How to have the funniest Zoom meeting ever
December 13, 2020 3:18 AM   Subscribe

I will be retiring at the end of the month (hooray!) Because of the plague, there will be no retirement party, which is okay by me. My boss has, however, scheduled a strategic planning meeting for the team on the day before I leave. I would like to make it the MOST. MEMORABLE. ZOOM. MEETING. EVER. Please help me.

I am already planning to show up in my jammies, drink a glass of wine during the entire meeting, probably flush the toilet off screen. What else can I do that will be fun (but not gross or x rated) that will leave my co-workers laughing after I am gone?
posted by eleslie to Work & Money (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would second guess this. Say, some poor schmuck who has been working on their presentation all week for this meeting will have all their hard work forgotten in the light of your antics. Some person in recent recovery might be triggered by your alcohol use. Etc. Strategic planning meetings should be accessible to everyone, not some no-opt-out comedy show. Organise a Zoom retirement party. Sorry to be a party pooper. Congratulations on your retirement!
posted by The Last Sockpuppet at 3:34 AM on December 13, 2020 [22 favorites]

I agree with The Last Sockpuppet for the most part.

But maybe a tiny bit of fun would be okay, as long as you don't take it too far. For example, when you first dial in, you could use a funny filter. But then turn it off once every has had a little laugh about you having a slice of pizza on your head or lasers coming out of your eyes.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:52 AM on December 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Mod note: As a quick note, someone has posted a cautionary note on this, which OP can consider, but the question is not should I do this or not, and OP is obviously best placed to evaluate the appropriateness of the concept, so going forward please just offer your thoughts for funny ideas for the meeting. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:03 AM on December 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

Maybe set up a Zoom background of a rave party (or whatever fun party of your choice, disco, whatever) and embellish it with your own party lighting, attire, whistles, music. Perhaps pre-arrange with some co-workers to have them "join in" on the fun as the meeting gradually progresses, gradually switching to the same background, attire, etc.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:22 AM on December 13, 2020 [8 favorites]

Question, is this really a strategic planning meeting or is it a way to get everyone together and celebrate your career? In my company, it would have a high likelihood of being the later.

Have some fun at the start, I like the jammies, but be ready to flip to a more serious tone if the meeting warrants.

Other things:
Forget to be on mute and have an off camera conversation. Or if you have a pet, an on camera conversation!

Make a puppet that looks a little like you and partway through meeting, drop a pen, duck down to get it and introduce the puppet. Play it completely seriously
posted by MandaSayGrr at 5:11 AM on December 13, 2020 [11 favorites]

My go-to Zoom move is to take advantage of the video background to record myself sitting at my desk, looking like I’m paying attention. Maybe even nodding or something. Put that as your video background, then stand just off-camera to start the meeting. Wait until someone addresses you directly, then let it linger for a little bit until everyone realizes that video-background-you isn’t going to answer. As confusion reigns, step back into the camera frame.

If no one addresses you directly for a while, you can do other fun things like stealthily walking across the frame so that people just kind of notice.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:11 AM on December 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Mirror with large pile of flour on it in background
posted by history is a weapon at 7:21 AM on December 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Schedule a staff meeting towards the end of the day. If you and other team members drink, ask boss to cover a single-size bottle of wine/ airplane bottle of alcohol/ beer/ tasty not-booze beverage, plus some cocktail snacks, entertaining covid masks, groucho glasses, etc., for every team member. If people are local, you could drop off a package to people, and you'd have allowed it to sit untouched for 2 days to be safe. New Year's is coming up, there's lots of party stuff.
Ask every member of the team to prepare joke, skit, song, story, puppet, mask(not-medical, halloween-y), funny hat, etc. They shouldn't have to perform, but could play an mp3. expenses, Get Boss to solicit very short - under 1 minute - fake goofy testimonials from Company president, Cleaning staff, Board members, Accountant who does expense reports, etc. If these people don't exist, get family or friends to do this.
Make covid masks of the lower part of your face, send 1 to each team member.
Farts are funny in a majorly juvenile way, get .mp3s, play with increasing frequency, length, and volume.
Background sounds, can't think of any, but there must be some.
Keep changing the background to places you want to go when you're retired and covid ends.
posted by theora55 at 8:28 AM on December 13, 2020

On my last day as a contractor at a major tech company, I wore a prom gown to work. Pjs are fine but consider dressing up or going in another direction with the costume stuff instead. I wish I knew more about Zoom so I had better ideas. Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. Yay!
posted by Bella Donna at 11:46 AM on December 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

I saw a man that recorded a video of himself placing tea at his desk for use as a video background, which made it look like he was getting himself tea when replayed while he was sitting there. I imagine you might be able to think of more creative options for your doppelganger to do if you go this route.
posted by Aleyn at 2:17 PM on December 13, 2020

My department has a monthly all-team meeting with a rotating organizer. The point of the meeting is mostly just to remind each other we exist, which has been frankly pretty useful in Covid-times. Each organizer gets complete leeway over how to run the meeting, and we bug each other for "agenda" items. We usually don't even have agenda items.

Recently, it was my turn. I downloaded Jackbox through Steam and we played a game, but I made attendance optional - no judgment if you don't join, but click this new zoom link to play.

Some people joined, and the ones that didn't got extra free time to do whatever they want with! Depending on what you think this meeting will be like, maybe this could work for you.

TL;DR: OPTIONAL Jackbox game (through Steam, which you need to download on your computer)
posted by Drowsy Philosopher at 4:08 PM on December 13, 2020

Nth the background and costume suggestions. If this were me I would probably change the background to an international location and wear the appropriate props. For example a picture of the Eiffel Tower in the background, wear a beret, a striped shirt, and have a baguette on the table.
posted by mundo at 8:10 PM on December 13, 2020

For $65, a goat will join your meeting.
posted by at at 6:44 AM on December 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Honestly I would just replace your Zoom picture with a Rick Astley screenshot and play "Never Gonna Give You Up" in the background, softly, just loud enough to hear... and for all follow-up emails, embed links to the YouTube video.

Not that I've ever done this when leaving a beloved job, no, not ever.
posted by juniperesque at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I was laid off two winters ago I went into my last remote group meeting wearing a bright Hawaiian shirt, baggy pants & sunglasses, played Bob Marley at low volume in the background. I wasn't Zoom background capable at the time so had no beach or whatever, but now, of course -- as others have suggested. Being in an office I skipped the booze regrettably.
posted by lathrop at 10:44 AM on December 15, 2020

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