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Jim's Annoyed by Article on "10 Most Annoying Video Call Phrases"
Kate Gingold
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Jim's Annoyed by Article on "10 Most Annoying Video Call Phrases"

The Sprocket Report

We recently shared an article on our social media page from Small Business Trends that got Jim all riled up here in the office. Take a look and see if you agree with him. 

To be clear, when we say “here in the office” we are talking about a virtual space since our team members are at various locations in both Illinois and California. This is not a new COVID-19 routine – we’ve been a virtual office for almost a decade. Since we talk online daily for hours, we have heard and said all of these many, many times. How about you?

I need to jump on another call.
According to the article, it’s rude to say this, but we frequently have a number of calls lined up from 8:00a Central Time until 5:00p Pacific Time. Since it’s only fair to be on time for each client’s call, sometimes you do have to “jump.”

You’re on mute!
Not everyone has as much experience as we do with video calls. Jim says why not be direct and to the point? Clearly the speaker does not realize they are talking and we are not hearing them.  

We lost you for a minute there.
It happens. The article says that “stating the obvious on remote calls is a tad patronizing,” but if the alternative is assuming what you thought they said, well, you know what “assume” does. 

Do we have everyone here?
Jim likens this phrase to banging a come-to-order gavel. “People multi-task so much more on a virtual call than they do at an in-person meeting. You have to get their attention so everyone is fully participating in the discussion.”

Can you see my screen?
“Technology can be unreliable and the controls are different on various meeting software tools,” Jim explains. “So when you share your screen, how do you know that people are actually seeing it if you don’t ask? If you just make the assumption, inevitably someone will say after a few minutes ‘Umm, we can’t see your screen” and then you have start all over.”

Can everyone mute themselves please?
Once again, the article calls this phrase “a little on the patronizing side,” but Jim says “with more people working from home – with kids, pets, doorbells, traffic, planes flying overhead – it is best to be muted all the time. Wouldn’t you rather be reminded to mute your mic than be embarrassed when your three-year-old comes in yelling that they have to pee?”

Let’s take this offline.
“Or couldn’t we just extend the video meeting?” the author says. Jim totally disagrees with her. “This is a nice way of respecting everyone’s time when an issue might be better discussed one-on-one.”

Conscious there’s only x minutes left …
We all know that one person who just loves to hear themselves talk and they don’t seem to respect additional commitments folks have. Jim feels that as it gets close to the end of the call, bringing everyone back into focus to accomplish what the meeting was meant to do is an important step.

I’m getting really bad feedback.
“Communication is hard enough without bad feedback,” Jim says. “So if you are having trouble, say something. Don’t let them go on when you can’t hear.” The article’s author suggests everyone is quite aware of feedback, so why comment on it? If nothing else, this is the phrase to explain why you are exiting the call. 

I’ve got a hard stop at x o’clock.
It’s hard to understand why people found this phrase annoying – it’s simply a fact that folks have other appointments, just like when we were meeting in person. Jim agrees that if you don’t have another meeting lined up, you might think it’s ok to continue. However, it just isn’t acceptable to inconvenience folks by not respecting the start and stop times of the meeting. “Hard stop tells everyone that you must be finished on time and must leave to be respectful of the next meeting,” Jim says. “If a second meeting needs to be scheduled, go ahead and schedule it.” 

The Small Business Trends article was written by Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead who based it on a survey of 1,000 workers in the United Kingdom. Jim finds it surprising that people don’t see how these phrases help meetings be more efficient. “It’s my motto to be respectful, be present, be brief, and be part of the solution,” he says. “Especially during this year.”

How are you holding up through all of 2020’s virtual business meetings? Some folks are realizing that increased online activity is here to stay. If you want to take advantage of this trend by adding more capabilities to your website, give us a call to talk it over. We’ll try not to use any annoying phrases!

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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2 comments on article "Jim's Annoyed by Article on "10 Most Annoying Video Call Phrases""

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wayne barcheski

I agree almost entirely with Jim. The exception would be "I.m getting bad feedback". I can't think of a good reason to use the phrase.


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Kate Gingold

It is a good phrase to use as an excuse for leaving a call, I suppose!

(Hi, Wayne!)

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