6 ways to make Zoom meetings betterOctober 8, 2020
In the new norm, most of us are relying on and spending our days on video conferencing to bring our families, teams, and organization together. Also, more and more companies throughout the world have leveraged Zoom to continue the workflow. After a few months of using Zoom, I have learned a few numbers of lessons to stay productive and keep these meetings effective. If you are new to video conference set up, here’s what you need to look out for.
1. Schedule the meeting in advance
Meetings are an essential part to nurture a business. A successful one starts with proper preparation and reduces unforeseen shortfalls. You may need to find a common time that works for everyone; it could be before or after each shift. Or better yet, send a calendar invite at least 24 hours earlier.
Kindly ask for their confirmation and send a reminder an hour or two before the meeting begins. Include the details or a brief description of the agenda so they can also prepare beforehand.
2. Set a well-constructed agenda
You need to be clear on your agenda or what you want to get once the meetings wrap. Set objectives or outline so you won’t forget the important topics to discuss. Give each member a feasible goal and it will open doors to suggestions or input from the team. In the long run, valuable decisions will be made with everyone’s collective effort. Unconstructed meetings will take much time to conduct, so plan to take on meetings more effectively.
3. Regulate the start and end time
Each minute counts when you are in a meeting so use your time efficiently. You have to break down each topic and determine how long each topic will be covered. You would have enough time once you set the priorities and focus on the tasks that need to be done especially those which have a stiff deadline. Keep it brief as much as possible to avoid downtime on your individual’s critical task. Speaking of which, be on time and ensure that you have a good bandwidth to run a smooth meeting.
4. Make it fun and interactive
Visualize yourself talking in front of the camera for 10 minutes. Isn’t it aggravating to see your attendees yawning, disengaged, or tuned out? On top of that, no one answers when you ask a question – dead silence. Hello! So, what do you need to keep your virtual team engaged and give their brains a jolt? Infuse some fun but at the same time take your job earnestly.
Short icebreakers, a happy story, or a good joke is a sure-fire away to kick-off any discomfort. Also, you may consider a little chitchat or catching up at the start of the video meeting to help your team members feel connected and encourage them to participate. We all need an optimistic group atmosphere more than ever as we face these uncertain times.
5. Embrace feedback
Creating a culture of feedback is a good practice to keep an eye on what worked and didn’t work. It will also ensure that your team member’s ideas are being heard and not just tossed on the side. You need to make use of the viewpoints and constructive criticisms for future meetings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the meeting. You may face challenges but once you have identified those, it would be much easier for you to do better the next time and tailor your good practice consequently.
Remember, it is a fundamental key to improvement. When every member is involved and invested, it will yield productivity which makes every business rolling and employees satisfied.
Honestly, internal microphones sound terrible. Low-quality audio can negatively impact your video conferencing. So, if you want to sound your best, investing in a good lapel microphone or a USB type microphone should be on top of your list. I’ve used my AirPods as a microphone and the sound was clear and loud enough for someone who has a trouble hearing as my grandma says. I believe any decent headphones with a built-in microphone will work well too.
Set it up in Zoom, adjust the audio, and you’re all set! Oh, and to save yourself some embarrassment, please turn off your desktop notifications or use the do not disturb mode on your Mac. Do not let any background noise or miscommunication ruin your call. As a final point, do not forget to mute yourself when someone is speaking. Etiquette, eh!
I hate to admit it but spending a significant amount of time on Zoom meetings can become more tedious than face-to-face ones. Finding a sustainable rhythm of these virtual meetings can be tad difficult but on the brighter side, you can season it up and make it more entertaining. You may use Zoom’s pretty hilarious virtual backgrounds every day of the week. If you have a crazy and messy room behind you, these will be a perfect cloak.
Use that ‘This is Fine ‘meme which everyone can relate to or attend on your next virtual meeting live from the moon or batman’s iconic hideout. Want to know how to level that up? Canva. Yes, you read that right! You would surely love their extensive range of virtual background templates. You can transport them from Big Ben’s to the historic Louvre museum up to the Pyramids of Egypt. Cool, right! Well, you don’t have to be an artist to create your Zoom background just like me. Also, you can brand your logo or incorporate your company trademark on these pre-designed backgrounds. Not only that but you can also add a personal touch and your creative insights.
Feel free to customize a background by selecting your photos or icons from the photo library. I made some from scratch and stick to the 16:9 ratios for still images. Well, we all get a good laugh and feel more connected since we started using these amusing backgrounds. This incredible platform has been my go-to graphic tool to design my visual content, presentations, and Zoom backgrounds. And did I forget to mention that is free and ludicrously easy to use? There is no time to lose, try it yourself, and perhaps you may discover things you never knew.
Aside from investing in a high-quality pair of noise cancellation headset, you can also cancel out the chaos in your surrounding by using an application or software. To make my online meetings nice and clear I use a noise-canceling app called Krisp and I couldn’t be more satisfied.
What I love about this app is its versatility. I can mute both my microphone and speaker noise in real-time. Well, I have kids and cats so the struggle has been more than I anticipated. They can be too loud and distracting but Krisp made it work. It negates unwanted background noise and I am no longer disrupted by any chatter and random noise at home.
I can say that I am more focused and productive in my Zoom meetings. The subscription is as cheap as chips! The Pro account cost me $3.33 a month yearly and I must say it’s worth every penny. You can also use Krisp on up to three work and home devices. Another advantage with the Pro account is, it comes with customer service to support you in case you would have issues with the software. Amazing, right! It won’t break your bank and your quality of work.