Are you up to your armpits in Zoom meetings these days? Most of us are working virtually from home which has meant a deep dive into online meetings, webinars and events.
Who knew that making sure our background is acceptable, to double check we are wearing pants and that someone’s not flushing a toilet in the background would occupy our brain space as we keep our teams, our companies and our communities running?
The video conferencing platform Zoom has, er, zoomed into popularity as a result.
But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. The intertubes are full of Zoom meeting gaffes and resulting guffaws.
Your zoom meetings don’t have to be fodder for goofs however.
Here are six simple tips for running better Zoom meetings. Three are tips to help you prepare for your meeting and three are for during the actual meeting.
(By the way, these tips are geared towards Zoom but they can be used for pretty much any video-conferencing tool.
Tips to help you prepare to host Zoom meetings
Zoom has a wide range of ways to set up your meetings. A little preparation ahead of time can save you from a migraine later on.
Take some time to think about what kind of security you need for your meeting. There are lots of examples where meeting ID details were made public and people joined meetings who were not supposed to be there and were doing things they weren’t supposed to (think of things that would (rightfully) get people hauled up on a complaint or worse).
Zoom has lots of features to help prevent mishaps like these. Some of them include:
- Don’t publicize your meeting ID or meeting link
- Require a password to enter the meeting
- If you’re expecting a large number of people, have another person standing by to monitor the chat function (if you’re using that function) so any wayward comments can be dealt with immediately
- Practice so you know how to get someone off the call if need be
Think ahead of time about whether you need to record your meeting. If you do, make it as accessible as possible for attendees. Meaning use Zoom’s features to give people choice about how they access the recordings. Zoom makes it super simple to do this and automatically gives you three recordings; an audio recording, a video recording and a record of the chat.
By the way, if bandwidth is an issue for your meeting attendees know that Zoom’s default is to record in High Definition but you can change that setting when you’re setting up your meeting in order to use less bandwidth.
3. Waiting room
Zoom allows people to be held in a virtual waiting room if they access the call early. This is a great feature and one you should use. If you select that feature when creating your meeting then, as the moderator, you’ll hear a bell when someone enters the waiting room. You simply click a button to allow them access. This gives you more control of your meeting and prevents any unwanted access.
Tips to help you host better Zoom meetings
So you’ve planned your Zoom meeting and now it’s time to host it. Here are three tips to help your blood pressure stay down so you can focus on the task at hand.
1. Visual Settings: Pictures
Both you as the moderator and meeting participants can choose whether to have video and/or audio on. If you have your video on that means people on the call can see you.
Zoom gives two options for displaying people’s pictures: speaker and gallery. Speaker means that you as the speaker will appear the largest on the screen, while gallery means all those who have their video turned on will appear in small boxes, like the Brady Bunch (here’s a picture in case that doesn’t land on your cultural radar).
Either way, you can move the picture(s) around on your screen. Make sure you move them to the top. Why? Because we humans tend to like to look at ourselves and if your picture is at the bottom or to the side and that’s where you’re looking, you won’t be looking at the camera. Participants will see you looking down or to the side, anywhere but at them. When your picture is at the top, where the camera is, you’ll naturally be inclined to look at the camera.
Alternately, and especially if you’re nervous, tape a picture of someone who inspires you by the camera lens so you’ll be guided to look there and relax at the same time.
Bonus Visual Setting Tip
Please for the love of all things decent, wear pants. Or leggings. Or even jeggings. The internet is full of people on Zoom calls who didn’t realize they could be seen from the waist down or they had to unexpectedly stand up during a call. So make sure your bottom half is covered so you keep you and your undies to yourself.
2. Sharing your screen
Zoom has really easy screen sharing options ….. if you know this one little trick. When you click the button to share your screen, another screen will pop up giving you options of what you want to share.
If you click the first option (share screen) you’ll share your entire screen. That means whatever you can see, your meeting participants will be able to see as well. Which means if a notification pops up during your meeting, they’ll see it etc. It’s usually better to share the application e.g. PowerPoint, Word etc. That means, despite whatever is on your screen, the participants will only see what you have on your screen in that particular application.
And by the way, if you happen to have something on your phone or tablet that you want to share from your desktop, Zoom makes that easy to share as well. As long as they are connected to your desktop, when you click on the share screen, your phone and/or your tablet will pop up as an option to share those screens. So when you’re on a Zoom call and you’re doing a quick catch up before diving into the meeting you’ll be able to share your most recent 4WD safari adventure.
I strongly recommend forwarding a link participants can go to if they’re having trouble with the Zoom during the meeting.
That does two things; it will save your sanity as you won’t have to multitask trying to help while keeping the meeting going and it will help your people get more used to Zoom.
See below for the one I use. Feel free to link to it
The next time you need to schedule a Zoom call simply make sure you prepare by planning for security, what your recording needs are and have a waiting room. Then when you’re in your meeting follow the picture, screen sharing and troubleshooting tips and you’ll be a Zoom wiz in no time.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Here’s how NOT to host a zoom meeting. My horrible awful no good very bad webinar.
- Try using a Zoom feature you haven’t used before and let me know how it goes. I won’t wish you good luck as you don’t need it!
P.S. I host a free, online monthly Learning and Development Roundtable. The last two topics have been about How to Harness Technology in Turbulent Times. Want to receive invitations and get access to all 7+ years of trainings including those two? Easy peasy. Sign up here.