Don’t Let Your Pets Crash Your Video Conference

Your pets are an invaluable part of your life. However, when it comes to your video conferences, you might want to make sure you keep them out of your screen.

Charming or Not?

Slate recounts a case where a job interview was charmingly interrupted by a cat cameo, wherein the applicant landed the job. In some cases, participants look forward to the chance of catching a glimpse of the personal side of the people they work with. So cat sightings are welcomed and encouraged. Some will laugh it off and continue with the program. Others will simply ignore the interruption. But not everyone you meet in online meetings will respond the same way.

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Bad distraction

Business experts says one of the worst mistakes you can do during an online business meeting is to engage in distracting behaviors. And having your cat leap on the table and disrupt the meeting with a demanding meow can distract your colleagues or work associates in the worst way. If the discussion is particularly serious, a well-time distraction could break the tension. But it could go the other way and add to it as well. So play it by ear. Consider the crowd. If the group you’re meeting with are potential clients or colleagues you aren’t particularly close with, best to stay on the safe side of things and keep things professional by keeping your cat or dog in your room. After all, it won’t take more than an hour or two at most. Fido or Felix will be out in no time.

Be prepared

Make sure you prepare everything you need for your video conference in advance. Keep them at hand so you can easily bring them up on the screen when you need them. There’s nothing worse than spending endless minutes just trying to find the right video clip or photo to make a point. However, preparation doesn’t just include materials for your presentation or apps and software you’ll use. It also means preparing whatever your pets need to keep them occupied while you get through that meeting. For instance, if you’ve got a puppy, keeping Fido in your room won’t be enough. You’ll need to make sure he’s got enough water and food to keep him interested and occupied. This would also help keep his mind off the fact that you aren’t there. Since some puppies tend to exhibit clingy behavior, you might want to provide a ton of toys to keep your pet distracted. Otherwise, you could end up hearing your puppy let out long howl while you’re in the middle of a meeting. If he keeps up with the racket, you’ll need to excuse yourself from the meeting to set things to right. That’s time and interruption you might not be able to afford, especially if you’re dealing with a picky crowd.

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Get a sitter or friend

Another way to keep your pets from making an unwelcome appearance during your video meeting is to let them stay with a roommate or friend while you get your meeting underway. Or get a friend to stay with your pet out in the yard while you wheel and deal your way through your video conference. A good friend could provide the calming presence your dog needs to stay on his best behavior. This way, you can go through the meeting without worrying if your pet has chewed his way through the furniture or already eaten the armrest on your sofa.

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Use the right tools

Tools and systems like the huddle room from BlueJeans make it possible for you to set up meetings, quick and easy. The ease and efficiency of the tools also help contribute to faster decision-making and resolutions. All that helps to ensure your meetings end right on time or even ahead of schedule. The sooner you get off the camera, the sooner you can let your pets inside the room or get them out of that temporary ‘lock-up’ spot in your home. With the help of an efficient video system, you can eliminate long-winded meetings from your schedule. The sooner your meetings finish, the sooner you and your pet can rest easy.

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Stay focused

Still, no matter the preparations we take, things often have a way of happening beyond our control. The latch might come undone, or your pet could unlock the door and come bounding straight at you while you’re in the middle of a meeting. The best thing to do, in case this happens, is to keep your head. Stay cool. Do what you must to secure your pet back in the room and stay professional and on top of the meeting. Don’t get flustered or distracted. If you’re in control, the rest of the group will take their cue from you and treat the interruption as nothing more than a momentary disturbance, with little to zero lasting effects on the results of the meeting.

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