This weekend I attended a professional writers’ zoom meeting where the invited speaker got annoyed and left early. And abruptly. I wasn’t surprised, but apparently the rest of the attendees were stunned.
There were two major reasons why our speaker left: rudeness and attention grabbing. Well, there’s a third if you count the moderator letting attendees divert the program.
We need a refresher course on meeting politeness and etiquette, especially on Zoom. I talk too often and much, so I’m just as guilty as the rest.
I’ve noticed the rebirth of a few meeting personalities in Zoom. First is The Eater. Actual in-person meetings usually make this impractical, but Zoom seems to give license to participate while sitting in a restaurant. We don’t need to see video of people wolfing down messy food, y’all. Turn off the video.
Secondly is Phillip/ Phillipa. Phillipa takes over meetings and pushes the speaker aside. She’s full of great personal stories and can’t seem to stop interrupting. An otherwise nice person, no one wants to tell her to stop or that she’s being rude. My most cringeworthy experience with a Phillipa was in a virtual workshop on writing erotica. We aren’t there for Philippa’s stories, but she holds us hostage. Asking everyone to hold their questions to the end works for 99% of attendees, but Phillipa just HAS to share another interesting story. Or mansplain.
These are the two worst. I often act like an attention seeking teen in Zoom, so my hands aren’t clean either, but next time I’ll be better.
Moderators’ jobs aren’t easy, but just like circus ringmasters, they can keep things from devolving into chaos.