Philip Knight in a Zoom call with his class
Philip Knight was an exemplary Zoom user during a call with his classmates and teacher.

Lockdown. Confinement. Circuit-breaker. Cierre de emergencia. Карантин. Confinamento. 封锁。Penutupan dan penyekatan. Ausgangssperre. 폐쇄. การปิดพื้นที่.

It’s called many things, but it all means that we have to stay at home. While we do that we have to get on with our lives.

Fortunately, as I write this in Singapore on Friday, June 5th 2020, many kids are back at school and life is vaguely returning to new-normal (I hate this lazy, sloppy phraseology). We aren’t allowed back to our offices until Phase 1 (the new name for circuit-breaker) or maybe Phase 2 is over – it’s not clear which at the moment.

Carrying on at home is fine for most and means that the endless video conferences will continue. More meetings, but now with added webinars. One plus is that those who have been hitherto unused to video conferencing are getting the hang of it and Zoom is now a verb that doesn’t only mean move or travel very quickly.

Normally (new-normally?), when in an office meeting, there are standard uniforms that business meeting inhabitants put on, but when on a video call, people do try to get away with various sartorial oddities – singlets, really! Just don’t people.

I have struggled with lighting and location — fortunately this is now sorted – with the aid of some big fat pro-LED lights — we are starting to run our own webinars next week – about investing in UK care homes. If you’d like to participate click here. Also I have a clean white wall and a rather arty lamp in the background to give it some colour.

Now, just need to make sure that that kids — when back from school — and the dog — who’s very happy for all the extra company — can be made vaguely aware of the WEBINAR IN PROGRESS sign.

Here are a few tip to make your lives easier on video conferences:

  • Punctuality – be prepared and on-time!
  • Keep to the point, as the adage goes: the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
  • Be sparing with the visuals – but do use them. Sparingly.
  • Record it – no better way to say ‘I told you so’ than with a video clip of you telling them so.
  • Minimise distractions – phones, children, pets, spouses…
  • Be yourself
  • Double-check your settings – make sure people can hear and see you (if you want them to.)

Good luck out there and don’t forget to wash your hands before and after the call…

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