happen. Friends still get together. But now we do it with Skype, Webex or RingCentral. There are others, but Zoom seems to be, well, zooming to the top of everyone’s list. In an effort to flatten the (learning) curve, I offer these tips for using Zoom:

  • Yes, you must wear pants. You are not an anchor on the nightly news. Shoes are optional.

  • Position your laptop so you’re looking up at the camera. If that is not possible, reduce the appearance of a double chin by wearing a turtleneck, piling on two or three infinity scarves, or growing a beard.

  • If Fido is feeling clingy, hoist him onto your lap. Every day is “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” when you work from home.

  • Refrain from filling your nails, filing your taxes, or churning butter during the video conference. Multitasking is a myth.

  • Let your spouse, roommate, or child know when you’ll be in a video conference should they need to walk behind you. Yes, they must wear pants, too. 

  • Use the mute button if you feel a sneeze coming on. Or a burp. Or a fart. Advanced tip: Don’t use Zoom's built-in virtual background of the Hawaiian beach. Upload a photo of something you really miss…like a golf course or a multi-pack of toilet paper.  Happy April Fools Day!

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash


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