Plannedscape Postings


Zoom Etiquette
Save Time ... And Embarrassment

Posted by Charlie Recksieck on 2021-04-08
A year ago would you have imagined you would have spent so much time in videoconferences? Don't answer that.

We've all become experts at what makes for a bad Zoom meeting by now. But I'll toss out some quick observations.

Scheduling This Meeting

Ask yourself a few questions before you decide to even call this meeting:
- Does this meeting really need to exist? If this could possibly be an email instead, go with that.
- Could this be a phone call instead? We've been making work phone calls for decades now. Just because we're all stuck at home - we've still got phones.
- Do we really need more than 4 people in this meeting? In our experience, anything more than 4 people requires some real management of who's talking, sound, muting, somebody acting as a real facilitator when they're hosting.
- Have an agenda. Meetings with agendas move so much faster. And if somebody is really going off on a tangent, use the agenda to keep them on track.
- Set a definite goal end-time for the meeting.

Tech Setup During The Meeting

- Make the meeting private. There really are some security holes when it comes to Zoom. Making the meeting private gets rid of a lot of these problems.
- Enable recording for the meeting. Even if you don't think it's going to be necessary, you have no idea when something spontaneously great is going to happen - a nice interpersonal moment, somebody phrasing something perfectly, something sharing something on their desktop which is worth editing down to a standalone video.
- Prevent sharing as a default, just so somebody doesn't mess up (or embarrass themselves) by pressing the wrong button.

Everybody Attending - Manage Your Settings

- Make sure your mic is decent. If you've got a dedicated microphone, great. If not, make sure you're at least close enough to your computer when you're speaking.
- Mute yourself when not speaking, especially during meetings of 5 or more people.
- Keep dogs and children out of earshot.
- Don't have visual distractions behind you, especially where your spouse or roommate goes to the bathroom.
- Wear pants. We shouldn't have to say this. But even if you think there's a 98% probably you won't need to stand up during the meeting, somehow you will stand up and be seen in frame more than once every 50 times.
- Place the video part of Zoom on your screen as close as you possibly can near your camera. The closer it is to camera, then the more it will look like you're making human, relatable eye contact to others in your meeting.

Before You All Finish A Meeting

- Make sure everybody has had a chance to speak. (If you're going around the room and you think somebody didn't need to be there, then don't invite them next time. Despite the FOMO, that person has something better to do than just watch people talk for an hour.)
- Do not shut it down until there are action items resulting from the meeting. I find this to be the most frustrating thing about some corporate meetings: once the meeting is done, everybody needs to know what they are personally responsible for moving forward, and when those things are due. If nobody has action items coming out of a meeting, there really might not have been a need for a meeting.
- When possible, write up notes of what got decided.