It’s a whole new world, for all of us in many ways. One big change for many is the shift from working at the office to working at home. Meetings normally held in person are now being held virtually with video conferencing tools such as Zoom. If you are new to this meeting format, what should you know about proper etiquette?
Here at Beyond, all our team members work remotely so we have been using Zoom for some time. We’ve learned a few best practices to make virtual meetings run smoothly and we would like to share them with you.
Have an appropriate background
Many people had to make the shift to working at home very quickly. As a result, their at-home work station may be less than ideal. Before you join a virtual meeting, it is important to give attention to what the attendees will be able to see when they look at your video. If the area behind you is cluttered or is distracting in some way, you may want to consider moving to an area with a more work-appropriate background. If this is not possible, Zoom offers a virtual background feature that allows you to choose what people see behind you.
Pay attention to your audio and video settings
Nothing brings a web meeting to a screeching halt faster than disruptive noise. Of course, when you are working from home it is very difficult or even impossible to eliminate all background noise. A headset can be helpful in this regard but so are your audio settings. We have found that it is a good idea to mute yourself when you are not speaking. Likewise, if there is a lot happening in your video this can be distracting to others. It is advisable to turn off your video whenever something will be seen that could be distracting. On the other hand, before you begin speaking, take a moment to verify that you are not muted and that your video is on.
Look into the camera
Video conferencing tools allow you to see what is visible from your own camera. This is useful for the reasons mentioned above, but can also be an issue if you are looking at yourself on your video when you are speaking. It could seem like you are looking off at something else and not paying attention. Conversely, when your camera is set at eye level and you look directly at the camera, it will appear to the other meeting attendees that you are looking at them.
Be careful with share screen
A great feature of video conference meetings is the ability to share your screen. This means that everyone in the meeting can be looking at the same thing. If you are sharing your screen, it is important to be extra careful about what you show on the screen. If you have more than one monitor, it is best to move all apps and programs that you do not want others to see to the screen or screens that you will not be sharing. If you have a single screen, make sure all programs you do not want to share are minimized. Temporarily disable all notifications that could pop up.
Video conferencing tools like Zoom are invaluable at a time like this when meeting in person is impossible. By this means, we can still have important conversations and see each other’s faces. We can even look at the same screen and collaborate in real-time from our respective locations. By implementing these suggestions, we can also continue to show respect and consideration for one another. Get started by heading to the Zoom website and setting up your free account today!