Online meetings are one of the best ways to get your team together, but just like in-person meetings they can result in terrifying tales. The “buffer zone” created by technology allows people to meet under less-than-ideal circumstances, often with scary results.
In honor of Halloween, here are 7 online meeting horror stories guaranteed to keep you up at night:
The misfiring mute button is a common concern for conference callers, and one particular story shared by a coworker is guaranteed to make your skin crawl.
During a sales pipeline meeting, which was nearing its third hour, suddenly the call was filled with the shuffling of footsteps. And a door shutting.
…I’ll leave out the gory details, but let’s just say the last thing heard was the flushing. The terrible, terrible flushing.
The OS Exorcist
This story is a personal one. While I was interviewing for my job here at PGi, I had several interviews in iMeet®, which performed flawlessly for me and my interviewers. During one of my interviews, my screen saver turned on, which is not unusual since I’d be sitting back talking for several minutes at a time.
When I tapped my touchpad, the screen saver wouldn’t turn off. Tapping keys wouldn’t turn it off either. I asked my interviewers if they could still see and hear me, and they said yes!
I was flying in the dark. I was still on video but couldn’t see myself, had to keep my composure and had no idea how to exit the meeting when it was done.
The Pantsless Horseman
An old college friend of mine was fully embroiled in an arduous job hunt, and that meant interviews upon interviews. He got a little too accustomed to virtual interviews and started attending them in what we affectionately refer to as the “business mullet:” business attire from the waist up, pajamas (or in his case, even less) from the waist down.
During this particular interview, there was a knock at his door and, in the heat of the moment, he forgot what he was wearing.
So he stood up.
With his webcam on.
The Talking Dead
At an old job, we often had very, very lengthy status meetings. It wasn’t uncommon for them to take up half the day. We were free to telecommute, so there was generally a good mix of in-person and on-the-phone participants.
During this particular meeting that was dragging on and on, an intern was one of the virtual participants. As the CEO was mid-sentence, suddenly we heard this from the phone:
“Hello? …yeah man, I’m here. Just on this meeting that’s TAKING FOREVER!”
…then, after a seeming eternity of awkward silence, “Um…you’re not on mute.”
The tale of possessed technology is a common one in horror, but it’s rare that you get a chance to live it first-hand. A coworker recounted to me the tale of when she was working from home and was not, as they say, “webcam ready.” Freshly rolled out of bed, hair a mess, snuggie equipped.
Somehow, her webcam turned on, seemingly on its own. And it was several minutes before she realized the horror.
28 Dogs Later
Another coworker story, this time centered on some rather rambunctious canines. A coworker of mine who works from home full-time was on a conference call when her dog started barking. This wasn’t particularly unusual, however unfortunately she was presenting so she couldn’t simply mute herself.
Then a dog in an adjacent apartment starting barking. Then another. And another.
Before long, an entire apartment complex worth of dogs were flooding her conference call, interrupting her presentation, all because a rather mischievous raccoon was darting through the courtyard riling up the pups.
In a somewhat comforting turn of events, it turns out even upper management isn’t immune from online meeting horror stories. Busy as ever, a manager was driving while running a meeting with an external vendor.
She noticed flashing lights in her rear view, but didn’t think anything of them. Until a voice on a bullhorn told her to pull over.
“Um…I’m going to need to reschedule.”
For more Halloween-inspired fun, be sure and check out all the ghouls and goblins on PGi’s Instagram!