In the past 20 years, homeworking has increased by 80%. The COVID19 pandemic is not the only thing responsible for this huge shift. Technology is the main driver. Household internet and web conferencing platforms like Zoom have a record increase. This, in a way, is compelling businesses to allow their employees to work from home if their jobs allow.
Zoom Meetings is by far the world’s most-used web conferencing platform. It is used for more than 3.3 trillion annual meeting minutes. There are 300+ million daily meeting participants. However, not all companies are excelling on Zoom meetings. Virtual meetings are intrinsically challenging to workforces that are accustomed to face-to-face conversations.
There’s no non-verbal communication. The nuances of human interactions are hard to replicate. Many of the 300+ million daily meeting participants also suffer from basic technical issues. Are your company’s virtual meetings being run efficiently? If not, some important issues need to be discussed.
Virtual meetings are here to stay. Learning how to optimize zoom meetings is crucial for companies that want to maximize productivity.
Here are 13 ways to have effective zoom meetings divided into three sections –
- Basic Web Conferencing Etiquette
- Easy Zoom Settings Hacks
- Meeting Management
I. Basic Web Conferencing Etiquette
Here are the rules of Zoom etiquette (and web conferencing etiquette in general) that everyone must follow.
1. Be Physically Dressed for a Meeting
- The attire must be balanced between comfort and professionalism, just like in face-to-face meetings. In fact, overdressing is better for professional meetings than underdressing.
- Hair should be tidy, and general appearances should match the tones of the topics discussed in the meetings.
- Use as much natural lighting as possible.
- Place the webcams at angles that keep faces in full view.
2. Eye Contact
- Always look directly into the webcam to make others know you’re looking at their eye levels.
3. Noise Management
- Always use separate headphones with microphones, not the device’s built-in sound systems.
- Before kicking off, the meeting groups should find the right speaking volumes that are suitable for all participants.
- Mute the microphone whenever you’re not required to speak.
- Speak concisely, slowly, and clearly. Never yell.
- Create separate non-verbal-based meeting systems for employees with hearing disabilities.
- All team members must sit in quiet areas during virtual meetings. Even noises like dogs barking or air conditioning units can be tremendously distracting.
- Privacy should always be the top priority for corporate meetings.
- Companies should only use secure meetings.
- Zoom meeting hosts should set the meeting settings to ‘private’ and only allow people with invites to join the private meetings.
- Companies that can afford to set up secure home networks or private cloud-based networks should do it.
- Companies that use various third-party apps should go for cloud access security brokers (cloud-based software tools).
- Avoid using features like screen share or Zoom chat unless necessary. This will prevent participants from accidentally sharing their screens with others. This will also protect from mistakenly leaking private information.
5. Communication Etiquette
- Everyone deserves their chances to speak, ask questions, or respond to questions.
- Hosts need to note how much talking time each participant is receiving. They should politely interrupt people who are talking too much. It is also good to ask people who aren’t talking too much to join the conversation.
II. Easy Zoom Settings Hacks
So, important ground rules have been set for Zoom meetings. Now, let’s see some easy Zoom settings hacks. Hosts, in particular, should find these useful.
6. Record Meetings
This useful feature in Zoom allows teams to save important meetings for future requirements. Teams can also save employee one-on-one conversations such as interviews. The shortcuts for this function are –
- PCs – Press (Alt + R) to start recording Zoom meetings and (Alt + P) to stop/resume them.
- Mac Devices – Press (⌘ CMD + Shift + R) to start recording Zoom meetings and (⌘ CMD + Shift + P) to stop/resume them.
7. Quick Invites
To quickly add people to meetings, hosts need to type (Alt +I) on PCs or (⌘ Cmd + I) on Mac devices. The Invite window will open after this function. Copy the meeting URL and from the Email tab, send it to people invited to the meeting.
8. Share Screen
Screen-sharing is very useful in certain situations. The shortcuts for this function are –
- PC – Press (Alt + Shift +S) to start screen shares and (Alt + T) to stop/resume them.
- Mac Devices – Press ⌘ Cmd + Shift +S to start screen shares and (⌘Cmd + Shift + T) to stop/resume them.
- To turn all video off/on, Press (Alt + V) on PCs and (⌘ Cmd + Shift + V) on Mac devices.
9. Audio Management
You can use the (Alt + A) function on PCs and the (⌘ Cmd + Shift + A) function on Mac devices to mute/unmute audio. Meeting hosts can also press (Alt + M) on PCs or (⌘ Cmd + Ctrl + M) on Mac devices. This will mute everyone in the virtual meeting at once.
III. Meeting Management
Sections I and II have explained how Zoom-users can create perfect conditions for their virtual meetings. However, there should be strong standards and guidelines for the actual meeting discussions. Participants, as well as meeting hosts, should take care of these. Here are some good meeting management tips for creating effective Zoom meetings –
10. Set Agendas and Objectives
Each meeting must have clear agendas and clear outcomes. Participants shouldn’t start virtual meetings aimlessly. Clear meeting objectives need to be discussed beforehand. Use Zoom’s chat function to remind participants about the meeting objectives and expected outcomes.
11. No Small Talk
Discuss Any Other Business (AOB) before the meeting. The host or facilitator should clarify the rules of participation before every meeting. They must also inform the participants about what will happen to individuals who fail to observe the rules of participation.
12. Flow of Conversation
The host should keep meeting agendas moving. The chat function should be used to politely comment against people who are speaking for way too long or going on unrelated tangents. Asking participants to vote at the end of each topic on the agenda is a good way of keeping the conversations flowing.
13. Time Efficiency
It is true that timers or alarms may hamper a participant’s ability to communicate effectively. But time is a valuable resource. So, it should only be spent measurably in group meetings involving ten or more people. For example, everyone gets 1 minute to speak.
In virtual meetings, leading in clear and effective ways is vital. Meeting administrators must establish these conducts of behavior. They must also set focused outcomes for each meeting. Follow these basic Zoom meeting tips to get the most of every meeting!