What do you do when you're working from home and your dog barks during a webinar?Don’t laugh. It could happen. In fact, it did happen – to me. I love webinars because I don’t have to dress up and can participate from anywhere. If the presenters are good and the material is interesting, webinars are useful because you can learn a lot in a short period of time. And if they’re boring, no one will know if you quietly walk away or do something else at your desk while the speaker is droning on and on.
Just like there are poor presenters, there are also bad audiences. If you get annoyed by speakers who talk too fast, speak in a monotone or in a hard-to-decipher accent -- or interject “um” between every third word, imagine what they hear on their end. Here are just a few of the annoyances I’ve encountered when giving webinars: .
- • Coughing, sniffling and nose blowing.I know germs can’t be transmitted electronically, but it’s still gross.
- • Heavy breathing. Please. Move back from the audio equipment.
- • Crunching and slurping. Sure, no one can see that you’re snacking while participating – but we can hear you.
- • Kids interrupting. There’s nothing like a little one to blow your cover.
- • Are you sitting there in your bathrobe?
- • Dogs barking.
This brings me to the point of my story. How was I to know that my dog was going to see a friend out the window and choose that moment to frantically alert me? It was a loud bark. And a whine. And the people on the other of the line could hear it. They started interrupting the speaker with “What was that?” Was that a dog? What kind of dog is it? Are you allowed to have dogs at work?” I was mortified. .
We spend a lot of effort making sure we dress appropriately, our phone manners and voice mail messages are impeccable, and our website and social media are up to date. One bark can destroy that image. It’s time for us to take a look at our webinar etiquette. No sniffing, snorting, crunching or munching. And no barking.
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