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  • tatum


Updated: Jun 30, 2021

At the weekly Monday team meeting, we are all in rapt attention…

Discussing the next social media strategy for our next client…

My shirtless…boxer-wearing husband suddenly hugs me from behind…and asks what do you want for dinner? (Not realizing I was on a call – he was very quiet and I did not see him come into the room at all.)

Yes…folks I was Zoom-Bombed! – How mortifying!!

Many embarrassing moments later the interrupted meeting continues. Thankfully, my colleagues are awesome and decent folks who were able to shrug it off. (I hope!)

Thanks to COVID video conferencing platforms have exploded in popularity, and Zoom? – Well, it ‘Zoomed’ in and overtook the likes of Microsoft Teams, Google Meets, because it’s really simple to use.

It’s hard to imagine a time pre zoom. Zoom has become a prefix…Zoom-School, Zoom-Meeting, and Zoom-Chat are examples I hear every day.

Since Zoom-school has become a ‘thing’ and my 7-year old is now a Zoom Ninja! He often helps me when I get stuck with something and his zoom etiquette is impeccable.

Why Zoom?

Well, it’s because it's super simple to use really, and with the free version offering 40-minute conference calls with up to 100 attendees. An intuitive interface paired with the fact that you don’t need to log in to access a meeting are definitely the selling points on zoom. Signing up for a free account, and you can still access a host of cool features.

  • Recording your zoom meeting, for instance, saves you a heap of time from trying to furiously take notes or if you have missed something in your notes. You can use this as a platform to record content for social media or upload it to your website. Once you are done you can simply download and or delete the recording. If you are the host you can record and everyone will be notified of the same. If you are an attendee, the host will have to grant you permission – which can be accessed via the people icon.

  • Branding while with a basic version of zoom, you can create a virtual branded background which can be created very easily (my kids do it all the time).

  • Webinars Zoom is one of the easiest platforms to manage a webinar from, yes it’s a paid version but you can have up to 500 attendees, a host of panelists, and the best part? You can set up the event within zoom! You can create a branded event, have branded sign-up forms, branded calendar invites email, reminder emails, and even a branded thank you note – making hosting your next webinar a breeze. In webinar polling keeps the attendees engaged and you can pass the mic, for questions. You can also stream your event via Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. Zoom really did well with this one.

  • Calendar Yes, zoom integrates seamlessly with your google calendar and can be set up to ping little reminders 10 minutes before your call – which you simply click on to be connected – never miss a meeting.

Here is how to stay professional on Zoom.

Lock spouses who sneak up on you in a state of half undress in a closet! - This is a note to self for the rest of the readers please move on to point 2.

  • You can turn your video off – Use it! My 7-year-old Zoom-Ninja is proficient at this. I wish I had his reflexes. But do turn on your camera for a call, because this is one of the few ways you can connect with your colleagues, but ensure that if you need to move off-screen or a sudden pop in from a pet, kid, or spouse, switch off your video.

  • Zoom is not always necessary. Like we say if it can be put in an email don’t have a meeting about it, if it can be resolved over a call, don’t have a Zoom for it. Preserve the workflow.

  • Mute – Yes, please be hyper-alert to the noises on your side of the screen, because zoom will cut out the speaker and home in on you. Be respectful, make mute your default – and remember to unmute and not have the whole team scream - YOU'RE ON MUTE!

  • Private messages – are great in keeping the meeting flowing, but sending a side note to a colleague or a reference link when required. However, remember to keep these chats clean. If the host has opted for a recorded meeting ALL chats will be sent to them as meeting minutes.

  • Meeting protocols still apply – It’s easy to lapse into a totally relaxed state with zoom meetings and view them as check-ins so remember to adhere to an agenda.

  • Your background – I sit with my back against the wall and have nothing but art in my backdrop. (AND I still got Zoom-bombed!) I try to keep my backdrop as distraction-free as possible. This is not the case for everyone, so do use a virtual backdrop (a professional and appropriate one), close the door if possible and let everyone know you are going in for an important meeting.

  • Headphones are a good option because this helps cancel out the background sounds and distractions.

  • Check your WiFi – Can you play a YouTube video? Then you are good. If not, reboot your router and ask the kids to get off the video games. Give your team a heads-up in advance that you may need to cut your video if the bandwidth drops.

  • Screen Sharing – Be careful of your desktop, be mindful of the content you have open and of course notification from Slack or WhatsApp.

Staying attentive on a zoom call is also hard. But here are some tips that could help:

  • My personal favorite comes from a client, here it is ”I make a point of asking two questions during every Zoom call. If you make a point of staying curious, you will listen carefully and completely. Curiosity breeds questions, questions lead to discussions, and boring Zoom meetings turn into brainstorms and conversations!” —Armida Markarova, professional development coach and founder, The CareerBloom, Chicago, IL as seen in Ladders

  • Pin the speaker – This I learned from my Zoom Ninja – so you don’t get distracted by a colleague's cute cat – and stay on full screen.

  • Put away your phone – Don’t give in to FOMO and it’s just rude.

  • Settling in – I love our team meetings because they always start with a weekly highlight which gets everyone in the zone before getting into business.

Do you need help getting established on zoom? Well, Assistants4Hire have you covered!

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Written by Tatum De Souza

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