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Using Zoom To Your Best Advantage And Some Pitfalls To Avoid

The Rickie Report shares some helpful hints to make a Zoom experience more productive for you and your fellow ‘Zoomers’.  If you’re not familiar with Zoom as a face-to-face meeting platform in current time, you’ll need to get up to speed (pun intended).  This easy-to-use app allows you to collaborate with others for work as well as celebrate events with others who are far flung.  The Rickie Report shares some blips we’ve experienced as well as technical tips.

 

 

 

 

Using Zoom

To Enhance Communications For

Artists, Arts Organizations, Art Patrons, Anyone

 

Photo Courtesy of Anna Shvets

 

 

 

Think of a Zoom meeting like being face-to-face

Eliminate distractions and focus on the agenda.

 

 

Download the free Zoom app days before your scheduled meeting.

 

If you are a newbie, make sure you familiar/comfortable using the features (mute/unmute, start/stop video, screen share, raise your hand).

 

Join the Zoom session early – up to 5 minutes before the meeting start time.

 

Notifications from messaging applications, ringtones, and applications running on your desktop can be distracting, which can make your attendees feel disrespected and undervalued. Mitigating these distractions helps keep the meeting focused and free from interruption.

 

Zoom amplifies everything!  From smiles to frowns, from inescapable noises to your behavior.

Be aware!

If you are the host, offer an agenda with the Zoom invitation

(Attendees – be prepared)

Make sure to introduce everyone at the beginning.

 

Just like an in-person meeting or social event, you would initiate a conversation between two acquaintances who haven’t met by introducing them. The same principle applies to a virtual meeting. Be sure to introduce all parties you are hosting at the beginning to create a welcoming environment and stimulate engagement toward a common goal.

 

Photo Courtesy of Ivan Samkov

 

 

 

 

Show Up At Your Best (Meeting Etiquette)

 

There are some general rules of courtesy for virtual (and in person) business meetings.

Be ready – just as if this meeting was taking place in person!

Wear appropriate clothing ( PJ’s are not OK unless this is a Zoom PJ Party).

Loud clothing or sparkling accessories will distract from the message you’re sharing during the Zoom session.

No Nudity ( Did I really have to say that ??  From experience, yes…yes, I did!)

Background

 

Photo Courtesy of Harry Page

 

 

You want everyone’s focus to be on the meeting content.  Have a clean setting with work-appropriate art and decorations to reduce the chance that attendees will get distracted.  Your surroundings say a lot about you and you want to make a good impression, just as if you were hosting at your home!  Showing dirty clothes in a pile and an unmade bed make people wonder if you can be professional and trusted with serious work.

 

Clean up and have a simple background (a plain wall, a potted plant, or a bookshelf works perfectly, a wall filled with artwork).Zoom also provides virtual backgrounds to help you avoid the most cluttered environments.

Some people change their background with a photo.  Zoom’s virtual background feature is an easy way to eliminate background distractions when you have to meet in a messy or busy location.

A few words of caution about virtual backgrounds:

Avoid bright colors which distract from your face

Avoid video beach scenes with waves that actually move, which make some people nauseous.

 

Photo Courtesy of Steve Johnson

 

Lights, camera, action! Note, the first item here is about LIGHTING. Position yourself so that most of the light is coming from in front of you (behind your monitor), instead of behind you. If you have a window behind you, shut the blinds. Otherwise, you will be backlit.

Volume/Mute  &  Audio/Video

Photo Courtesy of Pressmaster

 

Video is crucial in building trust and engagement in virtual communications.

Test your video and audio before your meeting at zoom.us/test.

 

 

 Look into the camera when talking instead of looking at yourself.

 

If you’re looking at yourself on the screen while you’re talking, it will seem like you are distracted.  Direct eye contact into the camera while speaking gives attendees the impression that you are looking at them rather than off to the side, which creates an environment where everyone feels engaged and involved in the current conversation.

 

Be sure to position your web camera and monitor at eye level so you can look into the camera and simulate that eye-to-eye connection with other attendees.

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Julia M Cameron

 

Before you go into the Zoom meeting, notice where your screen is placed.

Especially take note of the angle of your laptop screen if using the built-in camera.

If you place your iPad on the table, with you looking down at it, please note: No one wants to look up into your nostrils.

We also don’t want to see your ceiling!

Even when your screen is in a separate room from other people, remember that if your door is open and the screen is at the proper angle, we should not be able to see anyone leaving the bathroom wrapped in a towel.

Have your video on unless you are experiencing technical issues.

Find a quiet space without interruptions or background noise.

Mute your microphone when not talking.

Avoid talking over or at the same time as other participants.

Keep your hands down, away from your face and mouth. Not only is this distracting, but it muffles your voice when you want to speak.

Behavior

 

Photo Courtesy of Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

 

Be aware that you are on camera and try to avoid doing other tasks, checking emails, looking at your phone.

Please mute yourself  (I would say “Stifle yourself, Edith”, but many of you will not get the reference to “All In The Family”) so we don’t hear your phone ring, dog bark, or kids scream.

Please refrain from having a side conversation with someone in the actual room with you.

If you are using Zoom in a more casual setting, please be aware of your body language and how you sit.

If you decide to play Candy Crush while watching the Zoom meeting, please block your video. (I got dizzy yesterday from watching you move your thumbs and a bit annoyed that you were not paying attention).

If you can, avoid eating meals during your meeting. Imagine how unappealing it would be to watch someone up close slurping a plate of spaghetti on a big screen. If you can, wait until your meeting is over.

 

 

Stay or Leave

Photo Courtesy of Bongkarn Thanyakij

Leaving the frame without explaining why

 

If you need to get up from a meeting for any reason ( bathroom break, get a drink, or focus on a child or pets), be courteous, just as you would be in an in-person situation.  Leave a message in the chat option to indicate you will be back and have not left the meeting.

Turn off your video camera until you return

Turn off your volume until you return

Recording

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of 500photos.com

 

 

Often, meetings are recorded. In this case, your words and your actions. Just be aware that even though you may be sitting in your home or personal space, you are participating in a somewhat public event.

Refrain from private behavior (picking at your toes, scratching your armpits, picking your nose) (Again, I mention these specific behaviors because I have observed them in other Zoom meetings).

What you say, how you react, how to look will be saved for posterity!

 

 

Chat Room

 

Even though there is a “chat” function, please keep comments to a minimum.

It is distracting for others in the meeting and just as rude as if you were face-to-face and interrupting the speaker.

 

The host leaves last

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Matilda Wormwood

As hosts to any meeting or party, we usually stay until everyone else leaves.  Zoom is no different.  Attendees may use this time to socialize or get a few words in before the session ends. For stragglers, you may have to remind them that the session is about to end.

 

 

 

 

For more information about Zoom:   zoom.us

Google articles about Zoom – they abound on the internet

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

Rickie@therickiereport.com   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

 

To read previous posts, click TheRickieReport.com and scroll down.