Updated: Sep 1
WOW - what a change the last several months have been for everyone!
One major shift has been that - overnight - we were all thrust into the deep end with a new technology platform for meetings.
How many of us started using Zoom overnight? I know I did.
I had heard of it - but never used it. Then all of a sudden - EVERYTHING I do is on Zoom.
For 5 months now, I've been on Zoom 3 to 4 times a day.
In just the first weekend after the SIP order, I was presenting to 200 people on a platform I had never used before.
IT WAS CRAZY.
At first it was like treading water barely afloat, but now that we're a few months in- and have a few seasoned "Zoomers" out there- we can take a breath and start looking more closely at the protocols, the etiquette, and the dos and don'ts.
Some may not be steadfast rules - and some sources may have differing opinions - but I want to share my favorites from the lists of tips that have been circulating in a variety of business blogs, papers, and articles.
So here's my list... What do you think?
If there's anything we missed that YOU think should be on our list, leave a comment!
1. KEEP YOUR VIDEO ON.
• It is actually viewed as rude to be on with just your photo when everyone else is on video.
• "Why aren't they on?" "Who else is in the background?" "What are they hiding?
• We are distanced enough as it is!
• So when you're on your Zoom calls, try and make eye contact, smile, nod, and be an active listener.
2. MAKE EYE CONTACT.
• Try moving your "videos" of other participants up to the camera area, that way it appears you are looking at them when they are speaking!
3. DON'T INTERRUPT THE SPEAKER.
• Interruptions can really mess up a presenter's train of thought.
• Instead, if you MUST say something, use the CHAT.
• Usually it's best to direct comments only to the speaker (there's a drop-down menu in the chat box that lets you select "host only" or "all participants").
• Ask yourself, "Does EVERYONE on the call need to see my thoughts?"
• And if you have a difference of opinion - please - chat only with the speaker;
there's nothing more disheartening for a speaker than to have finished a presentation
they've worked on for weeks, only to later find out the participants have been chatting in disagreement. Et tu, Bruté?
4. STAY ON TOPIC.
• If the topic is set and the meeting has an agenda, you do not want to interrupt the meeting by speaking - or chatting - about another topic.
• Perhaps there is someone who hasn't responded to your email... don't throw them under the bus in a meeting with others by publicly asking why.
• Do not bring up new topics outside the set agenda. It is an honor to be invited to a group call - don't turn it in to your personal Q&A.
5. MUTE YOURSELF UNTIL IT'S TIME TO TALK.
• Everyone on the call doesn't need to hear your typing, your dogs barking, etc.
• When it IS time to unmute, make sure you don't have music or TV playing in the background, and try to be in a quiet spot away from your partner's vacuuming or the neighbor's weed eating.
6. LIMIT CHIT-CHAT.
• If the host has asked for your input, that's great! But having a side convo is super disrespectful and distracting, and usually the speaker can't stop the presentation to see who is saying what.
• Side chat is the equivalent of speaking in class - exactly what we used to get our names on the board for. And if we kept it up, there went our recess privileges!
• So if kids can't do this, why would it be okay now in a professional setting?
7. STAY "PRESENT" ON THE CALL.
• Don't eat (yucky for others on the call), drink, or multi-task.
• Give your attention to the meeting and to the speaker.
8. PRESENT A CLEAN SETTING.
• Everyone on the call can see what's behind you. If it's a mess, hide it, use a virtual background, or tidy up.
• A plain wall makes a great backdrop.
• If you're at a window, FACE the window, don't have it at your back. For one, you'll be a dark silhouette. For two, what's going on outside may be distracting. And for three, the natural sunlight from outside will make you look GREAT!.
• Close your "office" door - everyone doesn't need to see down your hallway (or your roommate in their bath robe).
• The less behind you the better. You might be tempted to try and impress everyone with a case full of cool books or your pet iguana collection, but really it's just distracting.
9. POSITION YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY.
• DO: Get to a spot where you can sit upright with a clean, clutter-free background.
• DON'T: Lay in bed! Firstly, that just doesn't feel professional. And also, everyone can see your pillows and your messy bed.
• DO: Position the camera at eye level or a little above. Use a box or some books to raise your computer if you're using a laptop.
• DON'T: Look down at the camera. That means everyone else is looking UP your nose! It's also the leading cause of multiple chin syndrome.
• DO: Pick a spot and sit still. Watching the dreaded "walk and talk" gives everyone vertigo.
10. BE PREPARED IF YOU'RE PRESENTING.
• Be respectful of your attendees time, and have your ducks in a row in advance.
• Have the tabs open and ready to go for any screen share presentation you have planned.
• Everyone knows that sometimes technology has it's own plan for things, and that even the best prepared still have "oops" moments- but always do your best to make that the exception, not the norm.
11. PUT EFFORT INTO YOUR APPEARANCE.
• Fix your hair. Apply some makeup or shave. Wear a clean, pressed, professional shirt or blouse, in a bright solid color (that is not the same color as your background!), and avoid busy patterns, bright white, or all black.
• Make your mom proud- iron your clothes.
12. ONLY INVITE MEETING-RELEVANT GUESTS.
• Bringing in friends who don't know what the meeting is about does a disservice to your friend and to the group.
• If the host has to backtrack to get your guest up to speed, or field a bunch of off-topic questions, it ends up wasting everyone's time.
Speaking of time....
13. BE ON TIME.
• Treat your Zoom session as you would treat ANY professional meeting.
• If you have a 5:45 start time to check-in for a video at 6... don't pop in at 6! Now the host has to fuss with letting you in from the waiting room rather than their presentation.
• All the boxes of video move around, and everyone knows you're late.
14. SET THE PROPER DISTANCE.
• Place your camera at eye level or a little above (to avoid multiple chin syndrome) and far enough away that your face isn't distorted.
• Test your audio and be sure you're close enough for the microphone to catch you clearly. You can also invest in a small clip-on mic for around $50 to ensure good sound quality.
15. CHECK YOUR INTERNET.
• A spotty internet connection makes it painful for others to hear or watch you.
16. HAVE GOOD LIGHTING.
• Make sure you're lit up evenly; not in the shadows or in blazing sun.
• Position yourself FACING your light source. You don't want to look like you're in the witness protection program- just a black silhouette against a too-bright background.
• A small clip-on ring light is an inexpensive addition that can make a big difference. It softens your face and fills in the shadows.
17. END THE MEETING LIKE A PRO.
• This one has a few different "camps"
• One school of thought is that the presenter should be the last to leave - so everyone has a chance to connect with others.
• Personally, I'm in the "speaker hangs up when the meeting is over" camp. All the "waving bye-bye" to everyone seems crazy to me.
• Aaaand... smile some more.
• We are already so distanced. Much in the same way we can't tell someone's "tone" in an email or text, on Zoom it's hard to read people's expressions.
• Since we aren't in person, we can't see body language, and we can't make real eye contact, this is the time to dial your personality up a few notches.
• Give the calls energy, don't be monotone. Any time you speak to the group you are presenting - you are "in front of the room". So give it all you've got!
Until we meet in person - and celebrate the end of social distancing - let's connect on Zoom.
Whether it's for makeup consults, weight loss coaching, or just to catch up, I'd love to see your face! And each month we have a Facebook Live Event where our team is together in a "Brady Bunch" grid to share and talk about our favorite products, what's in them, and what they've added to our lives.
Here's a LINK to our upcoming Product Preview
And here are some of our past preview events:
Want more input on Zoom etiquette? Here's an album full of screenshots from the "Professionals".
Hope to see you soon, Melisa