3 Ways to Improve Your Team’s Zoom Meetings

Despite unexpected roadblocks, businesses across the globe have evolved to find a new normal. Even across wildly different industries, teams have adopted innovative technologies to help us operate as a digital workplaceZoom. Video conferencing has become second nature, as it’s now a tool that many use daily. Though we’ve gotten used to consistent Zoom calls and remote-work etiquette, we are ready to move beyond the basics. So, let’s take our Zoom skills to the next level. In this post, we will discuss three ways to improve your team’s virtual meetings. 

Design your Virtual Meeting

Think of your meeting as a playevery cast member has a role to play, no matter how big or how small, to ensure that the meaning is clearly conveyed. All cast members rely on one another to fulfill these specific roles to make certain the whole thing goes off without a hitch. What should your cast look like? Several key roles include the following:
  • The Moderator—It’s important that a team member keeps things moving along, ensuring that all important agenda topics are addressed.
  • The Facilitator—The planner, the person to ensure that all key team members are included and all schedules are coordinated to optimize the meeting time.
  • The Notekeeper and Timekeeper—It goes without saying these are important roles. Meeting notes should always be readily available for long-term reference.
  • The “Yoda”—Every good play has its fair share of quirky characters! The Harvard Business Review recommends appointing a person to “cut to the chase” or “acknowledge the elephant in the room.” This will ensure an amount of candor that is vital to meeting productivity.

Meld the Personal with the Professional

Prior to the pandemic era, most professionals might have mentioned small-talk or chit-chat as one of the least favorable parts of a business meeting. We get it. It might have felt a little out of place to hear Dave from IT talk about his new stir fry recipe or Michelle from HR’s kids’ Halloween costumes. But, we are living in a different world where isolation has become pervasive and work productivity and team morale have taken a hit. Humans are intensely social beings, and it doesn’t serve us well to primarily communicate with a screen rather than faces. We often struggle to re-calibrate our communication methods. Many have also reported feeling a lack of purpose and accountability without a physical workspace and coworkers. Therefore, initial meeting chit-chat has now become a life-buoy of sorts, a micro-equivalent of a team retreat. Try including a quick personal/professional check-in at the beginning of your Zoom meetings to help overcome isolation and build camaraderie. 

Get Comfortable (But, Not Too Comfortable)

So, maybe we were willing to overlook the poor lighting, weird camera angles, and background-Zoom-bloopers within the first few months of our new virtual workspace; but now, we are seasoned Zoomers, and it’s time to show it. If you’re anything like us, there was definitely an initial thrill of discreetly wearing sweatpants during the usual team meetings. However, with quarantine-fatigue running rampant, dressing for a face-to-face work environment has been shown to steadily increase productivity and motivation for virtual employees.  Here are some additional tips to improve your appearance and increase your motivation:
  • Turn on your camera whenever possible.
  • Test any technical issues 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
  • Review the agenda prior to the meeting, taking personal speaking notes.
  • Dress and conduct your facial expressions as though the meeting were face to face.
Are you looking to better connect and engage with your customers in this new virtual age? Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

What Not to Do During a Zoom Meeting

No matter your industry, you’re likely now familiar with the phrase, “I’ll send you a Zoom invite!” While digital meeting tools like Zoom have been gaining momentum organically during the past decade, the practice of virtual meetings has skyrocketed in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan reported in April of 2020 that daily active users had increased from 10 million to over 200 million in just three months.  As millions around the world began staying home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Zoom has since become popular with organizations, schools, media outlets, churches, and more. Digital meeting tools are being used for everything from a one-on-one hangout to team strategy sessions to large-scale events.  And, the practice doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, as the number of users will no doubt increase in 2021 and beyond!  Though digital meeting tools like Zoom are an excellent way to effectively communicate when you can’t have a physical meeting, there are certain things to consider when using this constructive technology. Our team at Green Apple has made Zoom meetings a regular part of our work days since becoming a virtual team in 2020, so here’s our list of things we recommend not doing when it comes to proper Zoom meeting etiquette.

