#NoPants: The True Story of Video Conferencing

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The next time you’re worried about how you’ll look on camera, bear in mind the person on the other end of your video conference may not share your concerns. According to a recent survey by Zogby Analytics, 11% of video conferencing participants admitted to not wearing pants during calls.


That’s right. More than one in 10 people on a video conference said no to breeches. But before you rush to judgment, it’s likely better to focus on the content of your video conference and being fully prepared than pressing your favorite khakis that no one will ever see on your web cam.

Interestingly, many employees spend time in front of the mirrors adjusting their outfits when they could be completing work or prepping for a meeting. And yet, it’s clear that others really couldn’t care less about whether their dress matches their professionalism. They’re getting away with not wearing pants during video calls, and there’s no evidence that being properly dressed has anything to do with the success of a video call. In fact, most survey respondents didn’t even notice.

Should we even care about how we look on camera? Is there any reason to care if we’re properly dressed and presentable if our video conferencing participants don’t even notice?

Truth in Advertising: ESPN’s John Clayton

Those who love the NFL know full well that John Clayton is ESPN’s resident professional football expert. He’s known for his in-depth analysis of top NFL teams, league trends, and behind-the-scenes talk at the league leadership level. It’s to the point where Clayton really could be in a bedroom at his mother’s house, and he could actually wear Slayer shirts on air (oh wait…), and not a single fan would bat an eyelash. Why? Because what matters most when you’re on camera is what you say, not how you look.

The real issue here isn’t that employees can get away with going pants-free during video calls. It’s that 48% of respondents cared more about their appearance than what they were presenting. It’s that 34% of employees actually admitted to spending more prep time on their appearance than on what they’re going to say. Even more of an issue, 30% of those surveyed spend more time looking at themselves than focusing on the actual agenda of the meeting.

What matters when you’re in front of the camera is what you say. Zogby’s survey proved that. ESPN’s commercial proved that. However, it’s not as if there aren’t any real appearance – or habit – concerns to address. Zogby survey respondents DID mention some pet peeves of video conferencing participants. Here’s what you need to avoid:

  • Sitting too close to the camera
  • Mouth movements, from eating and gum chewing to heavy breathing
  • Greasy hair (do remember to use shampoo)
  • Nose blowing

Have your own video conferencing stories to share? Retweet this story with the hashtag #NoPantsUComs and tell us about your own video call hijinks.

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