Up Your Game on Zoom: The Basics

After months of working from home, I’m sure many of us have had to do some form of videoconferencing, whether that be with Zoom, WebEx, etc. Tools like Zoom have allowed us to stay connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s probably safe to say that a significant number of us had little to no experience using it before now.

If you are still trying to get the hang of it, that is totally OK! Page 2 is here to go over some basics, tips, tricks and best practices so you have a better understanding of how to use Zoom like a pro.

Background and lighting
• Your background is probably the thing you should pay the most attention to when considering where to do your Zoom meeting. You don’t want everyone focusing on your messy bedroom behind you or a plant that (although lovely) looks like it’s growing out of your head. Have a clean, work-appropriate backdrop with limited distractions.
• Consider the lighting before getting on a call. Soft, indirect light coming from the front is best.
• Still need help? Check out the Twitter account Room Rater (@ratemyskyperoom) for some funny (but helpful) reviews.

Clothing
• Generally, stick to solid, non-primary colors. Pastels or jewel tones are perfect. Be careful with busy prints (no strong stripes or plaid), but a muted plaid is ok. Just be sure to check your surroundings so you don’t accidentally blend in with the couch.
• Avoid wearing distracting jewelry (earrings can make noise) and of course, be comfortable!
• Take pride in how you look and, please . . . wear pants.

Audio
• Muting and unmuting yourself during a Zoom call is absolutely essential. When others are speaking, please mute yourself.
• If you are presenting, make sure to silence all other alarms and notifications from other apps; you don’t want any dings or beeps while you are talking.
• Don’t set yourself up in an empty room. This will create an echo and make it hard for others to hear you.

Other Zoom Etiquette
• When you are speaking, look into the camera and not at yourself. This is the new “eye contact.”
• If sharing your computer screen, make sure no documents or web pages are up that shouldn’t be seen by others.
• It might go without saying, but no multitasking during calls. No eating or drinking, fidgeting, or doing your nails. Mind your body language and be respectful.
• Anticipate interruptions as best you can. Barking dogs, curious kids, doorbells and other environmental noises may be unavoidable, but do your best to prevent them. Put a sign up on your door, for example, when you are in the middle of a call. But if something does go wrong, it’s OK. Have a good sense of humor about it instead of apologizing. This is the new normal and we can all relate.

While all of these tips will help you look like a Zoom pro, one of the most important things you can do on your call is to be genuine and fully present. Conducting business as usual under completely unusual circumstances is difficult, and we are all affected in different ways. Be flexible and understanding with others right now — we are all in this together!