There are few certainties in life, but meetings that could have been an email are one of them. They’ve even survived lockdown by moving to the virtual world, which brings with it a whole new set of difficulties and adjustments. Here are some tips so that you’re all prepped for your next Zoom.
1. Get ready earlier than you think you need to
If you’re under the illusion that holding a Zoom meeting is going to be a smooth process and nothing will go wrong, it’s time to wake up.
The number one rule for Zoom (or any type of virtual meeting platform) is to expect everything to go wrong. Whether it’s bad Wi-Fi, trouble with enabling audio, or the neighbours deciding that it’s a great time to start playing around with chainsaws.
The last thing you want is to be that person holding everyone else up while you desperately try to find your charger to revive a dead laptop.
2. Hide from the kids and pets
If you’re a parent, when it comes to meetings sometimes you have to ditch your parental instincts and do whatever needs to be done so that you can have an hour of quiet.
Don’t feel ashamed to hire a nanny for a few hours, or play a game of ‘hide and seek’ where there’s not really any seeking going on. Whatever works, works.
3. Do a practice run
If you’re conducting an important meeting, especially one that involves hurdles such as screen sharing, it could be a great idea to pick a lucky someone to help you do a practice run and see if there are any problems that can be avoided or improvements made for the real thing.
This will also give you the opportunity to get familiar with all of the different settings so you’re not trying to anxiously figure it out on the spot.
You might even want to record yourself so you can watch yourself back and take down notes.
4. Go to the toilet beforehand
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to a meeting and realising that you need to pee, then spending the whole meeting trying to work out if you should excuse yourself or try to sneakily exit the screen and hope no one notices before you get back.
We’re still working out Zoom etiquette and it’s sometimes better to just try to avoid having to deal with awkwardly trying to get around it.
5. Keep yourself on mute (unless you’re talking)
This is something that serves everyone.
None wants a burst eardrum from someone sneezing or shuffling papers right next to the microphone, and it helps to hear the person speaking clearly without any background noise going on. It also means that you can open up a packet of M&Ms out of the camera’s eye and sneak them into your mouth without being caught out by the sound.
6. Dress like you’re actually in a meeting
Even though it might be tempting to keep your comfy trackies on for the meeting since no one can see them, it might be good idea to get dressed properly so that your mind knows that it’s business time.
Even if your colleagues don’t see if you’ve got pants on or not, it can still have an effect on your ability to focus and be in ‘work mode’.
7. Get a good set up
Zoom is all about the set up. Having a plain background keeps things professional and is less distracting.
You don’t want a framed photo of your family trip to Bali in 2009 to take attention away from whoever is talking. It’s also a good idea to make sure you aren’t sitting too close or too far away (think close enough so that they can still hear you, not so close that you’re pixelated).
Try to also play around with angles so that you’re not showing everyone your double chins and nose hairs.
Bonus points if you also have good lighting and install a proper camera that gives a better picture than the crappy one your computer comes with.
8. Plug the earphones in
Using headphones or earphones during the call is going to save you from bad sound quality and having to trying to guess at half of what’s being said.
You don’t need fancy Airpods, any old pair will do.
They also give the impression that you’re a serious Zoomer and this isn’t your first rodeo, as well as making the meeting more private and less obtrusive to anyone around you.
Author – Madeleine Goodman
With a background in Sales and Psychology, Maddy combines her knowledge & love of words to bring us all of the things we need to know on how to survive modern day working life. She currently works as the in-house writer at deskPlex.