Yes, I know that Zoom has become like an old armchair by now – familiar and a little tired and worn – but it remains a fabulous virtual meeting tool, as long as you’ve put a few things in place to ensure that your meetings are as successful as possible! Here are our top tips:
Remind attendees to double check they’ve got the latest version of Zoom installed – this is a great piece of advice, as many people aren’t likely to have updated the app since they first installed it. If you haven’t updated, you could find yourself unable to access the meeting at the start time, so update it in plenty of time and join a test zoom meeting to check that everything is working appropriately.
Make sure your room has a password - and that the invite isn’t widely publicised – Zoom ‘bombing’ became a thing in 2020, with unsavoury sorts leaping into all kinds of video calls unannounced and uninvited. This can be prevented by embracing the ‘meeting password’ functionality, and ensuring that your event invites are only shared with the people you actually want to attend. You could also set up a waiting room feature and ensure that you recognise the individuals in the waiting room before you permit them to join the event.
If you’re running the event, login a little early to set things up – if you’ve got some slides to set up, some tabs to share during your session, or some notes to run through, make sure you’ve got them all set up in your Zoom session in plenty of time. If you’re flustered at the start of the meeting because you’re trying desperately to locate everything, it’s going to take you some time to relax and may make your colleagues feel on edge too from the critical opening moments of the call, when it’s important to set a positive, professional tone.
If you’re opening up the conversation to fellow attendees, become a moderator for the conversation. We all know how hard it is to be heard when 10 people are trying to talk at the same time – one of my colleagues witnessed a whole class pre-school Zoom session last Winter, and is still recovering from it! If you’re running the meeting or helping to ensure it runs smoothly and effectively, taking on the role of moderator can be helpful. You can watch out in the chat box for questions or useful comments, and encourage individuals to speak one at a time, to ensure all voices are heard on the topics at hand. Something as simple as picking up on a relatively quiet meeting attendee saying something, and responding with ‘Sorry, X, I didn’t quite catch that I’m afraid – what are your thoughts on the issue?’ can help to ensure that everyone can participate successfully in the event, whether they are a little introverted or highly extroverted.
Have an agenda! We’ve all been to meetings that could have been an email – don’t just assume that because lots of people are working from home that they’ve all got extra free time to dedicate to long and rambling online meetings! Keep meetings short and to the point, creating an agenda (sent to all attendees at least 24 hours before the event) with key topics to cover and a firm start and finish time so that attendees can come prepared. If the conversation veers off topic, steer it back on course, making a note of any interesting points that it may be worth discussing in future meetings. As a regular Zoom meeting attendee, I can honestly say that an agenda is an absolute must at creating a positive, effective and productive working environment, as without one, the focus of the event can drift significantly – perfect for a virtual coffee and catch up, but not when you’ve got action plans to discuss and implement!
Do you have any top Zoom tips to share? Let us know on one of our Social Media channels – we’d love to hear from you!