Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdowns may have led to the uptake of video conferencing software like Zoom, but it was only accelerating the inevitable. For decades, social scientists and philosophers have predicted the rise of the remote worker; praising the benefits of effortless global communication. However, in this new normal into which many have been thrust, the social norms are still in flux. The dos and don’ts remain unknown. To dispel any doubts, we’ve compiled an article listing the thing leaders should avoid in their next Zoom meeting.
When you’re working from home, it’s all too easy to enjoy the comforts of bed until the last moment, when your working hours start. You roll out of bed, pyjamas on, hair like a bird’s nest, and settle down at your laptop for the day. Hoping that you have no meetings or that you’ll be able to stay on voice chat.
But you’d never take such little care when going in the office: so, why is a Zoom meeting any different? Make sure you’re not wearing your pyjamas or sweatpants. You don’t have to put on a three-piece suit or pair of 6-inch heels. Instead, dress smart and respectable. Leaders take care of their appearance.
Placing the Camera in a Bizarre Position
Once you’ve gone to the trouble of combing your hair and putting on your best shirt or blouse, you don’t want to ruin the look by placing the camera in your lap. There your face stretches upwards like a cliff, with your nostrils glaring and your face a blur of shadows.
Find a spot with plenty of natural light. Position the camera, so you don’t look pallid. The camera should be at eye level, use a couple of books or magazines to prop up the laptop if necessary. It will make you look more presentable for everyone involved.
Zoom meetings are hard enough: distant from everyone, using limited body language and sitting at home. The last thing everyone needs is for someone not on mute to start a conversation with a member of their household. Or, begin tapping away, their fingers slamming down on the keyboard for everyone to hear.
Leaders understand the needs of others, and would never distract a meeting in such a manner. Minimise distractions: turn the microphone off, when not talking. You can still engage with the other people, listening and nodding along as they speak. Just don’t put them off.
Just as bad as distracting others, is becoming distracted yourself. Never in real-life would you turn from a meeting to checking your phone. Or, in the middle of the big monthly meeting begin to start on some work you need to get finished. Leaders appreciate other people’s time. The meeting was called for a reason.
Suppose you need to leave the frame, for instance, to deal with a pet or child. Type a message in the chat, or let everyone know. It doesn’t take a second, and it is only courteous and polite. Or, if you are pushed for time, hold a finger – meaning one minute – and switch off your video temporarily.
As bad as all the rest, messy backdrops look unprofessional and can be incredibly distracting. Leaders present a clean, sharp image. There should be no family members wandering around in the background. Or a pile of clothes waiting to be washed. Nor do people want to look at your unusual or provocative taste in art. Even the humble bookshelf has gotten people into trouble with the spines being visible.
Save yourself any trouble with a virtual backdrop. At Hello Backgrounds, there is a home background for your next Zoom meeting. Choose from thousands of options; whether you prefer a serene garden or stylish office. All are compatible with Zoom, using green-screen technology to replace your home with one of their HD images or high-quality videos.
Don’t engage flippantly with Zoom meetings. Treat them as you would any real-life interactions. Dress smart. Keep your home hidden. Avoid being distracted or distracting others. Understand that a leader demonstrates the behavior to be expected of others.