We’ve all been there: you’re trying to get the information you need from this important video call, but the host appears to be sitting in a dungeon, someone’s dog won’t stop barking, and everyone is talking over each other. Forty minutes later, you’re frustrated and all your notes say is, “Is it over yet?”
Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, UberConference, and Microsoft Teams have seen an unprecedented surge in activity in response to Coronavirus shelter-in-place orders worldwide. These resources allow users to host virtual meetings that are 1-to-1 or 1-to-many.
At goBRANDgo!, we use these meetings to work with clients, outline team projects, host empowergizing webinars, and have daily huddle meetings with our go!-mates (not to mention our weekly online Pictionary tournaments). After eight solid weeks of remote work, we’ve compiled our list of top tips for how to Zoom like a pro:
- Set it up right. Be sure to send the meeting link as early as you can. If you need to update information, be sure to send alerts to attendees.
- Set the tone. Telling people what to expect during meetings helps them be more prepared with comments, questions, and resources to be properly engaged. A short agenda or bullet points you hope to cover will go a long way to keeping the meeting succinct and successful.
- Face the light. Make sure lighting is facing you and not behind you. If you sit with your back to a window or other lighting, no one can see your face.
- Get on early. Get your team to take advantage of those few extra minutes to account for technology issues (they happen when you least expect them!) and catching up so you start right on time.
- Who’s who. If you are the host, change user names in the call to be people’s real names.
- Say people’s names FIRST before asking them a question. It also helps to give a heads up a few minutes before asking the group a question so they know to be prepared to speak.
- Say cheese! Be sure to look directly into the camera and smile when you speak. Even if others can’t see you, they can hear your smile in your voice (it’s true!).
- Quiet, please. If you’re hosting a large meeting, mute all participants at the beginning. Tell them they can unmute themselves to speak as needed. We also find it’s good practice to keep yourself muted unless you want to speak so background noise isn’t distracting to the call.
- Raise your hand. Remind participants to raise their hand (either in the video or virtually) so you’ll know to call on them for questions.
- Stay engaged. Use the chat feature for one on one conversations. Stand up and move around when you can to keep yourself engaged and focused as well.
Some of these tips might seem simple, but proper Zoom etiquette goes a long way in making sure your team gets the most out of meetings and interactions with one another. It’s also worth noting that many of these habits translate into improving physical meetings, too! Consider this: improving meeting habits virtually will allow your team to perform better in the office. Where informed staff are engaged and prepared, productivity increases. And that’s a win-win for everyone.