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Webinar Etiquette: Voice-Only or Video Call?

A growing number of executives work from home. That is why webinar etiquette is becoming increasingly important. When we work remotely, most of us wear sweat pants or, if we’re really feeling special, jeans.

I imagine there are times some may not wear pants at all.

In fact, Alka-Seltzer created a TV commercial designed to put the fear of God into anyone who is significantly underdressed during a video conference call.

 

 

For remote workers, wearing comfort-clothing is rarely a problem. Our office mates are more often pets than humans.

Pets do not judge us.

Take it from Mortimer, our pet Tonkinese pictured above.

For comparison, when we’re in an office setting, we usually put ourselves together to present well. We don blazers or high heels.

We wear makeup so as not to scare our co-workers.

However, when we work from home, most of us skip makeup entirely. That’s because makeup is the first thing we take off when we get home. It feels so much better not to be wearing it.

We’re Not Camera-Ready

In other words, as more and more of us work from the comfort of our domiciles, increasingly, we’re not camera-ready. Not by a long shot.

For more casual startup work environments, that’s no big deal. Looking like you pulled an all-nighter is more the norm. Early-stage startups are used to its workers falling asleep into their pizzas. So no makeup is actually a better look than food stuck to your face. But for more polished corporate environments, well, we’re usually not dressed the part.

That is why I urge anyone sending a calendar invitation for a conversation using Go-To-Meeting, WebEx, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams to clearly state whether you’re seeking a voice call or whether you want to see me when we talk.

When you don’t spell it out, well, chaos ensues.

All Dressed Up, No Place to Go

There are times I’ve dressed up for conference calls when no one turned on their cameras. Everyone on the call dialed in. Every single person.

They all used phones.

My casual home office attire would have been just fine, but no. The calendar invite was ambiguous. As a result, I was all dressed up with virtually no place to go.

Fashion Fire Drill

There are times when people say they’re scheduling a call, only at the last minute, it becomes clear they actually want face-to-face video communication. That realization triggers a fashion fire drill.

I sprint upstairs; throw on a blazer; take my hair out of the ponytail atop my head; slap on some foundation and lipstick; and relocate my laptop to a table with a decent background and lighting.

Avoid Ambiguous Webinar Invites

So the next time, please do not send ambiguous calendar invites for a “phone conference” that offers both web links in addition to phone numbers.

It is a far better practice to tell the invitee exactly what you have in mind. Do you want to see my face or shall we leave that up to your imagination?

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