1. Don’t replace professionalism with comfort.

We get it—when you’re at home, you’re in your comfort zone. However, it’s important to always keep your audience in mind when it comes to a Zoom meeting. A best practice for your appearance and attire is to pretend you’re still meeting in person. Ask yourself questions like, “What would I wear if this was an in-person meeting? Or “How would I sit or communicate if we were in person?” All in all, you’ll never go wrong with dressing for success and setting up your space at a desk or table, just as you would if your meeting was at an office or coffee shop. Tip: Don’t show up to your Zoom meeting in your pajamas or gym clothes, and avoid laying on your bed or relaxing on a sofa.

2. Don’t set the scene for distractions.

Your surroundings say a lot about you, so it’s essential to make sure that they say the right things for your audience. Before you log on to your Zoom meeting, make sure you have chosen a clean backdrop in your space that doesn’t distract viewers from your communication. If you don’t feel like your home or office space has a desirable backdrop, you can always explore Zoom’s Virtual Background feature, which allows you to display an image or video as your background during a Zoom Meeting.  Tip: Pick a solid or less busy wall as your backdrop, and use good judgement if opting for a virtual background.

3. Don’t forget to eat beforehand.

We’ve all seen it—and possibly done it ourselves—but it’s definitely best to avoid eating during your Zoom meeting. Unless the meeting is intentionally designated as a lunch-and-learn or lunch meeting, try to eat before you log in. Tip: If your meeting involves lunch, make sure you keep yourself on mute while chewing or swallowing.

4. Don’t Zoom and drive.

It should go without saying, however, it’s never a good idea to take a Zoom meeting while driving. Not only are there numerous issues that come along with distracted driving, but some employers could even be liable if a worker has an accident while driving distracted on a Zoom meeting. Tip: If you do have to take a Zoom meeting while on the go, make sure you’re the passenger.

5. Don’t put a private message in a Zoom chat.

There will likely be moments when you want or need to share a private comment or thoughts to a specific team member who’s also a part of the Zoom meeting. If that case arises, make sure not to share those comments in the Zoom chat feature where everyone may see them. Tip: When you have a private comment or message to share, it’s a safer bet to use a platform other than Zoom.

6. Don’t forget to mute yourself when not speaking.

We’ve all been a part of a Zoom meeting when you’ve heard things in someone else’s background that can be distracting (or maybe even embarrassing). You’ll never go wrong by keeping yourself on mute until it’s your turn to speak. Tip: Especially if you have children, family members, or pets in the house who may need to come and go in your space, keeping yourself on mute is always a win. Also, refrain from playing music or leaving the TV on in the background to prevent sound distractions.

7. Don’t be late.

Not only should you not be late to your Zoom meeting, but it’s best to log in a few minutes early to ensure you don’t have any connectivity issues that can make you late to the meeting or possibly miss key introductions. Tip: Set an alarm on your phone to help you remember to log in early to your Zoom meeting.

8. Don’t discount the importance of good lighting and camera angles.

This one is probably one of the easiest yet most ignored aspects of Zoom etiquette, but good lighting on your face is vital to you being seen clearly by other participants. If possible, adjust your camera to be at around eye level and take note of the angle of your laptop screen if using the built-in camera. Tip: Take your Zoom meeting in the space of your home or office that has the most natural light, and use overhead lighting when possible. 

9. Don’t have a busy desktop backdrop in case you need to share your screen.

If you are the meeting host or could be asked to share your screen at any point in the meeting, make sure to clean up your desktop and close any browser tabs that you don’t want meeting recipients to see. For security purposes, make sure you don’t have any important documents that contain personal or confidential information open or displayed on your screen. Tip: In addition to cleaning up your computer desktop, consider whether your computer’s wallpaper is professional or appropriate for others to see.

10. Don’t forget to participate.

Above all, don’t be the one Zoom meeting attendee who isn’t participating. Even if your role is just to listen and take notes, it’s important to stay engaged throughout the meeting by chiming in when appropriate and maintaining eye contact as much as possible. Tip: Find moments throughout the meeting to offer comments and ask questions, as your contributions could be beneficial to everyone involved. And, when possible, always try to log into your Zoom meeting with the video feature so that everyone can put a face to the name. Are you looking for a marketing partner that can help you navigate successful meetings and presentations, especially when it comes to virtual meetings? Contact Green Apple Strategy to schedule a consultation.