The Subtle Art of Not Fudging Up Online Meets

By Anoushka Gera, Batch of 2024

Online meeting mishaps are the perfect fuel for memes. They have been this period’s saving grace and have made these past couple of years a little more bearable for us. While going through the endless collection of viral memes on online meet disasters amuses us to no end, imagining ourselves caught up in a similar situation seems nightmarish. This has put undue pressure on our fragile state of mind and has made us very anxious about attending online meets. Necessity, however, breeds creativity and all of us have acquired various skills to avoid online mishaps. 

To better prepare you for the never-ending string of online meets, here’s a refresher course to polish your meet-attending skills and avoid the dreaded meeting mishaps.

Perform the sacred mic check:

Do you remember ‘Shweta’? Unless you had cut yourself off from civilisation at the beginning of this year, there is no way you would not have come across the viral video of her. All of us had our funny bones tickled at the poor girl’s expense but you would be lying if you said that this scenario did not make it onto your list of plausible nightmares. 

Thus, here comes the first step in this list and it is a fairly easy one: If you are not supposed to be speaking, check if your microphone is muted a hundred times every minute. 

Humming soft melodies is an understandable reflex that our brains deploy to save us from mind-numbing online lectures. But before unleashing your inner Adele, make sure to reinforce your defence, that is, the mute button, and save others from your rendition of ‘Hello’. 

Use the three magic words:

Occasionally people forget to unmute themselves before delivering a lecture. This results in an entirely different kind of mishap from the one where you speak out of turn. Even though the students would be ecstatic if their teacher takes the class while on mute, it would be no less than a nightmare for said teacher. Besides, your poor network connection can always be trusted to break your voice into a cacophony of noise at least once every second sentence. 

So, to be certain that your sweet voice gets heard instead of the harsh static, be sure to add ‘Am I audible?’ every few minutes. These are the magic words that might irk the listeners but would certainly save you from finding yourself in the midst of a mishap.

Invest in a strong adhesive:

When everything transitioned online, one of the major changes that we made in our lives was that of dressing down all the time. Pyjamas and shorts, which used to be our companions only during night-time, became the staple attire for most of us. A majority of people have made it a habit of wearing shorts while wearing formal clothes on top during online meetings. This has resulted in many rib-tickling mishaps, which we might enjoy but would not want to happen to us.

Thus, while attending online meets, do not, no matter what happens, get up from your seat. Unless mother nature herself opens up a hole in the ground and tries to swallow you whole, you are not supposed to get up from your seat lest people see your embarrassing pyjamas. The easiest and the most stress-free way to accomplish this is to literally glue yourself to the seat. 

Social distance from the L-word:

The professor getting a peck from his wife is an incident that entertained us and made it a little easier for a lot of us to endure the insufferable Valentine’s week and ignore our pitiful states. But that incident highlighted the silver lining of not having a beau. 

Getting caught in the taboo act of PDA ( Public Display of Affection ), that too with one’s significant other is like experiencing being the protagonist of a horror story. Therefore our advice to you is: Don’t get married or get into a relationship. Avoid the horror of embarrassing videos of yourself making rounds on the internet, and take the road less travelled—that of being single forever. While pets barging in video calls is also a mishap we hope to avoid, but it is infinitely less embarrassing to have a pet barge in than a loved one doing so, right? 

Apply this fail-proof method to save face:

In no way do the steps mentioned so far ensure that you won’t land yourself in the midst of a meme-worthy situation. But they might just ensure that even if you do end up making a fool of yourself, it will be in an entirely new fashion and will probably provide netizens with a source for another round of hilarious, brand new memes. But for those of you who are not satisfied with these half-baked steps which do not guarantee success, there is one final step that (while difficult to take) will definitely ensure success:

Don’t attend online meetings.