8 common Zoom call blunders that are crippling your success at work

Laveta Brigham

Who would have ever thought that you would meet with your family, workout, have wine night, and interview for jobs – all from the comfort of your computer screen.  Welcome to the year 2020. When seemingly all normalcy in terms of social interaction and how we do things vacated our […]

Who would have ever thought that you would meet with your family, workout, have wine night, and interview for jobs – all from the comfort of your computer screen. 

Welcome to the year 2020. When seemingly all normalcy in terms of social interaction and how we do things vacated our lives due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. In some cases, there has been a savior, so to speak – Zoom. 

Zoom is an online video conferencing platform that has seen unprecedented growth over the past few months largely in part because of what they offer, even though this time last year, you most likely had never heard of Zoom in most cases.

However, fast forward to the quickly approaching (and much desired) end of 2020, and here we are doing pretty much everything on Zoom. Which leads to this question, “What is proper Zoom etiquette?”

Put another way – what mistakes are you making on Zoom calls that could be sabotaging your success?

Here are 8 Zoom mistakes to avoid:

Below is a quick list of zoom mistakes to keep in mind, so you don’t sabotage yourself! 

1. You aren’t dressed properly

It’s pretty simple to dress appropriately on Zoom. Wear an appropriate shirt and if your legs are in view, make sure you have the appropriate pants on. 

Just because you’re doing online meetings from the confinements of your home kitchen or office doesn’t mean you get to dress however you would like

As a general rule of thumb, when you’re on a Zoom call, dress as if you were in person (at least where people can see). 

2. You have your video camera off

It isn’t polite to have your camera off during a meeting. 

Unless you have prearranged something with the meeting host, a participant with their camera off appears to be busy doing other things as far as other participants see it. 

Once again, imagine you’re at work in the physical space, and you’re attending a live, in-person meeting. Do what you would do in that space. Keep distractions away, and keep your camera turned on! 

3. Mute yourself, unmute to speak

Hopefully, computer companies work on their microphones, picking up every little background noise, but there is nothing worse than a distracting noise coming from your computer on a conference Zoom. 

While most of the time, Zoom will enter you on mute, be sure to keep your microphone muted and to unmute yourself only when called upon or need to share. Typing, clicking, kids screaming – all of these are distracting and easily picked up by your computer microphone! 

4. You don’t have an agenda or you ramble

Depending on if you’re the host or a participant on a Zoom call, keep in mind you never want to make these mistakes:

  1. You don’t have an agenda (as a host)
  2. You ramble (as a participant)

Later we will cover how to minimize the rambling types, but for all intents of purposes, once again, treat a Zoom meeting like a normal meeting. 

If you’re hosting the meeting without an agenda, you’re wasting precious time. If you’re a participant who repeats something that has been said, askes questions that have been answered, or you like to make yourself known – you’re most likely irritating others. 

I vividly remember a co-worker who had to throw in their personal comments on every Zoom call at the COVID-19 Pandemic onset. Every meeting, just about everyone rolled their eyes. 

Just as bad a the rambler, sometimes the host can let others get off-topic or not be prepared for the meeting, which is a huge mistake to avoid! 

Try this: Share an agenda upfront to start the powerful meeting and keep everyone on the same page! 

5. Share your screen appropriately

When you need to share something, make sure you do it the right way. 

The go-to way to share on Zoom is no to share our screen but instead share a specific window, tab, or document. This focuses on what is important, not every other tab or desktop icon on your computer. 

When it comes to sharing on Zoom, you want to have tabs and documents preloaded, so you’re not scrambling when it is your time to share. Don’t forget to practice beforehand with the sharing features, so you look like a Zoom pro! 

6. Be mindful of your background

Some employees have lost their job because of items or things in their background. Others have been asked to step down from board positions because they had alcohol on a call. 

While this might not even apply to you, it’s important to keep in mind what is behind you just in case someone is looking. This isn’t just about things that might get you in trouble, but also make sure that it’s not a distracting background. 

Those who have family working from home or kids want to make sure they’re in a calm and private place for meetings. Also, don’t be in bed.

Try this: If you have to use the virtual background feature to find your Zoom meetings’ proper environment. 

7. You let everyone share

Similar to having an agenda, it’s straightforward for online meetings to get commandeered by participants.

The natural inclination to let everyone share simply because it’s an online conference call isn’t the right mindset. People quickly tune out when on Zoom, and it’s important to be concise with time and what you want to accomplish. 

Don’t let anyone share simply because they like to and consider implementing a rule such as before you share, please comment in the chat, and we will fit you in. 

Try this: If someone needs to share, communicate a template, they can enter the chat. Then at the end, let those specific people share and give them a time limit. For example, “Holly, can you please spend 2 minutes sharing what you communicated in the chat now?”

This way, you are sticking to timeframes and not wasting others’ time. 

8. You use Zoom for everything!

Using Zoom for everything might be sabotaging you, even though you have good intentions. 

Some people are still under the adage that you need to be logged in and present to get things done. While in some cases, this might apply to specific job descriptions or employees, in most cases logging into Zoom doesn’t make someone more productive.

Use Zoom as a communication tool to connect with staff and cover important aspects of upcoming events/deadlines is smart. However, overusing Zoom can begin to inundated staff members and coworkers. 

Don’t assume that just because someone is working from home, they’re always readily available to hop on a Zoom call!

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