What your videoconference style says about you

Note your four letters and see what your videoconference preferences reveal about you

By Morrissey Goodale August 8, 2022
Courtesy: CFE Media & Technology

When she’s not busy being Director of Practice Risk Management at Lockton Companies, expertly helping AE and environmental firms manage risk, or (some would say most importantly) co-moderating the Strategy for the Modern AE Firm CEO Panel at one of our M&A, Strategy, and Innovation Symposiums, Karen Erger spends her time pondering and writing about what’s really important in business today—mostly seriously, often humorously, and always insightfully.

In a column that originally appeared in the Volume 110, Number 8 issue of the Illinois Bar Journal, published by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), she turned her attention to the topic of personality tests in business. She devised a means of categorizing managers based on their attitudes toward the dominant communication method of our times: videoconferencing. She calls her scheme “Videoconferencing Assessment Preference Identification Device (VAPID).” And I think it’s brilliantly funny. VAPID simply requires you to state your preferences in four key categories:

  • Your preferred videoconference platform: Teams (T) or Zoom (Z);
  • Your preferred videoconference background: actual (A) or virtual (V);
  • Your preference for having your camera on or off (when you have a choice): on (O) or off (F); and
  • Your preferred attire for videoconferences: office-ready (R) or sweatpants (S).

Once you’ve answered these questions, the fun begins. Note your four letters and see what your videoconference preferences reveal about you:

TAOR: The CEO. Confident and gregarious, you love to examine all possibilities. You have a perfectionist streak and get fussy when colleagues’ pets and children appear in their background.

TAOS: The Pioneer. Self-assured and cool-headed, you are second to none in finding practical solutions to messy and seemingly intractable problems. The word “can’t” is not in your vocabulary, except when you’re yelling “we can’t hear you” to a hapless colleague on mute.

TAFR: The Professor. You are an expert on many subjects and take pleasure in sharing your expertise with others, whether on stage before hundreds or one-on-one. Your talents are truly limitless and include a near-magical ability to multitask undetected during videoconferences.

TAFS: The Warrior. Brave and bold, you are at your best when leading a team to victory. You are a master tactician and specialize in finding effective shortcuts, including solving the Wordle of the day in three moves while actively participating in a videoconference.

TVOR: The Star. Charming and poised, you have a matchless ability to capture the attention of others, and the world is your stage. You secretly enjoy placing all videoconference participants on Teams “Together Mode” so that they appear as an admiring audience watching you from theater seats.

TVOS: The Visionary. You are tireless in your pursuit not just of personal excellence but a better world for all humankind. Your quest for constant improvement leads you to choose a different virtual background for every meeting—your colleagues never know whether they’ll see you in an island paradise or on the moon.

TVFR: The Librarian. Articulate and wise, you have an orderly mind that enables you to master any subject. You are naturally modest and sometimes need to be prompted to let your light shine, especially when you’ve totally lost the thread of a discussion because you’re reading a meaty tome off-camera.

TVFS: The Ranger. You are a master researcher and happiest when pursuing an elusive answer or obscure bit of knowledge. You are comfortable with unconventional solutions and uncomfortable with sharing your enjoyment of remote work with less-enamored colleagues.

ZAOR: The Shepherd. You are engaging and approachable, and your ability to build and lead effective teams is unsurpassed. You delight in making sure that everyone is included—even when they would rather not be.

ZAOS: The Labrador. Your uncomplicated, fun-loving nature can obscure your laser focus when pursuing goals. You make friends easily and enjoy interacting with them, which can cause problems when you forget to make your chat messages private.

ZAFR: The Diplomat. Intuitive and persuasive, you have a remarkable ability to manage difficult people and navigate tricky situations—like that time you forgot you were sharing your screen and started answering unrelated emails for all to see.

ZAFS: The Trailblazer. You are a disrupter at heart and revel in developing new and exciting methods and projects. You have no qualms about violating norms, including the convention about not aiming your camera up your nose.

ZVOR: The Wizard. Creative and brilliant, you move in mysterious ways. You are dauntless in facing gigantic challenges, including navigating an unfamiliar videoconference platform in a high-pressure meeting.

ZVOS: The Hero. Straightforward and driven, you are tireless in your pursuit of justice for all. “By any means necessary” is your motto, especially when you forget about a videoconference and are forced to conduct it on your phone in your car.

ZVFR: The Beekeeper. You have a special knack for creating an amazing culture and bringing out the best in every member of the team. You’re often so focused on everyone in the hive that you fail to check your own image on screen, leading to embarrassing spinach-on-teeth and wardrobe-fail moments.

ZVFS: The Stagehand. You are private and intense, and your coworkers often overlook the fact that you make great things happen behind the scenes. When they do notice, it is usually because you’ve left the microphone on while typing away furiously on other projects.

Morrissey Goodale is a CFE Media content partner.

Original content can be found at Morrissey Goodale.