A Conversation for Ask h2g2

How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 1

SashaQ - happysad

We have an Entry about How to be Antisocial in an Open-Plan Office A87624994 but in this day and age with home working and videoconferencing being more common during the Coronavirus pandemic, more antisocial activities are possible.

My ‘favourite’ example is when a colleague decided to eat a bowl of cornflakes in a team meeting and neglected to use the mute button - someone else was speaking, but the videoconferencing software thought the crunching sound was more important for us all to hear smiley - laughsmiley - erm

Do you have any ‘favourite’ examples?


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 2

Icy North

Ooh, I’ll have a think… smiley - smiley


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 3

SashaQ - happysad

smiley - biggrin

I remembered another one. It was partly the meeting organisers' fault, that they didn't configure the meeting to only allow the speaker to be 'on stage', but everyone in the audience complied when asked to turn their video off. Someone arrived late, with their video switched on, so they popped up 'on stage' and sat there for about a minute while the speaker carried on as if nothing had happened. Then the latecomer interrupted to ask what the meeting was, and had to be persuaded to turn their video off, maximising the disruption!


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 4

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

Sounds like the latter example was just a matter of confusion or not being told?


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 5

Baron Grim

What's the online version of burning popcorn or cooking fish in the microwave?

Would it be having some obnoxious music playing in the background?


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 6

SashaQ - happysad

Yeah, the organisers could have put instructions in the text chat, but the latecomer could have turned off their video when they were told, rather than making more of a fuss - it was messy all round!

Good one about the music smiley - ok or you could put some disturbing posters in the background, or some unfortunate slogans on your clothing.


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 7

Milla, h2g2 Operations

Or simply have your headset mike too close to your nose and mouth, and simply breathe. #darthVader

smiley - towel


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 8

Milla, h2g2 Operations

mic? microphone? I'm not doing well with English abbreviations/slang?


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 9

Icy North

Mike and mic are both good abbreviations for microphone in UK English smiley - ok


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 10

Icy North

Online meetings can’t generally deal with more than one sound source. This means we can’t have side-conversations or make spontaneous interjections without disturbing the flow, to some degree. We’ve all had to learn to be a bit more serial, and this is possibly the greatest disadvantage of online meetings. It stifles creativity to a degree.

But your entry is about being antisocial, so I guess you’re looking at people who can’t adapt from the way they behaved in face-to-face meetings - conversation hogs, etc.



One other thing I hate when running an online meeting is for folks to turn up late. It’s usually 5 minutes in, so I have to go over all the intros again, and it’s often the same people responsible each time.

They’re usually late because their previous meeting overran, and that’s because it wasn’t well time-managed. I avoid this by (counterintuitively) making my meetings short. If people know they have only 30 minutes rather than an hour, they get down to the business quickly. Also, I give people time checks (20m to go, 10m to go, etc). If we do finish early, I tell them how many minutes of their life I’ve given them back smiley - smiley

It goes without saying that you should prepare for each meeting beforehand. If there are some items to check, prepare that checklist prior to the meeting and share your screen as you update it. Don’t try to write one during the meeting - it’s a real time-waster and turn-off. Collaboration tools (Google apps, MS Teams, etc) are ideal for this, but get the update permissions right, or you’ll have antisocial updaters messing around with them.


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 11

SashaQ - happysad

That is a good tactic to schedule meetings for 30 minutes instead of 1 hour - if it overruns by a few minutes, it's still within the hour that would have been allocated! I notice MS Teams now gives a 5 minute warning, which it didn't used to in March 2020, but in my experience it is still easy for the organiser to ignore that... It does take a bit more time to be more serial, as you say - someone might try to say something spontaneous, and it takes a few moments for the technology to focus on them, so they have to repeat what they just said. Giving everyone a chance to have a say at some point during the meeting helps, though, and the 'raise hand' feature can be useful.

Yes, preparation makes a difference, whether face-to-face or online - important to know why the meeting is being held and what the objective is smiley - ok

That's a good point about collaborative documents and permissions - I've not had experience of anyone adding 'graffiti' to 'my' documents, but I know a colleague who did have trouble with version control earlier this year! Not easy to visualise new structures, like Teams and Channels and Breakout Rooms and draft/final versions of live documents, so it can get messy, but I am definitely grateful for the technology these days smiley - ok


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 12

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

This isn't abut an online meeting, but a face-to-face one.

Same problems, though.

On July 12 we had a board meeting. At any given time, four or five conversations were going on simultaneously. The moderator was stressed out -- he'd been hospitalized, and had to have his wife drive him to the meeting.

As recording secretary, I had my work cut out for me. I think I got the main topics covered, but who knows?


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 13

SashaQ - happysad

Thanks everyone - I made a start on an Entry here A88028814 - see what you think, and let me know if there are any more things you'd like to add! smiley - cheers


How to be antisocial in an Online Meeting?

Post 14

SashaQ - happysad

The Entry is in Peer Review now F48874?thread=8326965


Key: Complain about this post