Effective Zoom Meetings

Posted on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 đź’Ľ Remote Work

[Originally published to Wordpress at kixpanganiban.com on March 24, 2020]

In my previous blog post, I talked about remote work, some of its benefits, and a few things to know when you’re just starting out. Back then, my goal was to share some of the tools and strategies I found effective from working remotely over the past half-decade or so, and encourage people to do the same. I got a lot of constructive feedback from people who read my post, and one of them correctly pointed out that I should have talked more about one key aspect of working remotely: videoconferencing.

Over the past few years, Zoom has become synonymous with video meetings: in fact, in my day to day at work, people say “let’s Zoom” instead of “let’s have a video call” since it has become such a huge part of our daily routines. People just beginning to do remote work will find this true as well, as demonstrated by the recent surge of work-from-home arrangements due to Covid 19-related travel restrictions causing an uptick in Zoom’s shares.

With that said, a lot of people will find it pretty challenging to transition from face-to-face meetings to Zoom calls for the first time, so let’s talk about making that transition easier and your Zoom calls more effective.

Side note: While I choose to use Zoom as the example tool for videoconferencing, the things we’ll talk about also apply to videoconferencing in general, including other tools such as GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts, BlueJeans, and RingCentral, among others.

Setup your gear properly

It might seem obvious, but this detail is something that a lot of people gloss over: fundamental to your videoconferencing experience is your setup. The quality of your face-to-face with your peers depends on how good the devices you’re using to communicate are.

Be somewhere quiet

Where you take your Zoom calls is also really important. Think about in-person meetings: you wouldn’t want to be shouting over each other because of the noise around you, nor be somewhere you’re constantly distracted by what’s going on.

There are two types of noise to avoid: audio and visual. While we have trained our eyes and ears to ignore the noise in real life, our computers aren’t on that level yet. Audio and visual noise get amplified and delivered straight to everyone else in the call — this means that someone talking loudly in the background, or a cat leaping around your room can get seriously distracting.

This means that, if possible, pick somewhere with less foot traffic and activity — like a spare room in your house or a library. Coffee shops and other public places might be fine for doing writing or coding, but they’re too noisy to be good for calls.

Practice your speaking cadence

You probably already know this, but it’s worth re-iterating: talking to someone through Zoom is pretty different from talking to someone in person. The rhythm and cadence of conversations are different, and especially when it’s your turn to talk, there are certain things to look out for to make sure that the conversation flows smoothly. Some of these are:

A few last tips

Finally, here are some last things to be mindful of when doing calls:

And that’s it! Remember to keep these things in mind every time you join a Zoom call. Remember, while video calls are like in-person meetings, there are certain nuances that make some aspects a little bit tricky. Pick your gear, be mindful of your current environment, and keep on practicing every day, and you’ll start to enjoy Zoom calls as much as you would regular conversations.

Cover photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels