It is no surprise that Zoom is one of the most downloaded apps in 2020. With millions of people staying home, Zoom was being used for both professional and personal use. From meet workings, to happy hours with coworkers or friends, to trivia nights, Zoom has helped everyone feel connected while social distancing.
Just like an in-person meeting, there are some guidelines that reflect as good virtual meeting etiquette. Some are obvious, like arrive early/on time, avoid eating, being mindful of your body language, and dress to impress.
To add to the list, here are five best practices to help ensure an effective Zoom meeting:
1. Prepare for your meeting To stay on task and focused, make sure to prepare your meeting. Whether the meeting is a small team meeting or a large seminar, if you are the host of the meeting, create an agenda with key talking points. (Bonus pointer: make sure to leave time at the end of the meeting for Q&A!) Also, as the host, make sure to invite only those who are needed. Some meetings may not need input from every member of the team, and if they are present, in return this could lead to distractions. If you are attending a meeting, make sure to have any questions written out to ask. Attendees need to be just as prepared as hosts.
2. Set your stage You are looking professional but how does your background look? An unmade bed, messy bookcase, or dirty dishes in the background is never a good look. To look more professional, add a virtual background. This feature is great for business professional to goofy game nights. On top of a virtual background, good lighting and a sturdy surface for your laptop/computer is important as well. All three of these tips will elevate the presentation, as well as limit background distractions.
3. Get Ready, Get Set, and Go Enabling “practice session” is a must when hosting a meeting. This will allow you to get settled in, get your presentation set up (if applicable), and check your audio and video. Once you are ready, “broadcast” your meeting a few minutes early to allow time for your attendees to settle in as well. This is also a great time to go over some housekeeping items (ie: quick overview of what to expect, important need-to-know information, or how attendees can ask questions throughout the meeting). This will set the stage for how your meeting will carry through the remaining time.
4. Remove as many distractions as possible From your kids yelling in the background, to your pet nudging you for attention, or landscapers outside, distractions are everywhere. Even when you thought all distractions have been removed, something else occurs. We’ve all been there! Here are a few pointers to eliminate as many distractions as possible:
- Go into a space with a door—and close it!
- Turn your phone on silent and set it out of reach.
- Clear off your computer desktop so are you aren’t tempted to work on a project.
- Have a clean desk to keep your focus on the meeting.
5. Use your features! Zoom has great features that everyone knows about but tends to forget about in the moment. Even after removing the distractions you have control over, sometimes an unexpected noise or emergency happens. This is when you need to use your features!
It is always a good rule of thumb to mute your microphone when not speaking. Zoom microphones pick up every little noise; from shuffling papers, someone knocking on the door, to knuckle cracking. Mute your microphone. If during your meeting you need to excuse yourself (ie: bathroom break or an emergency that needs to be tended too), the best way to exit would be to turn off your camera prior to leaving, and then once you are able to provide your undivided attention, start it back up.
As another year has come and gone, it is safe to say Zoom will continue to help us connect to one another in 2021. There will always be hiccups with technology so we must try to avoid as many as possible. Utilizing these five best practices will help set you up for a successful Zoom meeting.