Led Zeppelin, surely the greatest rock band there ever was and ever will be, were as far away from a Zoom Call as you can get. ….. or were they…..?? When I play The Crunge backwards I’m sure I can make out the words “You’re still on mute” – which is amazingly prescient for 1973. Was ZoSo code for ‘Zoom Songs? We’ll never know….
So I’ve been scouring their back catalogue (a pretty enjoyable task to be honest) and I’ve spotted ten places where I think they were trying to send a message into the future.
(And by the way it goes without saying that if you are, for some unimaginable reason, not acquainted with any of these tracks then you MUST drop everything and listen to them right now!)
Here we go then:
- Communication Breakdown – a clear and obvious start, communication is much more difficult over a computer. So remember to use plenty of clear body language, exaggerated in fact: Lots of big smiles and reactions for the speaker, laughing loudly so they can see you laugh when you’re muted – and use the chat box for regular comments so the speaker knows you’re there and receiving.
- In The light – in this awesome atmospheric classic of a track maybe Jimi Page was trying to tell us to check your video before you join the meeting – you don’t want to be just a silhouette!
- You Shook Me – I’ve noticed that when I touch my desk my monitors wobble and so does my webcam, so thanks to Page Plant Jones & Bonham I have had the idea of mounting my webcam on the wall just above my screen, so it’s rock solid. Thanks guys!
- Over the hills and far away – This is what you don’t want to look like! Make sure you’re not too far from the camera, and that the camera is level with your face so we’re not just seeing the top of your head, or looking up your nose. And look right at the camera – a good way to make this happen is to make everyone’s pictures small and put them along the top of your screen so you look as if you’re looking at the camera as you look at them.
- Ramble On – this is a warning from Robert Plant about the risks of zoom meetings going on too long (unlike Kashmir). Zoom have set the maximum non-Premium time allowed to be the length of Houses Of The Holy – 40 minutes. I would suggest one hour max. and definitely not a Physical Graffiti-esque 80 minutes. In order to keep to time you might want to agree times and set timers for each speaker.
- How Many More Times – make sure that you’ve got all other apps off, particularly ones that use a lot of computer power like Spotify, Chrome/Firefox, YouTube, and ones that make noises, like email, Slack and Linkedin.
- Nobody’s Fault But Mine (from the under rated and brilliant album Presence which may or may not be about Executive Presence)– Don’t come crying to me when your background undermines your authority or, worse, reveals something untoward about you. Make sure it’s professional, not too cluttered, not too bleak, and not entirely self-promotional (your awards and lots of copies of your one book).
- Your Time Is Gonna Come – What I get from this is that time is short in Zoom World – so have an agenda, a planned schedule and monitor progress, making sure you keep to your plan.
- Custard Pie – I know this song is about something else, but the title at least makes me think about use of humour. Humour is more difficult across a computer screen, but also more important, since Zoom deadens everything, making it 20% more boring. So have some fun if you can!
- Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – the message from this track seems to be: Finish on time, and if you’re an attendee and the meeting is rambling on, be ruthless about dipping out. A short polite message in the comments box is all you need, and then you can leave. Much easier than leaving a face to face meeting!
PS – Blame the excellent Stan Phelps for giving me this idea with his Bob Marley post. Thanks Stan!
PPS – Want to learn Negotiating with Tom Petty? Try here