Do you Zoom? Or perhaps use a Zoom-like app that brings a group of people together in Brady-Bunch-intro style windows? I had no idea I’d use it as much as I do, since I’m self-employed and have no staff of my own. (Miss Sugar would say I am HER staff.)
However, I’m mentoring a young lad in voice-over work via Zoom. Clients sometimes want to meet that way. I conduct interviews for Hometown Strathroy-Caradoc magazine via Zoom. Derek and I even watched our ridiculously talented niece Molly perform in a Midsummer Night’s Dream via Zoom. I’ve become quite familiar with it.
There’s a question of Zoom etiquette, however. It’s more than an unaware husband running naked past the camera lens. (Not my husband, mind you!) Or even a disorganized background. The question people are asking is, should you eat during a Zoom call?
My initial response is, no way! The last thing I want to see is someone’s gaping pie hole. Even if they’re on mute, it seems like it would be distracting. And then I thought, what if it’s the person’s short lunch break and they won’t get to eat otherwise? I am in control of my Zoom meet-ups. Not everyone has that luxury.
When I was co-anchoring the morning news on 680 News, Paul and I would graze during commercials and reports. We used to laugh at how much and how often we ate, but it was just little bits and bites of things. I would make a “raw carrot warning” and try to keep my crunching to a minimum. (I failed, I’m sure.) We had apple slices and dry cereal and other snacks, along with vats of strong coffee, to keep us energized.
And I think that’s the answer. When I grazed, I didn’t graze alone. Paul grazed. Our technical producer grazed. We grazed when we could. I think it should be the same for Zoom: read the room. Even if you’re muted when you pull up a bowl of soup you won’t look engaged.
And while we’re on the subject of how you look, what’s the deal with the hair? My hair looks perfectly fine in the mirror. I get on Zoom and it’s like I just rolled out of bed. Or a ditch. And everyone else has just stepped out of a salon. But, I digress.
It seems to me that if you ask whether it’s okay to eat, people will say yes to be polite even if they want to say no.
If I don’t keep my blood sugar stable, I go into hypoglycemia quicker than most people and it’s a horrible feeling. I understand needing to eat. But it’s distracting for others who aren’t eating.
If I really had to, I’d turn off my camera, set my mic to mute, and chew away. I’d let everyone know I’d be listening and still involved. How would you handle it?