Zooming into a meeting

As the Zoom Brady Bunch squares pop up one-by-one on screen, the vibe of any virtual meeting hangs in the balance. To make sure your next online gathering becomes an oasis of energy instead of black and white name tag portal of doom, observe the following 10 Do’s of Zoom: 

Turn on your camera.  Your meeting mates deserve to see your reactions and contributions.  Appearing on screen shows that you are ready to contribute and your colleagues matter to you.  They can visit an art gallery if they want to see portraits, avatars, or sunset landscapes. If there are legitimate or technical reasons for not using your camera, consider catching up later or share the reason why your video is off through the chat or an email prior to the meeting.  

Show up early. Make time to log in to the Zoom at least five minutes early in case of technical glitches. If you are the first one in the meeting or placed in a waiting room, it shows you are eager and prepared.   

Avoid distractions behind you. Your spouse scanning the fridge or curious child peeking around your shoulder are unwanted distractions.  Others joined the meeting to see you, not random surprises in the background.   

Keep it short. The average zoom meeting lasts 31 to 60 minutes and today business people spend about 23 hours a week in virtual meetings. Shoot for meetings that are 30 minutes or less, action-focused, and packed with value. 

Get into work mode. Perhaps your top half is dressed for business and your bottom half looks ready for bed, but your demeanor, tone, and topics of conversation should be focused on work, not on what is happening at home. 

Mute yourself. No one can predict who or what noise may pop up during a meeting. Focus on the speaker, raise your hand through an icon, post a question in the chat, or patiently wait your turn to talk.  (Pro tip – hit the space bar to unmute yourself for a quick response.)

Stay put. Resist the urge to rock back and forth in your chair, get up to grab a drink, and no matter what, don’t take your laptop or phone with you to a bathroom break. 

Be engaged. Virtual does not give anyone permission to be void of energy. Be engaged in the conversation even if it is through non-verbal reactions.  Look at the speaker (not yourself in the camera), ask questions, and prepare points to share with the group. Be the reason someone was glad they joined the meeting. Plus, being plugged in means you’ll never be serenaded with a chorus of, “You’re on Mute!”

Avoid eating. Meetings are not lunch dates.  No one wants to see you munching on a muffin or chomping on chips, and they certainly don’t want to hear you doing either. 

Forget Fido. We all love our four-legged friends, but they weren’t invited to the meeting, so don’t show up with a plus one.  

Put on a pleasant face. I know this sounds odd, however how many meetings have you been to and it looks like folks are just mad… or sleeping? Put on a pleasant face and pay attention. There just may be something you learn and you want to portray a pleasant, professional image.

Follow these 10 Zoom Do’s and save as many colleagues and clients as you can from the black and white name tag portal of doom.

© 2021 Poole Communications

For more reading:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/seven-rules-of-zoom-meeting-etiquette-from-the-pros-11594551601

https://hbr.org/2017/07/stop-the-meeting-madness