Marc Chauchard presents his parody on ‘life in the time of video calls’

This is my fourth blog on ‘life in lockdown’, read my previous blog here.

The end of April is approaching, and after six weeks of confinement, it’s time to get a bit more serious and address one of the key issues in these times - that which obliges all of us to attend several Zoom meetings each day...

Video meetings require more attention than face-to-face meetings, because attendees cannot browse on their computers while pretending to listen to the speaker; they MUST listen, look alert and focused!

These meetings are therefore much more tiring than “normal” working sessions in offices, and some guidance has to be given to presenters and participants.

That is the purpose of this blog; I’ll explain how to present efficient and more interesting Zoom sessions.

Please pay attention to my teachings, my dear brothers! (*)

I’ll admit it, I’m very proud...

The President of the “Federation Internationale of Crime, Pandemic and Inferno” – so called “FICPI”, has invited me to moderate a webinar.

He suggested this to me very civilly: “You are summoned to moderate a webinar, to be held next week on April 27, 2020.” 

“At your orders,” I immediately replied. What else could I say?

The subject matter of said webinar is “5 axioms for efficient e-meetings”. 

This subject is precisely what I have been teaching at the University of La Sorbonne for decades… I’ve gained a solid reputation in this field, I’m a true expert!

After all, I was one of the first users of teleconferencing services available in France (1981 – Infomedia & Notepad networking).

I prepared extensively for this online meeting; I invited top class lecturers and detailed several tips, which I term “axioms”, that I will detail below.

In the meantime, FICPI launched a huge communications campaign, and 825 attendants registered for the meeting – with my 12% commission, I made 2,970 EUR which was just enough for my seven course dinner in a 3*** Michelin restaurant in the evening, in a secret non-lockdown restaurant, where I later met Mr Macron, his spouse and a dozen of their supposedly confined friends.

So, on April 27, at 2pm sharp – in fact, we were 18 minutes late because the Microsoft and Apple operating systems refused to allow people from the two “software worlds” to join the meeting simultaneously… anyway we ended up starting eventually, albeit a little late...

It’s now appropriate to mention Axiom #1: check all technical connections in advance!

Indeed, it took an additional 10 minutes to adjust the audio and video settings properly before I could  reveal myself to the audience in a tiny bathing suit in front of my swimming pool… whilst I was sure I had focused the camera on my (then) smiling face.

At this point, we still had around 786 participants in the audience.

I briefly introduced the speakers, explaining Axiom #2: the agenda should be limited to 3 items, in order to maintain the participants’ focus.

It only took me 27 minutes to give a brief introduction; I must admit it was brilliantly presented: our agenda contained 3 sections, each one divided into 4 sub-sections having in turn 5, perhaps 6 or 7 items of great interest.

It was probably siesta time in Western Europe; we lost 168 attendees.

Then I “revealed” Axiom #3: get to the point immediately!

The first lecturer, Mr Umberto Pistachio took the floor, I should say the microphone -  he was standing in front of hole #16 of his golf course in Southern Europe.

He probably did not listen very carefully to my advice and he presented – in about 23 minutes - the whole story of the coronavirus pandemic from November 2019 when it was finally reported by the local authorities. He repeated what everyone already knew, instead of getting directly to the key point of his speech which was “focusing on the major issue” rather than hopping from one question to another. (The French term is “papillonner”: “jumping” from one idea to another one like a butterfly.)

After some preliminary warnings, I was eventually forced to put a polite end to his speech, imitating a famous TV presenter who succeeded in politics: “You’re fired!”, then I asked the next lecturer to join the meeting.

The audience counter in front of me still indicated 523 enthralled delegates at this point.

Our next presenter was a female speaker, Mrs Elysabetha Ecuadora, whose main subject matter was Axiom #4: speak clearly & slowly.

At that point the communications networks were not completely stable – coronavirus has led to thousands of e-meetings being held simultaneously, which in conjunction with a very rapid-fire speaker, meant that her lecture was scarcely understandable.

Presentations are not always given in our native language, and since I don’t understand Icelandic, I wisely used the “mute” feature to set her microphone to “silent”, also turning her camera off, after which I calmly introduced the next presenter.

The counter indicated a slowly declining audience, we were now down to just 325 listeners.

My final lecturer was a Canadian colleague, a well-known researcher named Mr Tryphon Tournesol (**) who was supposed to address Axiom #5: the maximum duration of e-meetings should be 60 minutes.

He started directly with a short 18-minute introductory section on his professional resume: he had worked at dozens of firms in various fields, such as virus laboratories and mask manufacturers - which gave him enough authority and prestige to talk about the present pandemic. He finally began lecturing the 196 remaining participants at 410pm, 130 minutes after the beginning of the webinar.

I forgot to mention that, among my various criminal activities, I’m an active Member in the Networking Rifle Academy (“NRA”) – a branch of our SPECTRE Commission – which licenses me to buy and sometimes use a e-Magnum 347 super-gun.

This is precisely what I did at 4H30 pm this day of April 27, when I fired an e-bullet into the head of this outstanding orator, which constituted the first-ever online crime, for which I’m claiming a true Guinness record, with probably 65 first hand witnesses to the event.

My webinar ended shortly afterwards, the remaining participants, probably 50 or so, being a little bit frightened by the e-blood spread all around their computer screens.

I sincerely trust this webinar has been useful and that you’ll follow my teachings in the future.

Mr Macron, during our evening of wining and dining, told me that he will remember my webinar which he followed in its entirety, and will use its (“my”) teachings in his next short speech to the Nation (about 48 minutes in length, which is short compared with too many others…)  he learns quickly, we must admit that, what a great man!

See you again soon on my next blog post, stay at home if you don’t wish me to use my e-Magnum again!

(*) I’m considering establishing a new sect: “the scientolo-pandemic”, would you join it and provide some funding to support me in presenting my Axiom teachings?

(**) Mr Tryphon Tournesol is a character from a Tintin book, a genius ‘mad inventor’, known as Professor Cuthbert Calculus to English-language readers.

April 27, 2020.

My next blog will address mental activities, sports and more. 



FICPI has developed a suite of  resources and information to help members of our global community to adapt to the new way of working under Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions, which brings opportunities for growth as well as some immediate challenges. This is the fourth of Marc’s blogs on life under lockdown in France.

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