We’re all doing more Zoom meetings than ever before. But do yourself a favor and follow these simple tips for more efficient, less stressful meetings.
With the current pandemic, telecommuting has often replaced work in the office. Result: to stay in touch with our colleagues – not to mention our friends and family – we use video conferencing platforms. The most popular today is undoubtedly Zoom. And while many users are happy with these tools, Zoom meetings in themselves can create a new stress that must be learned to deal with.
So here are a few tips to put your mind at ease, with three dos and don’ts to avoid getting into an awkward situation. Follow the leader!
Check internet connection
If you are relying on Wi-Fi, make sure everything is in order before you start the meeting. Typically, I log out and back in, and check the signal strength before a meeting. Speedtest.net is a good test, and you can check your results against Zoom’s system requirements (which vary depending on what you’re doing).
Check speakers and microphone
In Zoom preferences, there is an “Audio” tab, where you can test the microphone and speakers. I suggest you check them before each meeting. If you are in a noisy environment, you may find the “Remove background noise” function helpful to alleviate the problem. Extra tip: I suggest you do a test meeting to play around with the settings to find what is optimal.
Again, Zoom’s “Preferences” screen is the place to do this. Click on “Video” to access the tools necessary to configure your image rendering. Look at the lighting and composition (no one wants to spend the entire meeting looking at you from below). Check the lighting (can people see you?) And also look for anything that might be confidential or bothersome in the shot (especially if you are moving around).
You can also see if the “Touch up my appearance” or “Adjust low light settings” functions can make a difference in the quality of the video. Also note that enabling HD may increase bandwidth requirements, as well as CPU and battery usage.
If you plan to use a virtual background, verify that it works correctly before starting the meeting (in the zoom “Preferences” screen, click “Virtual background”). This is also a great time to make sure you haven’t installed a weird filter (although some are fun).
No update just before a meeting
Yes, it’s a good idea to keep Zoom up to date, but some updates take a long time to download and install, and others can mess up the settings. I have seen an update failure in the past, requiring Zoom to be uninstalled and reinstalled. The same goes for operating system updates. Save them for after your meeting.
Don’t rely on your laptop’s battery
If you’re doing a Zoom meeting on a laptop, plug it in if possible. Video conferencing is very power-hungry, and the last thing you want is to run out of battery during the meeting.
On the other hand, the laptop has an added advantage: you can increase the brightness of the screen if you find that your face is hidden in the shadows. Pro tip: have an app in the foreground with a white background to enhance the effect!
Have no distraction on the screen
Facebook, Twitter, emails, and more are all distractions. Your interlocutors will notice if you are distracted by certain things. Close anything that is not necessary. Not only does this reduce the potential for distraction, but it also means you’re less likely to see something pop up and make noise. The sooner you complete your meeting, the sooner you can return to other activities!