Zoom Etiquette – Stay Clear of These Mishaps for Your Meeting

The COVID-19 global pandemic shutdown has been a wake-up call in everyone’s life. We all had different plans and visions to see through the New Year 2020, but COVID-19 wasn’t one of them. Work-life has shifted tremendously, forcing everyone to explore remote work and virtual meeting capabilities.  Many companies stepped up to the plate to assist employees, and business owners continue business as usual, despite the shutdown. Zoom was one of those companies that stepped out greatly, by providing free services for educators and helping small business owners get set up for their virtual video conferences. 

If you have not already had a Zoom meeting for your career or your business, you will eventually. Getting ready for your first virtual meeting can be daunting, if you’re not used to being in front of a camera or not tech-savvy, to say the least. If you’ve been hesitant about scheduling your first Zoom meeting, here are a few mishaps you want to avoid during your session. 

  1. Having your video and audio turned on before you’re ready.

When getting ready to start your Zoom meeting or join someone else’s, make sure you opt-in, do not have your audio and video begin upon entering the room. Don’t get caught on camera looking messy or while eating that last bite of food – shut off audio and video first! You can start these settings later after you’ve entered and you are consciously ready to let yourself be seen. The Zoom platform will ask you if you want to start your audio and video before it adds you to the meeting. 

2. Showing up to your meetings late.

Showing up to a physical meeting late will not have the same outcome as attending a virtual meeting late. In a physical meeting, everyone is there, either annoyed that you are late, or chatting with the other folks waiting. In virtual meetings, the conference doesn’t begin, until the host (you) has started the meeting. Here’s where that wait can go awkward. Since you’re on a technical platform, many of your attendees who are not familiar with technology may think they did something wrong. As a result, you will have fewer attendees joining your meetings. Also, everyone’s time is valuable during this pandemic – so don’t be rude. Be respectful to those who are willing to share it with you. 

3. Not staging your background and having poor lighting.

If you must show your gorgeous face, and I hope you do, be sure to have a staged background that is clear of distraction and equipped with plenty of natural light. If you have a few windows, place a light behind the camera lens facing you. A light behind the lens will provide optimal indoor light focused around your face.

4. Showing up in your pajamas or an outfit not fitting the purpose of the call.

It is never ok to show up in your pajamas for a professional virtual call. It is important to still dress up as if you were going to work, having your hair and makeup done, and ready to change the world. Ok, maybe not ready to change the world, but dress to conduct business. 

We have more confidence and internal strength when we appear at our best. When we’re in pajamas and still in “sleep-mode,” our personality reflects just that.

5. Not turning off your cellphone

You may have seen those awkward moments when a Zoom participant’s cell phone is ringing uncontrollably. Set the phone on vibrate. 

6. Letting kids in the room

We all love kids, but a zoom meeting is no place for children. You should never find it acceptable to have children present in the same room when you are having a meeting. 

7. Poorly positioning your camera

Try to set your camera so you can see what the participants will see. I have seen some Zoom bloopers where participants were caught literally with their pants down, or not on at all.

Just because we are home quarantine, doesn’t mean we should disregard professionalism. Don’t fall trap to these mishaps and slam dunk your next virtual meeting!

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