Zoom Your Way Thru the Pandemic

I recently finished facilitating another on-line module for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. I’ve used this technology before as an alternative to in-person trainings or meetings. So, I thought it was a good time to share some best practices for using this technology. So, here are 10 tips for zooming your way through this pandemic that I recently experienced first-hand.

  1. Invest the time to learn about the tool you’ll be using, like Zoom, Teams or WebEx. Review their user guide pages on the company’s site for tutorials or FAQs. Check out YouTube videos the company or others may have created. 
  2. If your IT people have overall responsibility for maintaining and trouble-shooting the system, reach out for some individual tutoring and hand-holding as needed. See if you can justify the expense to have a tech on each meeting or training … just in case.
  3. Consider a private on-line meeting with you and a tech so you can practice sharing slides, checking chat, raised hand or other features.
  4. Observe a few meetings or training led by experienced users.
  5. Check out your lighting during the practice. Avoid windows behind you as the brighter light tends to wash out your image. Turn off overhead lights. Try softer lights in front of you on both sides.
  6. Make sure your audio is working during your practice and adjust levels as needed. Ask an actual attendee to let you know if you’re not loud enough so you can avoid the clunky ‘Can you hear me now/“
  7. Send a concise list of instructions to your on-line participants, reminding them of the technical aspects, emergency back-up phone or video options and the need to participate fully.
  8. Start on time and really end on time … or early. The people who logged in on time really hate it when the facilitator says ‘We’ll wait a few minutes for the rest to arrive’ — don’t you?  Prearrange with someone to keep track of who joins in late so you can reach out to them with important content they may have missed.
  9. Maintain proper head room – If the camera is on the top of the lap top frame and you place it on your desk, the camera will be shooting upward and include too much head room. Try putting it on a box so the camera is at your seated eye level.
  10. Make the Meeting Work – design the event to be as interactive and engaging as possible. It should be short and focused. No one likes watching an hour slide show. Try to recreate the experience of attending a well designed and facilitated live meeting or training.

So, zoom your way through the pandemic and consider how you can use this technology effectively after we’ve returned to our ‘new normal’ of routine workplace life.