How to Put the ‘Boom’ In Zoom!
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Apparently the most common phrase in the English language at the moment is “is my microphone working, can you hear me?”
With the impact of Covid-19 forcing many to work from home, the skills needed for effective communication have changed. As 70% of communication is body language and with most meetings now being virtual, featuring exclusively your face and shoulders, the opportunity to use visual cues, body language, say one thing (and mean the other) has somewhat diminished.
Whilst the lack of any moving body parts (except the mouth) should allow more focus, online meetings can be actually more distracting. Everything from the post man, the dog barking and gazing out the window to see if your lawn needs mowing, to your own inner thoughts, usually found to be wondering if the washing machine has finished or what you should eat for lunch, provides plenty of tiny distractions from the task at hand.
Add several team members trying to navigate their own distractive thoughts - chaos and panic can ensue. What should be a 15 minute meeting lasts 3 times as long, all the while you’re hoping nobody noticed you spilling your breakfast over your lap.
Therefore, for both companies and individuals it is proving a challenging time. Of course, we could send more emails or conduct more phone calls, but we need social interaction, a break, a chance to grab a virtual coffee and a good chat, hence the growth in online meetings.
But good communication is key and so we have to adapt to the new normal, especially if we want to be effective and get the work done and done well.
Below are some top tips for when it comes to meeting online using technology such as Zoom.
Firstly, be prepared. Make sure your microphone and speakers are working and if you’re using a headset, leave it in, don’t unplug it. Otherwise your PC may switch microphones and speakers to its own internal ones, and then you have to set your headset up again, when you plug it back in. Save yourself the time and effort!
Secondly, get your posture correct and your face and shoulders fitting nicely in the screen view. Don’t sit too closely or too far away, and if like me you like to throw your arms around when you speak, make sure these are in shot.
Thirdly if you are using multiple monitors make sure you are looking straight-on to your camera, otherwise your colleagues will be watching the side of your head as you stare intently at the other monitor, which can be a distraction in itself!
For the more formal meeting, set out in advance the “netiquette” – when to mute and how to raise a question, ensure you pause for questions, and allow time for comfort breaks (unlike the 6 hour meeting I was on the other day!). Prior to this make sure everyone has the login details, and paste them into the chat at the start of the meeting to minimise the interruptions of people not joining.
Finally, remember the little light at the top of your screen is lit when your camera is on. Keep the meeting toolbar ever present so you know when you are being seen, and when you are being heard.
The other thing you can do...
Join a Toastmasters Harrogate virtual meeting!
A friendly group of like-minded souls all wanting to improve their speaking and presentation skills. For businesses who want to help their team members develop, or for individuals who wish to gain more confidence and proficiency in communicating, Toastmasters offers the perfect environment.
We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming meeting.
Strictly Speaking Harrogate Zoom Master