Tips to Zoom in style and enhance your video call experiences
June • 10th, 2020
by the Expat in the City Team
Our tips to Zoom in style
In years to come, when our grandchildren ask us what living through the 2020 pandemic was like, we sure will have a lot to tell them. We might describe the bars closing, or the banana bread we made or even how we wore face masks to carry out all mundane, everyday tasks; but the one thing we’ll always remember are the hundreds of Zoom calls we made. The virtual dates, the video birthday parties, job interviews, board meetings and conference calls. From huge national events, to the new ‘traditional’ family dinner on Sunday; there was very little that wasn’t adapted to a virtual, socially distant alternative.
Video calls are here to stay
Over the last three months, Zoom has become the default video calling platform for millions of people around the world looking to connect with family or colleagues in an attempt to keep social distance. And for some, it appears this new virtual workplace may outlive the lockdown. According to Bloomberg, virtual business might be here to stay, as many major financial institutions on Wall Street settle into making bigger deals than ever over video calls.
So, if we’re all going to be here for the long haul with virtual business, why not settle in and get comfy, as we bring you our top tips on how to Zoom In Style.
We’ve all heard some of the Zoom disaster stories from the last few weeks, from trolls on the internet ‘Zoombombing’ major events to employees accidentally leaving their camera on during company wide meetings and being caught doing something they shouldn’t.
While we can offer advice to prevent these major catastrophes, such as being vigilant who you accept into Zoom meetings, or training yourself to act as though your camera is on even if it isn’t, there are also some minor changes you can try too, that will go a long way to enhancing your video call experiences.
We’ve broken our tips into three categories to help you conquer this new world of virtual living.
Zoom in Style - With Your Family & Friends
While Zoom has been commonly used for business since the pandemic began, it’s also a brilliant resource for hosting virtual parties and dates for friends and families, especially those of us with friends and families all over the world. It’s reliable, the quality is great and it’s easy to use!
1. Make sure that, before your call, everyone in your party knows how to use Zoom.
In a family zoom, you should be conscious of different levels of technical fluency. While Zoom is a straightforward software, to someone not familiar with apps, url links or webcam settings it can be a little confusing. Encourage your party to download the Zoom app before the meeting, even take the time to walk through the process if someone is struggling. You might want to schedule the Zoom meeting in advance too and send the invite to people beforehand. This ensures smooth sailing once the party begins and saves precious time for socialising!
2. Invite less people than you would to a regular party.
If you are using Zoom as a tool to socialise with friends, or to throw a party, be conscious of how many people you invite. While a Zoom party can be a great alternative to a night out chatting with friends, there’s nothing worse than trying to get a single word in for 40 minutes because there were too many people on the call. It’s definitely one for trial and error, but we think the magic number is somewhere between 6-10 guests.
There are 101 ways you can connect with friends and family over Zoom. Think about the kind of activities you would do together normally and see if there is a way to do them virtually. Organize a painting class for you and your siblings where you all follow a Youtube Tutorial at the same time, create a family table quiz with some of your cousins dotted all over the world (you could even do a round based on the family) , or our personal favourite; organize a surprise birthday party for one of your friends - It can work exactly like a normal surprise party, when they log on to the call they’re greeted by all their friends and family!
Zoom in Style - As an employee
Nearly everyone who works in a typical office setting will have made the virtual switch once lockdown began, and at this stage, we’re sure you’re confident how to use the app, but here are just a couple of tips to consider.
1. Be mindful of your camera & audio
Firstly you should consider the type of meeting you’re joining, and whether or not you are required to turn on your camera & microphone. You should aim to have your camera on for all Zoom calls, but if you are watching someone give a presentation, or are not required to speak in a call then turn your mic off, adjust your camera so that it’s pointing directly at you, not too low and not too high, and finally if you’re the one giving the presentation, try to look at the camera lens as opposed to the screen, this eye contact is crucial to form a connection and build trust which can otherwise be quite hard to do virtually.
2. Consider your environment
Before making your next Zoom call, think about the positioning of your webcam. While it might not seem like that biggest deal, having the correct lighting and a clean background can go a long way to make you seem more professional. A few minor adjustments can make all the difference. If you’re working in your bedroom try and avoid having the bed in the shot, clear away any mess from the background and try to sit facing a window, rather than have it behind you.
While most Zoom calls take place from the shoulders up, it’s often recommended to dress professionally from head to toe, even down to your shoes, this will encourage you to sit up straighter, be more focused and even talk more clearly.
Zoom in Style - In Business
If we are to believe what we read, we think it's safe to assume that Zoom and other video calling platforms are here to stay. This new virtual workplace might slowly start to replace off site meetings, international conferences and events as a cheaper, greener, more accessible alternative. So as an employer, help your employees adapt to it now, and you’ll begin to see how much you can really get out of it.
1.Make sure your set-up is as close to the real thing as possible.
The most important piece of advice we have is to take video conferencing as serious as you would in-person meetings, events and conferences. Have your set-up looking as professional as possible before your next important meeting. Invest in high quality cameras, microphones and backdrops and treat each call as if it was happening in person.
2. Take your business into the virtual world
You wouldn´t pitch for your new product or your new service in your sweatpants from your kitchen table, would you?
Right, you would dress accordingly and present in a conference room in a professional atmosphere, all tidy, all neat, all in style - matching the values of your company and service.
When it comes to presenting your services with webinars and via other virtual tools, one still tends to be a little lost.
However, giving your business and service the same professional look & feel virtually as in person is crucial for maintaining your CI and living up to your clients expectations.
Want to Zoom in style with your business too?
At Expat in the City we've helped some of our clients transition into the virtual, online world and doing it in style. If you too are looking for support in promoting your Munich expat friendly business in style, get in touch!