10 Zoom Tips

It seems like I am on a Zoom meeting call at least once a day.  Some are purely social.  Friends meeting up for coffee or cocktails.  Some are learning experiences like a book review or a class.  Others are helping clients and/or friends learn how to use Zoom.  Finally, I’ve had general business meetings for work on Zoom.  Many times, people will say this is their first experience with Zoom.  How about you?  In the last 2 months have you become a Zoom expert?  More and more I think we will be using Zoom or other video conferencing services for business meetings including job interviews.  Here is a list of 10 tips I have based on my experience.  I’m sure I have a lot more to learn so if you have any tips please let me know.  I’ll add them to my list.

  1. Background – Zoom allows you to download a background for your calls.  I use one that looks like green grass behind me.  I think you can use your own pictures too.  It is great if you are in a messy room or you have children or animals close-by. 
  2. Eye Contact – When you meet someone face to face you look into their eyes. On Zoom I see many people looking down probably at their phone or IPad.  Prop your phone or IPad up so you are looking straight at the camera.  Then it will appear as if you are looking at the person or group you are working with.  For interviews try to use your computer camera so that you don’t need to prop up anything and your hands are free.
  3. Lighting – Lighting needs to be in front of you.  On one call friends had a window behind them.  A strong light behind you makes a shadow on your face.  I couldn’t see them.  Have your back toward the window or any bright light.  Once I asked my friends to move so their backs were toward the window, I could see them!
  4. Handshake – Most face to face business meetings start with a handshake. (Probably not anymore.)  What takes the place of the handshake?  In a small meeting the leader can just acknowledge the people as they arrive.  “Hi Pat”  “Hello Harry” etc.  In an interview so many people used to judge a person based on their handshake. That always seemed so unfair.    I always instructed clients to give a firm handshake.  No need to do that anymore! Got anything you do instead?
  5. Clothing – There has been so much written about clothing during the quarantine.  Many opt for sweatpants or pajamas.  What you wear has an effect on you personally.  Wearing appropriate business clothing sends a message to your brain to act professionally.  With sweatpants or pjs you may act more casually.  Also don’t take a chance by only wearing business attire from the waist up.  You never know when you might need to stand up! 😊
  6. Someone is always watching – I’ve seen some unusual things on calls.  One person was bent over with his/her butt toward the camera.  Not too flattering a pose.  One celebrity took her phone into the bathroom while she used the facilities.  Funny in the telling but totally embarrassing.
  7. Ensure a good signal – With everyone at home it is possible that when you have an important meeting your children and/or spouse are streaming on Netflix.  Let others know you need to have the line open for your call.  Too many callers can deteriorate the signal.
  8. Quiet place – With the whole family home this may be a challenge, but it is best if you can find an empty room and close the door.  No matter what, put yourself on mute during the call.  If you have to come off mute, explain what the noise is.  Most people are understanding during this quarantine.
  9. Temporarily Unmute – Never knew this one but just read about it when I was studying up on Zoom.  You can temporarily unmute yourself by holding the space bar.  It is good to know if you are in a noisy place but need to comment frequently. 
  10. Hand raising – This is one I have been looking for since someone I was helping was worried about controlling the participants in her meeting.  I told her she could require people to raise their hands before they spoke and there was an icon for that. It used to be on the bottom of the screen but now the hand raising icon is under the participants icon at the bottom of the screen.  Hit that and along the side you will see the names of the participants and at the bottom of the names list is the hand raising icon.  If everyone has their camera on then of course they can just physically raise their hands.  In a large meeting though the host might not see them.

Let’s help each other.

“Unprecedented” is a word I hear a lot these days.  Quarantining during the Corona Virus has made this a challenging time.  No one knows what to expect.  People make projections but no one knows for sure. We are in this together and I think we can help each other.  I love coaching people and clients tell me I am a good listener.  If you are feeling lost in this new environment and just want to talk to someone about your concerns, I am offering my services at no charge.  Just talking about something can make you feel better.  I’ll ask you some questions to clarify things in your mind.  That may bring up some new ideas for you.  Please email me at asparker@asparker.com or call me on my cell phone 617-240-5353 to schedule some time.

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