16 Zoom Tips for a Productive Meeting
Updated September 30, 2022
As the virtual space becomes more popular, many businesses are conducting meetings online. This can include team meetings, one-on-one discussions between an employee and a manager and even job interviews. It's important to be able to navigate new technology so you can be a productive part of any meeting. In this article, we share more about Zoom, the popular video conferencing platform, and how to use the software to communicate with your workplace.
What is Zoom?
Zoom is a web-based tool that allows for video conferencing among employees of a company. Managers and employees may use Zoom to engage with remote employees, work together on a team project or perform check-ins on the progress of a task. You can download Zoom on your computer or smartphone so you can conveniently meet with someone at your organization. For a productive meeting, follow these 16 Zoom tips:
Related: 11 Online Jobs for Work Flexibility
Install Zoom ahead of time
The installation process can vary from one device to another. If you install Zoom ahead of your meeting, you will be better prepared for your call. Installing Zoom in advance means that you're giving your device the time it needs to complete the installation process, plus giving yourself some lead time in being able to troubleshoot any immediate issues and test your microphone, speaker and device's video camera.
Record the meeting
No matter what type of meeting you're holding or are a part of, you may want to record it. If you're not the host, consider asking the host if they wouldn't mind recording it for you. A recorded meeting is useful to refer back to if you need to make sure you haven't missed directions for a project or new procedures your workplace will implement in the future.
If another person on the call shares their screen and leads the group through a new process in your workplace system, you'll be able to use your recorded call to remind yourself of the steps when it's your turn to do them for yourself. To record a meeting, hover your mouse over the bottom of the Zoom window, then click on the recording icon that appears. You'll be able to select to save your recorded meeting to the cloud, which Zoom will then save in its program, or directly to a folder on your computer.
Share your screen
If you're explaining something to your coworkers or managers, it may be helpful to share your screen with them. This will give them a clearer picture of what you're discussing and is beneficial for visual learners. Collaboration projects between yourself and another member of your team may benefit from the shared screen option as well. To share your screen, move your mouse toward the bottom of the Zoom until a toolbar appears, then click on the share screen icon. You can share your entire desktop, a browser window, or even a specific program you're working out of.
Double-check your settings
There are many settings in the Zoom program, so look through them before your first time using Zoom to make sure you have everything set up as you'd like it. It's also a good idea to periodically check your settings in case your preferences have changed. Some Zoom settings include those for security, how you sign into a meeting, how you welcome others to a meeting you're hosting and whether you're muted or have your video on when you enter a new Zoom room.
Set up meeting reminders
Meeting reminders help ensure that you don't miss an important Zoom call. Zoom can integrate with most email clients and connect with your calendar. This means that when you're hosting a meeting or accepting an invite from someone else, you'll receive a notification before the meeting begins. Having the Zoom meeting on your calendar can help you stay on track for the day too by keeping you from accidentally scheduling a meeting or project at the same time as your call.
Turn on gallery view
To view everyone attending the meeting, turn on Zoom's gallery view. Usually, Zoom shows the face of whoever it picks up sound from, including background noise. This could mean that the person being shown is not who is speaking at the time. Zoom could also experience a delay in switching between individuals if there is a more engaging conversation taking place rather than a presentation-style meeting led by one person.
By turning on the gallery view, you'll be able to see what everyone is doing on the call. This is good practice for many kinds of Zoom meetings, from group project presentations to virtual happy hours with coworkers.
Dress according to the type of meeting you're attending. If it's an interview, wear interview attire, even while taking this meeting from the comfort of your own home. You may not know if you'll be utilizing video during your call, but if you dress appropriately, you'll be prepared in case the interviewer, manager or customer has their video on or requests that you speak face-to-face over the computer. Dressing appropriately can also boost your confidence and help you feel better prepared for any business meeting, regardless of video utilization.
You may even find yourself as part of a more casual Zoom meeting. If that's the case, business attire may not be required. For example, your company may have casual work-from-home Fridays and hold a different themed meeting each week. Engage with the group by participating and finding attire that fits the theme and purpose of the meeting.
Stay well illuminated
With video programs, it's important to stay illuminated by facing a light source instead of setting up the light source behind you. Especially during an interview or other serious meeting, you'll want the person you're speaking with to see your face, your facial expressions and feel as if you're engaged in the conversation.
Test your setup beforehand
Especially if this is your first time using Zoom, ask a friend to test the software with you. Consider looking at your light setup, your microphone and video settings and how far back you should sit from the screen to maintain an appropriate distance for the viewer.
This is also the time to learn how to navigate between different options in Zoom, including screen share, recording, muting your microphone, turning your video on and off and switching to the gallery view. If you have a better sense of how to use the Zoom tools available to you, you are less likely to stumble during the call and can stay more focused as you work within Zoom with ease.
Use a good background
Zoom gives you the option of using a unique background, similar to a green screen that places you in outer space or a forest, but that may not be the best background for your particular meeting. Unless your Zoom call is more casual and others would consider your funny backgrounds as appropriate, position yourself where you are in front of a neutral wall that's either blank or has little on it.
Look around your space to see if your video will show piles of laundry or an unmade bed. It's best to showcase yourself in the best light, and that includes keeping a clean background that's not a distraction to the person you are on Zoom with.
Conduct your meeting in a quiet space
Because the Zoom software can easily pick up on background noise, it's important to conduct your call in a quiet location. This both prevents distraction and helps Zoom determine who is speaking and therefore, who it should show on the screen so everyone can pay better attention to what's being said. If you cannot completely silence your background, simply mute your microphone when someone else is speaking.
Although your meeting host may have the Zoom meeting room disabled until they enter it, arriving a little early can give you the time you need to make sure your Zoom is working correctly and show the person you're in a meeting with that you're prepared for the call.
Keeping in mind that Zoom will focus on the individual who it's picking up the most sound from and that delays are possible with any technology, try not to rush through your statement. Instead, speak deliberately and take some pauses between your thoughts to both help the Zoom software catch up if needed and allow anyone else to ask questions or reply to what you've said.
Activate the co-host settings
If you're working with someone in your office on a project that you are co-presenters on, activate the co-host option in your Zoom settings. This will give control to both of you during the presentation so you don't have one person as host and the other who has to ask permission to share their screen. Officially co-hosting your Zoom call helps keep the presentation flowing so you have a seamless meeting with your manager.
Use the annotation option to collaborate
The screen share option is great for collaboration, but Zoom allows you to go one step further with its annotation setting. With this on, your co-workers and managers can annotate onto your screen share by writing notes and highlighting. Annotation can benefit nearly any group project from a large research paper to a graphic design project. The meeting host can disable annotation if needed, and when it's on, meeting attendees need only to visit their Zoom's toolbar to select the annotation option.
Keep your invite URL handy
There may be times when a meeting attendee is having a hard time connecting, has accidentally deleted the meeting invite or needs to access the Zoom call from a device other than the one with their calendar. If you have the meeting URL handy, you may be able to help. You can send it along via text, email or through a chat platform.
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