Author: Mike Scaletti
With everything going on in the world, Zoom has exploded in popularity. Businesses are meeting digitally for everything from strategy sessions to happy hours. It's a brave new world where a face to face meeting with someone requires digitally signing into an app first, but although there is a bit of a learning curve, there are some simple tips and tricks you can learn to become a Zoom Master in no time.
1) Be Aware of Your Background
Whether it is your messy home office, your kids or pets running around, or your partner walking in their underwear, video chats give your coworkers the potential to see a lot more of your home life than you'd like them too. Always, ALWAYS be aware of your background when you're in a meeting.
One way to avoid having to think about your background too much is to turn on Zoom's virtual background function. When in Zoom, if you click the arrow near the video camera icon in the lower-left corner you will have the option to turn a virtual background on. You can use almost anything to populate your background!
Keep in mind that on a Mac to use virtual background without a green screen your Mac OS version needs to be 10.13 or higher and your processor must be an Intel Core i5 with a quad-core or better, while on a Windows machine you will need Windows 10 (64-bit) and an Intel 6th generation Intel i5 Dual-core or higher processor, running at 2.0 GHz or higher. You can still use a virtual background if your device doesn't meet those requirements, but you will need to set up a green screen (a solid color background, usually blue or green) that zoom can use to identify your background.
Adding a virtual background to your video calls is both a fun way to express your individuality and creativity and also a way to ensure that you don't have any embarrassing background incidents in front of your coworkers.
2) Ensure You're Not Sharing Anything You Don't Mean To
This goes hand in hand with being aware of your background, but be aware of the other things your sharing too! Your coworkers probably don't want to hear you singing (unless it's a Zoom karaoke party... Zoom karaoke party anyone?), or getting in a fight with your significant other, or scolding your children. Put yourself on mute! And they certainly don't want to watch you use the bathroom, so be aware of how to turn your video off (it's that little video camera button in the lower-left corner again) and make sure to do that when you get up to do anything that isn't directly related to the call.
One trick to making sure you aren't sharing things you don't want to before the call really even gets started is to ensure that your settings are configured so that your audio is muted and your camera is off by default. To do it, go to Settings > Audio > Mute microphone when joining a meeting, and then Settings > Video > Turn off my video when joining a meeting. It's much better to turn your sound and video on when you are ready to do so than it is to turn them off after you've already shared too much.
3) Use Emojis to Express Yourself and Show Engagement
If you're muted in a meeting, you can still let the hosts know your thoughts with emoji reactions. Send a thumbs up or a clapping emoji to communicate without interrupting the meeting (by default, those reactions have a yellow skin tone, but you can customize that on the Zoom desktop app).
To react during a meeting, click the Reactions tab at the bottom of the meeting screen (it's in the same panel as mute audio and video, to the right) and choose the one you want. Emoji will disappear after 5 seconds.
If the meeting organizer enables the nonverbal feedback feature, participants can place an icon such as a raised hand next to their name to communicate. Every participant will be able to see each other's feedback.
4) Know Your Hotkeys
Hotkeys make running pretty much any program easier and more efficient, and Zoom has a bunch of them. Some of the most useful include using Command(⌘)+Shift+A to mute and unmute yourself, using Command(⌘)+Shift+V to turn off or on your video, and using Command(⌘)+Shift+S to start or stop screen sharing. I highly suggest you familiarize yourself with the hotkeys for the functions you use most regularly in your video chats. Not only will it save you the time and effort of clicking around on the screen, but it will also make you look like a pro!
5) Feel Free to "Touch Up" Your Appearance
Even when working from home, it's a good idea to get ready in the morning as though you were going into the office. Take a shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair, etc. It gives you a sense of routine and stability, it will help you feel put together and more confident, and it makes you look professional in your video conferences. But if after all that you're still not feeling confident in your video appearance? That's okay!
This is a tough time for a lot of people, and it's understandable to feel a little worn out or run down. And Zoom is here to make you feel just a little more put together. If you go into your video settings you will find a "Touch Up My Appearance" button. Clicking it will turn on a feature that will smooth your appearance, cutting down on hot spots and wrinkles while making you look bright-eyed and well-rested. It could be just that little extra touch you need to feel your best in your big meeting
Well, that's it from us. Got any hot tips for being a Zoom superstar? We'd love to hear them! Hit us up on social media, shoot us an email, or leave a comment on this article. Good luck in all your digital communications to come!