Don’t ZOOM into trouble

Do learn the secrets to a great virtual meeting.

Don't Zoom Into TroubleThere are some gaffes co-workers never forget. And with the likes of Zoom, GoToMeeting and FaceTime bringing business gatherings into many homes, the potential for memorable pitfalls only increases.
“Don’t take your phone with you to the bathroom during a video call” should most likely be the first rule to remember for any team shifting to virtual gatherings. A quick search on YouTube will show you the wisdom of that policy.
While there’s potential for unintentional blunders during video calls, the tools also offer an indispensable resource for teams. In many cases, productivity would grind to a halt without the ability to connect virtually through broadband.

So, here are a few “Dos” and some “Don’ts” to consider before your next virtual meeting:

DO dress fully. A work shirt on top and running shorts or pajamas on the bottom can prove embarrassing if you forget to turn off the camera before standing up. It happens, often.

DO take a few minutes before the meeting to confirm you know how to turn the microphone and camera on and (likely more importantly) off in the software you’re using. It’s also a good policy to stay muted unless speaking.

DON’T leave your notifications turned on when screen sharing during a meeting. Otherwise, everyone attending might see the message from your hungry spouse regarding the takeout lunch you promised to deliver.

DO have a clear, detailed agenda and stick to it. The attention of participants can wander, and a well-paced plan can keep everyone focused.

DON’T ignore the background. People will judge you on the contents of your bookshelves. Also, if there’s a forgotten not-safe-for-work bit of kitsch visible on a shelf or wall, don’t expect your co-workers to spare you embarrassment. They may just enjoy the humor.

DO consider lighting. Everyone looks better with good lighting, and a great presentation can not only set the tone for how others perceive you but also boost your self-confidence.

DON’T forget to take the time before the meeting to get a glass of water or cup of coffee.

DO jot down any notes about points you wish to cover, and keep a pen and paper handy. Know the steps you need to take to help you be more present during the meeting, and repeat the formula every time.

DO remember to inform other household members you’re joining a video call. More than one relative or friend has taken an unintended star turn during a serious discussion.

DON’T leave the cats and dogs free to wander. Disembodied voices may draw their attention, usually at the most inopportune time. While a stray tail or untimely howl might add levity to a meeting, know your audience and prepare accordingly.

DO remember that the most important thing of all is to laugh. Isolation and, often, stress can counterbalance the freedom of remote work. Every meeting, take a moment to appreciate your co-workers, share a joke, smile and laugh. Enjoy the virtual time together.

That’s a formula for a great, productive meeting.