You’re in your room doing a big time Zoom. It’s going to mean the difference between a diet of yogurt and berries or a lovely and luscious Tomahawk steak. And what happens? You break one of the rules of effective zooming and your colleagues request that you turn off your video and the host boots you out. Getting kicked off a Zoom is pretty gloomy and it’s totally avoidable IF you follow these 11 do’s and don’ts of effective zooming.
1. DO remain aware of what you’re wearing and especially how “colorful” you’re being. Mostly wear bright colors, except you can’t wear white after Labor Day (the day your wife or you give birth). Colorful phycologists suggest that wearing bright colors triggers emotions like optimism, confidence, and creativity. Opt for bright solid colors like blue, green, red, orange, purple, or yellow. Black is fine if you’re a mortician. Many financial planners wear a coat and tie and I guess I understand, but it just seems a bit pretentious to me like they’re saying: “You have to trust me. I’m at home wearing a suit.”
2. Use the video settings in Zoom to enhance your appearance. If you think you look blurry, stop drinking at 8 am in the morning. Better still, use the settings in Zoom that appear in the cog icon in the upper right-hand corner of Zoom to touch up your appearance
3. Create a cool setting behind you. Place yourself in a room with a bookcase behind you where you can display books like, The Scum Also Rises by the CEO of Waste Management, or Vladimir Putin Cracks Me Up, and Of Mutts and Men. Also consider a virtual background behind you. I’ve used this a few times, but not very successfully since I get a ghost-like appearance around me. But if you have a green screen, you can select all kinds of shots like putting yourself on a beach in Hawaii, or in front of the Sphinx.
4. Make sure your sound quality is good. Spend a few bucks for an external microphone.
5. Take Advantage of Many “Chat” Features: Zoom Chat offers:
- 1:1 chat or group conversations via public or private channels
- Starring messages to save for later
- Pinned messages
- A personal space to send yourself reminders and files
- Light or dark themes in your chat panel
- Customizable channels
- Privacy features and access permissions
- GIFs from GIPHY
- Message archiving and third-party storage
- Chat message history with manageable time limits
- Screen capture, file transfer, and image uploads
- Status and presence
- Edit and delete messages
How About Some Don’ts?
6. Don’t eat an Italian sub while on a Zoom call. I know some Zoom invitations say, “Lunch with a Bunch of Zoomers.” but it still looks gross, especially if it’s a meatball sub that drips sauce on your shirt.
7. Don’t answer your phone if it rings. And obviously, don’t leave your phone on in the first place.
8. Don’t allow Fido, or in my case, Luigi, in the room with you. Barking can be annoying, which means you don’t want your wife in the room either. (Ooooo and not true.)
9. Don’t chance running out of battery power. Make sure you’re fully charged (technically and personally) before starting your next Zoom call. Dropping out of the meeting all of a sudden does not look professional.
10. Don’t forget to mute and unmute. If you’re muted, people let you know pretty quickly: “Jim, you slacker, you’re muted.” However, it’s easy to forget you left your mic on and people can hear you coughing, sneezing, typing, blowing your nose, etc. We don’t want that, do we?
11. Drop those pajama bottoms. Not literally. Who wants to witness that? But the thought here is don’t wear pajama bottoms in the first place. If you want to feel sharp and professional, pajamas aren’t the way to go. When I was in college, one of my fraternity brothers always put a coat and tie on when he had an exam so he would feel strong and powerful. Too bad he flunked out.
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