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Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

A girl is making notes while watching her computer.

Yesterday, I (Jim) watched as a Zoom call went horrifically bad. Thankfully, it was not my meeting. One of the participants in the call needed to use the washroom so they, of course, muted their microphone and headed to the toilet. Tragically, they forgot to turn off their video! Zoom meetings are a challenge!

You can make the experience better for your participants if you give them a few quick pointers.

Here’s a few tips for participants:

  • If the meeting is of a private nature, it expected that attendees not permit anyone to be present in the room or area where the attendee is engaging in the meeting. Do not permit any person to be within earshot of the meeting. 

  • Do not participate in the meeting in a public space. Do not join in from public wifi. It’s just too limited of a connection. Coffee shops are terrible places to do Zoom calls!

  • Do not record the meeting, or any part of the meeting. The host should only record the meeting after disclosing such to the attendees. 

  • Do not add any other attendee (on or off camera) without the host’s permission. 

  • Mute your microphone when not speaking unless the host requests that everyone go “live mic” (sometimes live mic provides a better conversational experience).

  • Make sure there is no background noise. (If you're the host of a larger meeting, consider making someone a co-host so they can manage the muting of attendees.)

  • Test the link/software beforehand.

  • Before you enable your camera, double-check what will be visible to the group.

  • Look into the camera when you’re talking. (It helps to drag your Zoom window close to your camera so that you’re naturally looking in that direction.)

  • Stay close to mic and camera. Don’t wander the room. Speak clearly. Do not mumble.

  • Set other devices aside, or put them on silent. Turn off notifications.

  • If you are off-screen, or joining by phone, state your name before speaking. 

  • Do not multi-task during the meeting.

  • A wired connection is always preferred over a Wi-Fi connection. Avoid joining the meeting via mobile phone, if possible.

  • Do not call in to a video call by cellphone on "data" unless absolutely necessary. Use wifi.

  • Show your face! Don’t be that person who turns off their video. (Imagine a face to face meeting that starts by putting a curtain down between you and others. That’s what you’re doing if you go “audio only.”)

Hosts, there are a couple things you can do to help:

  • Keep the meeting as short as possible. 60 minutes is generally the maximum for online meetings. 

  • Ask for feedback and comments from each person, by name.

  • Clean up your desktop if you are intending to screen-share. Close any private documents or email programs so that you won't accident share them.

  • Enter the conference/meeting a few minutes early.

  • Clearly state the confidential nature of the meeting at the start of the meeting, if applicable. 

I hope this helps your team work together even better! Feel free to share.

Happy Zooming!

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