Author: Kim Ramsden, IABC-MN, Communications Director 

Communicators are tired. Some of us, especially those working inside global companies, have been working on COVID-19-related communications on top of already busy jobs since February. Each of us is juggling a variety of stresses in these challenging times. 

Video conferencing has been a lifeline for businesses during the pandemic. For team collaboration, virtual meetings deliver many of the same benefits as being face-to-face. It has also been a bridge to connect socially isolated friends and families through happy hours and game nights. With distancing measures set in place for a while, the rise in videoconferencing is here to stay.  

Think about how far we’ve come already with video conference calls. Video conferencing was primarily used in remote teams or adding in a few participants who couldn’t be there in person. It wasn’t long ago that most of us would cringe at seeing our faces on screen, opting for audio calls if given a choice. 

With all the video conferencing we are doing now from home, we are bound to have a few fails or embarrassing mishaps. Do you remember the viral video of the mortified father whose sweet toddler bounded into his live BBC interview? That’s hardly embarrassing enough anymore, when today kids and pets are making regular appearances in business meetings. In fact, teams could even rent a llama or even a donkey to liven up their video meetings. 

Communicators are human.  They have spent many, many hours on video calls that haven’t always gone as planned or were a little more casual than intended. We’ve asked some IABC-MN communicators to share embarrassing moments either witnessed or experienced firsthand. 

Here are a few of our favorites: 

One communicator was so tired from working so many hours, that she fell asleep on a conference call and didn’t realize it until everyone had left the call.

One communicator got on a Zoom call with a newer client and didn’t realize that the Zoom background image that clients were seeing was a goofy and embarrassing childhood picture of his brother, which he posted for a family video call the previous evening.

A communicator had joined a Zoom happy hour with some friends. They were playing around with settings and gave each other raunchy nicknames. A couple days later, she went to log into a casual chat with professional colleagues, but the host had blocked her from entering their meeting room. When the unusual screen name popped up the host thought it was a hacker crashing their meeting! 

During a family call over the Easter holiday, a communicator’s aunt was joining the video call from her cell phone. She wanted to prop her phone up to be hands-free during the call, but the top half of her screen was the inside of a cardboard box. She looked like she was a mile away.