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5 Ways to Ruin a ZOOM Meeting

As many more people step into the virtual realm and use Zoom and other ways to communicate online, more frustration will reveal themselves too. Virtual engagement has created an amazing opportunity. There are some tips that make virtual communication much easier, especially early on. Two things need to happen. 1: Virtual veterans should be patient over the next few months. 2: Newbies should feel free to ask questions about virtual engagement and meetings before they start. We are living during a time of uncertainty. The one thing that curves uncertainty is asking questions and doing your best to get an answer that will set you up for success. Alright, all of that being said... Here are 5 things that ruin ZOOM meetings.

1) Showing up to the meeting un-muted & without checking your volume.

You may be thinking this isn't a big deal; however, this is a pet peeve to many. Have you ever just been relaxing some place fairly tranquil and someone walked in talking loud without regard for other humans? If you've experienced that OR can imagine that, it's a similar situation. "How, you ask?" Because even though you're on a computer, everyone has a front row seat to the experience, show or meeting. You'd be better off pretending as though you walked into a recital a little late and just tip-toed in and sat down quietly. There are features in ZOOM that will allow the host to MUTE you and while that may be their responsibility; do your part.

2) Making it longer than it has to be.

Some have taken what they've done during LIVE meetings and applied it to the way they're running virtual meetings. #1 Live meetings don't have to be as long, but that's a different blog or discussion. Remember that ESPECIALLY during a pandemic, you want to be sensitive to everyone's time, INCLUDING YOURS. Sometimes, meetings are about Ego with an opportunity to remind others who's in charge or give those who want to talk, more time to talk outside of necessity. I get it and understand it; however, understand that if you learn to respect people's time, they will respect you. Pro Tip: Challenge yourself to scheduling the duration for 30-45 minutes and create an agenda with time expectations to keep yourself on track. Make it your MISSION and intention to finish in that time period - If you need more time, you can schedule another one or send an email. They will appreciate you, so if nothing else and you are STILL like NOPE, I'm doing my own thing. Respecting their time creates the win your audience will appreciate more. There you have it.... YOU WIN!

3) Using your video when you are not video ready.

It can be frustrating to have someone move around a lot when they are in a video, but that is understandable. It's more important to know that if you have a bad internet connection; you should to stay on Audio only. That will make for a much smoother meeting without interruptions or delays. Also, you don't have to do too much, but make sure you stay muted if you're not being spoken to AND that your video is off if you'll be moving around too much OR going to any "private" settings. Fill in your blank of private, but I'm sure you understand. =)

4) Refusing to "Virtually Raise Your Hand or Use Chat."

It's so much easier for the host to run a sharp meeting if everyone follows protocol. Use the "Hand Raise" feature and use the chat feature. The moment someone un-mutes themselves to speak, it can become total mayhem and confusion, because there can be a delay in the highlighted square or in sound and the only person who knows who spoke was the person who spoke. "You follow?" So... make everyone's life much easier by using those features and remember, it doesn't have to be about you either. If it's important... ask or state but if it can wait, email it.

5) ZOOMING when you don't have to.

This goes back to what MOST people have said at one point or another and that is... "This could have been an email." This is not the time, especially while everyone is stressed about health, family, job or isolation to create meetings just to virtually micro-manage them. This undermines the entire purpose of working virtually. Be transparent and upfront about expectations and people will know where you stand.

It's frustrating when what could have been an email turns into a long video meeting that leaves your team deflated. Check up on your team to make sure they are ok or at least carried about during this pandemic and as a general practice.

I hope this was helpful. Feel free to share any thoughts and this article with anyone who will find it beneficial.

Stan Pearson II, MBA

Chief Visionary, Mental Flight School

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