Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Free Conference Calls, are a few of the ways people are staying connected during this time of Shelter in Place due to COVID-19. I have been on so many ZOOM calls that I thought my eyes were failing me due to all the screen time.
I logged onto my laptop and had to squint to see the image on the screen, even with my glasses on. After a minute, I realized that my son had used my computer and dimed the brightness. Not only does my son use my laptop, he often walks through my Zoom calls. And that leads to the tips I have learned while participating in Zoom calls.
When operating a new gadget, we often become better with it through experience. After attending many Zoom sessions I have made mistakes and I have learned a few things. Here are 5 Tips to help you have a successful Zoom meeting.
1. Sit in a location free of distractions – during my first zoom meeting from home, I sat at my dining room table. Both of my sons were also at the table working from their laptops. As I joined the meeting (with audio and unmuted), on son walked behind me and waved at the screen. Then he had to lean in and help me find the mute button (that I had no need to use in the past).
2. Keep your audio muted – check and double-check that your audio is muted. I was on a zoom with about 20 or more people. One woman joined, you could see her sitting down to get situated, she was unmuted. She attempted to press mute, but went back and forth between mute and unmute, then she said a swear word, and began walking around with her phone in her hand. Until finally, the audio was muted again. Keep your sound muted until you need to make a comment.
3 3. Turn your video off – Unless you have a key role in the meeting, you don’t have to be on the screen all of the time. Especially if you’re eating/snacking. I caught myself chewing once and it didn’t look professional. I have also leaned over, reached down, and other antics to retrieve my water bottle or coffee. I’ve seen others drink water during a meeting, I wouldn’t think this is totally taboo, just a matter of preference.
4. Set a Background Picture – an alternative to turning off your camera is to have a still photo of yourself that stays on the screen. There is also an option to select a virtual background form several options on Zoom. Choose carefully. We experimented with this as I talked to my mom. The background she chose looked like she was floating in a waterfall.
5 5. Raise your hand to speak – in a Zoom call, there is an icon you can click to raise your hand when you want to speak. This helps to eliminate or lessen the possibility everyone will talk over each other. Another option is to designate one person to lead and handle the flow of the meeting, calling on people to speak.
What would you add to the list of tips for holding a successful Zoom or other online meeting?