Zoom - Best Practice Guide for Meetings

Tags Zoom

So, you have Zoom. Good job! That means you’re about 80% of the way to having perfect video communications. What’s the other 20%, you ask? Well, that’s up to you. That remaining portion is your ability to create a professional appearance, background, and presentation. We’re here to help! Let’s discuss some top tips for effective video communications.

Video and Audio

First, let’s talk about your video and audio.

  • Unless your appearance or background is very inappropriate or distracting, turn ON your video. Video is crucial in building trust and engagement in virtual communications. Don’t skip this step just because you don’t love the way your hair looks today.
  • Test your video and audio before your meeting at zoom.us/test.
  • Look at the camera. This takes a bit of getting used to since you want to look at the other participants faces (and, let’s be honest, your own face), but try to look at the camera when you’re talking. This tactic will mimic the in-person feeling of eye contact. It’s important to gauge reactions by looking at the screen, but alternating that with looking at the camera makes the audience feel like you’re really talking to them.
  • Adjust your camera if it is too low or high. Only your barber wants to stare at the top of your head. Your camera should be at eye level.
  • Normally you will have a better experience if you can directly connect your computer into the Internet (connecting your computer to your router with an Ethernet cable instead of using wireless). Sure, Zoom works well on wireless all the way down to 3G, but the quality is best on a solid wired Internet connection, so wire in when you can. Otherwise, just make sure you have good Wi-Fi.
  • Your Internet connection matters when running video and audio from your computer.  Try to keep other Internet traffic to a minimum while you are using Zoom.  For example, if you are working from home and individuals are playing games online and others are streaming movies, it will interfere with your connection to zoom.
  • Try to refrain from having side conversation in the chat window.  This becomes distracting for others as well.
  • If you are not talking, mute yourself.
  • Avoid noisy activities like typing or shuffling papers while your microphone is turned on.

Be Polite!

Manners matter here. We live in a society, so let’s behave as such. There are some general rules of courtesy for virtual (and in person) business meetings.

  • If you can, hold off on eating full meals during your meeting. Imagine how unappealing it would be to watch someone up close slurping a plate of spaghetti on a big screen.
  • Even though it’s tempting, try not to multitask too much. And if you’re going to, at least mute yourself.
  • Be on time, having glanced at the agenda just as you would with an in person meeting.
  • Refrain from private behavior – i.e. scratching your armpits, picking your nose. We can see you!
  • If working at home, try to minimize distractions such as children running into the room or dogs barking.

Your Environment

Your surroundings say a lot about you. Let’s make sure that they say the right things.

  • Dirty clothes in a pile, an unmade bed, and so forth give the impression that you’re not a professional to be trusted with serious work. Clean up and have a simple background (a plain wall, a potted plant, or a bookshelf works perfectly). Zoom also provides virtual backgrounds to help you disguise even the most recklessly cluttered environments.
  • Lights, camera, action! Note, the first item here is LIGHTS. Sure, you’re not a starlet, but you still need to be lit. Position yourself so that most of the light is coming from in front of you (behind your monitor), instead of behind you. If you have a window behind you, shut the blinds. Otherwise, you will be back lit and more difficult to see.
  • Fun fact: barking dogs and slamming doors are not just annoying in person, they are also annoying via Zoom! Find a quiet space to meet, shut the door, and mute yourself as necessary.
  • Your experience will be different at homeNIC uses specialized hardware and other technology in our conference rooms and IVC rooms. If you are experiencing issues during your zoom meeting, please try the following:
    • Try dialing into the meeting or conference with a phone if you have unlimited long distance calling.
    • If you experience a lot of screen freezing during your meeting, you may also turn off your video and see if that helps.

Hone Your Presentation Skills

  • Review your host controls and meeting settings ahead of time.
  • Share housekeeping details with attendees.
    • Remind them to mute their microphones when others are presenting or speaking.
    • Let them know how they can get your attention during the meeting.
      • Will you be checking the chat window?
      • Should they unmute themselves to speak up?
  • Use engagement tools! There is nothing worse than someone droning on for an hour, maybe sharing a dense slide or two. Make full use of everything Zoom has to offer. Screen share, annotate shared content, send out a quick poll, solicit feedback in chat, split your attendees up into video breakout rooms. Do whatever it takes to keep your audience actively engaged. By the way, you can tell your audience is engaged during screen sharing by using the Zoom attendee attention tracking feature.
  • If feasible, stand up! This keeps you dynamic and energetic. You can do this during your virtual meeting by using a standing desk.
  • Don’t get too close. Position yourself so the camera is seeing you from the chest or waist up, instead of just seeing your face. This is more natural for the viewer (after all, in an in-person meeting you’re usually seeing more of a person than just their face). This is especially beneficial if you tend to gesture a lot.
  • Your best teacher is yourself. Record yourself and watch the playback with a critical eye. Did you talk too quickly? Too many ums and ers? Even send the recording to a friend who you know will give you candid feedback.
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Article ID: 102622
Mon 3/23/20 2:42 PM
Tue 3/24/20 1:20 PM