Dear Miss Manners – Annoyed in Albuquerque

by Miss Manners, Queen of Video Conferencing Etiquette

Dear Miss Manners,

I absolutely love using video conferencing in my advertising agency. It is such a fantastic way to connect to our clients and share storyboards and ad samples in HD quality. The problem is my boss. Let’s just say, he isn’t exactly as smooth as Don Draper when it comes to our clients. He tends to multitask during our calls and it is extremely annoying while I am presenting my creative ideas. Everything seems to distract him – his phone rings, he check his email, he has conversations with people who stop by his office, everything. How do I politely bring up this issue with him?

–          Annoyed in Albuquerque

Dearest Annoyed,

Oh my, that sounds just awful! Your boss is being quite a Churlish Charlie. You deserve the utmost respect when you are pitching your advertising suggestions. It seems to me that the Top Dog needs to be put in the dog house for his behavior.

It is easy to forget how realistic HD video conferencing is. It truly is like being in the same room with another person. Would Mr. Head Honcho be as disrespectful if he were in a conference room with your client, rather than over VC? Perhaps you could tell him how much you enjoy using LifeSize during your next one-on-one meeting. “You know, sir, I truly appreciate the opportunity to speak to our client over our video system. It really feels so lifelike.” Maybe then, your boss will remember that your client can see and hear everything on the other side of the call and he might want to tone down the side conversations and multitasking.

Oh, the magic of mute! (Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia)

You could also gently remind him of the magic of “mute”. With the press of one tiny button, your boss could attend to office visitors and unexpected phone calls without interrupting the entire video conference call.

When all else fails, try to remember this little gem from H. Jackson Brown, Jr.: “Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people’s bad manners.” Best of luck!

Remember, during VCs, always mind your P’s and Q’s.

–          MM

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