Originally posted on Joyce Bosc’s LinkedIn October 6, 2021.
Yes, we’re still talking about Zoom. Though many of us are fatigued by Zoom (and Teams, Google Meet and WebEx) meetings, there’s more to be said.
When the COVID pandemic first drove professionals to mass remote work, virtual meetings were a novelty. Slow connections, frozen screens and cat filters were largely ignored or forgiven. But now we are well into 2022 and it’s how we do business.
Just as with in-person meetings, showing up on Zoom means conducting business like a pro. Dress the part and plan to share your video. Here, from A to F, are six best practices for participating in professional and productive Zoom business meetings.
A = Agenda
Our philosophy on Zoom meetings is to treat them just like in-person business meetings. That means preparing an agenda and emailing it in advance of the call. This not only gives everyone a chance to be prepared, but 99% of the time, it leads to a more efficient and effective meeting.
B = Be on Time
Unlike in-person meetings where you could sneak in late and hope no one notices, video meetings make it obvious to everyone if you are late. Being late wastes the valuable time of those who logged in on time, so make it a point to be present from the start. Better yet, log in early.
C = Change Your Real-Life Background
The view of your home or office space doesn’t have to be boring. Try mixing it up by switching out books or photos behind you. Once, during Mardi Gras, the Boscobel team placed a few colorful beads and masks on an office bookshelf in the background, which our clients loved!
D = Don’t Talk Over Others
Zoom can make it easy for multiple people to talk at once. Whenever you have something to add to the conversation, signal by raising your hand or writing in chat that you’d like to speak. Then unmute. Zoom has a handy trick to help you with this. Just keep your microphone muted in your settings and then simply press the space bar to quickly unmute.
E = Engage Your Audience
To avoid “death by PowerPoint” in Zoom presentations, start by asking participants to turn on their video (it’s tough to read the room when you can’t see anyone). Ask questions, such as: “What do you hope to get from this meeting?” Sprinkle in a few Zoom polls to get real-time feedback from participants. If you are not the host, show engagement by keeping your eyes on the screen, nodding or smiling as the discussion moves you. Avoid side conversations, multitasking and other distractions such as eating or checking your phone.
F = Face Forward
It’s important to give the appearance of eye contact when you’re in a meeting. Look directly into the camera lens. For the most flattering angle, place your computer on an elevated surface so the camera is at or slightly above your eye level. Try placing a Post-it® arrow next to the camera as a reminder to look at the camera at eye level throughout the call. If you are taking notes, let folks know so you don’t appear to be disengaged.
We hope these suggestions are helpful! Please share them with your team or anyone you know who could benefit from these tips and best practices.