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The Green Sheet Online Edition

June 22, 2020 • Issue 20:06:02


Put your best face forward

One thing many of us wouldn't have guessed we'd be doing now is participating in frequent Zoom and other video conferencing meetings. What for many was an occasionally used technology has become essential for work check-ins, family gatherings, industry conferences, medical appointments, counseling sessions, music lessons, drama festivals, and more.

While restrictions on our activities due the COVID-19 crisis have been easing and we all look forward to when we can meet in person with colleagues as well as attend sporting events, concerts and other favorite happenings, some of us will continue to use video conferencing more than we did before the pandemic. This may be especially true for events that typically require the time and expense of travel.

Given that video conferencing is here to stay, it's important to bring our best game to this affordable, flexible business tool. Here are several things I've learned over the last few months.

Look like a pro

Even though you won't be meeting in person, if it's a work-related meeting, dress professionally just as you would for any other business occasion. Experts say solid-colored tops works best, but preferably not black (too dark) or bright white (too blobby) when it comes to pleasing the camera's eye.

Be sure the room you're in has plenty of light so you don't look like you're in Frankenstein's basement but not so light that you look washed out. Also, in Zoom, you can touch up your image using Video Settings accessed via the caret (^) symbol to the right of the video icon. You can also display a photo of yourself instead of live streaming your video, which is particularly suitable for meetings you'll be watching but not participating in. You can also choose a virtual background if your office environment creates a cluttered or distracting background. You can select backgrounds tailored to the types of events you're attending—more professional for work and perhaps more whimsical for family and friends.

Run a tight ship

Whether you're a meeting's host or a participant, silence your device notifications before you log on so that annoying little beeps and buzzes do not interrupt presentations during the event. Mute yourself when you're not speaking, too, and tell others to do the same, so no one will hear barking dogs, crying babies or other noises in the background.

For meeting hosts, test your technology ahead of time, to make sure your setup is working well before the meeting to reduce the chance of having to troubleshoot while attendees watch. Also, avoid being bombarded by unwanted guests on Zoom (Zoombombing) by using a different randomly generated meeting ID for each meeting, and do not share your assigned ID publicly. Also, use the waiting room feature so people won't enter the meeting until you approve them; admit only people who are logged into the platform; and consider locking meetings a few minutes after they start to prevent new people from joining midstream.

These are commonsense things we can all do to increase the likelihood our virtual meetings will be both pleasurable and productive. end of article

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