5 things NOT to do during a video call

1. Talk-Over or Interrupt Prospective Buyers

Communication via video call is omnidirectional, it’s not like TV or a YouTube channel where the entire experience is one of filling the audience with entertainment or information. The art is to engage and interact and not to verbally spam your way through.

The skill in sales is opening the prospect and discovering their needs and wants, subsequently matching them to the products or services you offer. This means the very worst thing to do would be to talk over the prospective buyer, interrupt them mid-flow or finish sentences for them. There can be times when we become nervous or stressed and this can be when interruptions creep in. We might refer to this as our “inner chimp”, getting a bit overactive when stressed. It’s a problem for many people far more often than they know.  For example, stressed traders who take trading positions in market equities or FX markets are in constant flight or fight mode. Our brain is primitive, our “inner chimp” wants to protect us and make us feel good. Unfortunately, our inner chimp is rather mischievous, this can cause catastrophic outcomes in trading as traders might overtrade too frequently, or with oversized positions. It matters in sales too.

In the context of business, the inner chimp needs to be calm, don’t talk over, and don’t allow your product or service knowledge to conversationally swamp the prospect. Pace yourself. Your words are your currency, just like a trader you need to manage your “word liquidity”, hold back and use the right lines and words in the right moments. You can only achieve this by being calm, courteous and nurturing the prospect to talk “with you”.

The example of the “inner chimp” has been included in this article, it seems only right to credit this correctly to the fantastic book, The Chimp Paradox, by Steve Peters. This book is widely used by professional salespeople and traders. We suggest avoiding any monkey business such as talking over or interrupting in times of stress or nervousness in conversations

2. Don’t forget, it’s a Sales Call, NOT an Infomercial

Having excellent product or service knowledge is paramount, it’s what you are aiming to sell after all. But watch out again for that inner chimp, it might want to show off. You can probably recall a face-to-face sales interaction, such as in a car showroom or perhaps an electronics store. These places are a haven for people who have personal passions for the products that they sell. Unfortunately, such people can sometimes go “full chimp”. This means they can’t actually disengage in ego-tripping the product knowledge to such an extent they become a walking talking information centre.


The killer issue is that ego-tripping creates a risk of failing to listen or open up the prospective sales opportunity effectively. Thus, you cannot match the needs and wants. If we don’t control the chimp, we can miss numerous buying signals and even direct “I’ll buy” words or messages from the prospect. V-tail is about omnidirectional communication “with” people and not talking “at people”. At all costs, please avoid the pitfalls of becoming an information centre.

3. Don’t Create Distractions or Fidget

If you have ever been involved in a group video call such as Zoom Google Meet or MS Teams, you will probably recall the person who distracts everyone, they might be on mute but they are the loudest participant in the meeting. They are creating distractions, fidgeting and causing everyone to lose attention. It’s particularly fun to be the meeting organiser, that way you can delete them from the group event.


The catch is that as the presenter on a video call; if you become the fidgeting distraction there is a real risk that the prospective buyer might delete you. You don’t want to lose the relationship and sales opportunities resulting from all of the hard work and money invested in landing the prospect in the first place. Distractions can be much less obvious than you might imagine. For example, it’s more common than not to have something we do that we fail to recognise, such as a nervous laugh during calls, (I must remember that). Or a particular overused phrase, I have a good friend who is not a native speaker but speaks great English, unfortunately, he always seems to use the word, “sincerely”. Perhaps it’s the person who has a strange phrase, for example, the boss who when looking to be sure would say, “as I do understand”, seems innocuous, but it can distract and annoy people.


The message is to look at and listen to yourself. You will know soon enough how to iron out any kinks in your style. And we are not even considering the outward irritations such as tapping on desks, the pen fidgeting or hair adjustments that people do when the inner chip is triggered or even just as a course of habit.

4. Don’t Allow Audio or Visual Pollution

There are some things that are out of our control, for example, a fire alarm goes off, there is a power cut, a real possibility in an age of energy scarcity. Worst of all, the dreaded slow internet connection or worse, a dropout during a video call. However, there are many other potential audio or visual pollutants that are completely under your control.


The most basic is the space you are communicating from, is it aesthetically pleasing, or do you have some rather odd art or even something as innocuous as a controversial book cover behind you? We live in a world of polarized opinions. You might want to make sure that the autobiography of Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump is out of sight for example. You can be sure that these days anyone can be offended, play it safe with Harry Potter perhaps.


Then we have the greatest offenders of audio-visual pollution, mobile phones ringing at the wrong moment, even worse with a ridiculous ringtone. You might well have experienced a few classics during meetings over the years. Most often they caused raptures of laughter, but you are in the business of business and not entertainment as such. Perhaps the number one uninvited interruption is the WhatsApp, Telegram or other chat application you have on a computer. Play it safe, it’s best to put these applications on mute until the video call sessions are over.


The other low-tech gremlin is “the human”. It might be even a good idea to put a note on the door of your video call room, saying “on-air”. We laugh, but there were quite a few hilarious examples caught during the pandemic where a so-called expert or politician was live on air to millions of TV viewers and an escaped child did as children do, causing chaos. However, at times this brought some much-needed entertainment. The same can be said of pets. There is a well-known joke in the broadcasting business, never work with children or animals, we should take heed. Protecting your broadcast environment is the best business practice.

5. Don’t Stray from the Script

Never leave key information such as specifications, prices or key selling points to memory alone. We are all human and we can forget or misremember information. Yet again the answer is simple. Look at any TV broadcast, the presenter is actually just a “talking-head”, often they have little idea about subjects they are talking about. They reply on autocue and paper notes to avoid technical outages. You too should keep a neat note of key information. To illustrate how important this is let’s look at officially the most powerful man in the world, President Joe Biden. Did you know that most of what this important man says is scripted, he even has an earpiece with people keeping him on the scripted narrative? How scary! You might have seen a few examples when President Biden strayed from the official narrative. As we don’t all have a huge group of advisors and aids to manage any gaffs we make, it’s important to make sure you avoid blunders or misspoken jokes or comments outside of the scope of business. We refer you to point one, keep a close eye on your “inner chimp”.

Let’s get you up and running for video call shopping, zoen.shop, ready to meet you face-to-face, because video channels bring us together.