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Zoom Doom - 3 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

Half a year into Corona Virus Work-style and we are still seeing rampant Zoom misuse.

It shouldn't really surprise anyone because it is still a very new format and way of life - the Zoom meetings, or any type of virtual connection. The mistakes that make you look like a rookie are the same across the various different formats.

I was not a super tech-savvy person myself prior to COVID. I had only learned about Zoom a few months prior and it all seemed overwhelming. Now it is my daily tool for meetings, client engagement, delivering webinars, executive coaching and even friends & family Game Nights!

So I have learned a few things and can happily say I am now pretty Zoom adept. Since I am a huge believer in sharing what I learn (hence starting my own coaching/consulting business), I will share a few pointers today on what to avoid in your virtual dealings.

There are many Zoom Doom points I can make and I will in the coming Blog posts, but let's start with these three -

1- Poor Video Set-up (AKA - Looking Like a Rookie)

Presence is everything. First impressions still apply in the virtual world.

If you are going to show up at a virtual meeting, make sure your visual setting is a professional representation of yourself BEFORE joining. There are many ways to do this.

I recently participated in a Zoom event wherein I was one of multiple panelists. One of the panelists had her camera set up awkwardly below her, looking up, so you could basically see inside her nostrils. As she waited her turn to speak, she was muted, but must have thought that meant we couldn't see her as well, because she proceeded to apply some make-up, fix her hair, change her shirt, have a hilarious side conversation with someone in her room, all while taking sips of her adult beverage. I remember being totally distracted by her activity and thinking,

"Does she realize we all could see her? Does she care?"

It did not make the best impression on the rest of the participants, I can assure you.

Set yourself up to look like a pro. Know where your camera is, set it up directly in front, with you at "center stage", and look directly into the camera, not up or down at it.

Make sure the lighting is not too bright or too dark, doesn't flush you out.

And Please! Don't do distracting things when you are "on stage."

2- Not Knowing How & When To MUTE

I was a nominee for a virtual awards ceremony for a national organization. We were asked to log into the meeting and mute ourselves. We could all be seen while we waited for the awards to be announced. Most of us sat still, smiling at the camera, in an unobtrusive way, with our MUTE buttons On.

One of the nominees did not follow suit. As the announcer spoke and the ceremony was under way, we could hear all his room noise and side conversations, as well as feedback.

It was so annoying!

Several of us kept sending him messages through the chat to turn his mute on, but it took him a long time to finally realize it. All that time, we were disrupted and distracted.

Make sure your mute is on when you are not in the "spotlight" during a meeting. By the way, this applies to conference calls as well.

3- Setting Up A "Meeting" When What You Need Is A "Webinar."

Know the difference between a Zoom Meeting and a Webinar.

If you are gathering people and want input, constant flow of communication between attendees, and are not focused on one presenter, a Meeting is perfect.

If you are hosting a social with games, ice-breakers or just fun chats, a Meeting is what you want.

If you need to use break-out rooms, that is a function available through the Zoom Meeting.

However, If you are going to deliver a class or training using a power point or other screen-share presentation, and you expect a large number of attendees (more than 8-10), you want to set it up as a Webinar, so that you control the flow of the presentation, the Q and A period and what your audience is looking at. You can still make a Webinar very interactive. There are multiple ways to elicit audience participation without losing control of the program, which is apt to happen when you have a large amount of people on camera.

See points 1 and 2 above. Do you want to open the door for any of that to happen in the middle of your training?

I have seen presenters get totally side-tracked by the audience or the audience get completely distracted by meeting attendees doing wacky things while on camera or having multiple side-chats.

When you set up a Webinar, you control who sees the chat and who sees the Q and A. No one else but your panelists are visible, minimizing distraction. This also keeps confidentiality of attendees from other participants. You, of course, will know who signed in, as long as they each have an individual registration code. Furthermore, you control the timing of your answers to the question, so no one attendee "runs away" with the presentation. This also enables you to filter out inappropriate questions and keep your training to a set time line.

Don't let audiences hijack your presentation. Know when to use which Zoom set-up. If you are not sure, get some help. If you need more instruction, there must be a million training videos and webinars now. Sit in on one. Reach out to me. Reach out to someone who can guide you.

Just get help. You and your audience will be glad you did.

For more tips and a deeper dive on when to use which setting and how to set up a fun and interactive webinar or meeting, join me on July 28 for this online training session:

"Engaging Your Clients Through Zoom"

For More Info, Click Here -

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