[techtalk] Are You “Zooming”? Tips for Participants & Presenters

Darci Hanning darci.hanning at state.or.us
Wed May 13 08:12:02 PDT 2020

Greetings and welcome to this week’s issue of Tech-Talk!
Learn how to make the most of this online meeting platform



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·     May 13: ZOOM: Tips to Participate In and Present Meeting
·     May 20: COMMUNICATIONS: Tips for Dealing with Difficult People
·     May 27: VIDEO: In Your Windows 10, You Can Create Videos
·     June 3: DESKTOP: Naming Conventions: Files, Docs and Emails
·     June 10: INTERNET: Clever Ways to Search
·     June 17: LEADERSHIP & TEAMS: Six Questions You Must Discuss
·     June 24: WORD: More Tips and Tricks

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 This Week's Topic: WEB TOOL

1. ARTICLE & VIDEO ... Are You "Zooming"? Tips for Participants & Presenters
2. COMMUNICATING ... How to get people engaged in Zoom
3. LEADERSHIP ... Setting expectations in online meetings


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Questions about Tech-Talk?

WEB TOOL - Are You "Zooming"? Tips for Participants & Presenters

[online meetings]

Are you attending more online meetings and presentations in platforms like Zoom? It's a great way to communicate with team members, attend training programs and even chat with family and friends. The use of Zoom.us has exploded because it has paired low cost with functionality, and even offers a free level.

Before we jump into some tips so that you can get more out of a meeting -- as either an attendee or a presenter -- let's take a quick look at the account types so you can understand the key differences.


Zoom Meetings (Free Level) - Best for one-to-one meetings as there are no limits on session lengths when there are just two people in the Zoom room. However, if you have more than two people in a meeting, there is a 40-minute limit.

Zoom Meetings (Paid Level - $15/mo) - This plan is great for interactive sessions where you want attendee participation – like for staff/team meetings. No time limits and 100 attendees.

Zoom Webinar (Paid $40+/mo) - This is an upgrade to the paid meeting account. The Webinar level is ideal for large audiences where the attendees don't necessarily interact with each other. Typically, it is set up with one (or a few panelists) presenting to an audience. One major benefit is at this level, Zoom Webinar will send meeting reminders to registrants one week, one day and one hour before the event.

Yes, you can hold a "webinar" (a training session) in the meeting type. And you can hold "meetings" (discussion groups) in the webinar platform. So this article will focus on the Zoom Meeting and how you can get more out of attending … or presenting one.

Become the Best Zoom Participant!

When it comes to attending a Zoom meeting (or really, any type of conference calling platform), there are some basic "video conferencing etiquette" behaviors to keep in mind.

As a participant your toolbar is your best friend. To be able to interact on the call, you need to know the basics. Remember: This toolbar is for a Zoom Meeting. (There are different options for a Zoom Webinar.)

[Zoom toolbar]

# 1 Mute – If you only know one toolbar function, the most important is the Mute option.

[muting options]

Some meetings are set up to have all attendees automatically muted when first entering the call, but not always. Believe it or not, the noise behind you in your room (dishwasher, TV, dog) is AMPLIFIED and comes across much louder to the others on the call. So it is important that you KEEP yourself muted in a group call, un-muting when you have something to say.

In your toolbar, the Mute icon is on the far left. Toggle it on or off as needed.
Muting TIP: You don't have to scramble to find the microphone button. If you're muted and want to talk, you can press the space bar and hold it down to un-mute your microphone while speaking (keep holding it down as you talk). Once you're finished speaking, release the space bar to return to the mute mode.

Prepare ahead of time. If you're in a team meeting with few members and will be un-muted a lot, put a "do not disturb" sign on your door to help minimize interruptions.

#2 Sound Quality – "Jerry, can you repeat that? You cut out."

[Zoom Bingo]

Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to hear clearly, with cracking and cutting out. So do your part in making sure you can hear and be heard.

You can join the audio portion of a Zoom call through your device's built- in microphone, or through a phone. Many laptops and smart devices have high quality microphones. But, if you use Zoom a lot, take a look at getting an external microphone that plugs into the USB port of your computer for better sound quality.

When you enter a Zoom meeting, you'll be prompted to pick your device's microphone or an accessory mic that you have plugged in.

#3 Enhancing Your Video - You want to look good on camera, right?

There are many considerations when you have your camera turned ON during a Zoom call... lighting, background, camera placement, etc.

You don't have to have fancy "ring" lights -- you can use natural lighting. Sit facing a window (not with your back to it) so that the light doesn't put your face in shadow.

You have some flexibility in where your camera is pointing, even if it's built into your device. Look at your camera directly, straight ahead. You can adjust your laptop screen forward or backward. Don't sit in a chair with your laptop on your lap with it aimed upward. It's unflattering!

[zoom call]

Depending on the type of Zoom call (personal or professional), dress appropriately and remember your posture. Keep in mind that the presenter and attendees can see you when your camera is on. Give the presenter and team members the courtesy of your attention. We all get distracted and want to multi-task, but if you're at a meeting in a conference room you wouldn't be texting your sister, eating your lunch or doing your nails.

In your Zoom tool bar you can toggle your video on or off with the "start/stop video" button. If you click the upward arrow to the right of the video icon and select Video Settings, you have more options. On the Video tab there are a few things you can adjust:

·     Enable HD for higher quality video settings. However, this uses much more bandwidth and can stress your connection so you may want to turn it off.
·     Touch up my appearance to soften your skin and minimize imperfections.
·     Virtual Background allows you to select a picture that shows behind you. But if the room (the wall) that you're in front of is busy and colorful, it doesn't work well. Sit in front of a plain wall or add a green screen behind you. Then choose a Zoom-provided image. If none are in your account, click the plus (+) icon to upload a picture from your PC.

[zoom background]

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... article continues in the Tech-Talk Database<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0012OJDuAGGxWXRQdP0NUZpIA4-x6_OY79kkbBTozL6zqFSEUeDENxJyJaATsOgNzvdXwKbcuRq5YEu-sz6fBS09Y9V7YJh81hcHoZx3PM8_dC3bDjc_6lUuaKEwnWubjGW_6vcf0OQV5NIwstI3cpIKsZbha4eOt1K9JFzisqXqn_rbj-fGdO5-VOb6ksdrcsKKJI4U25QU5D9vUUiIo2PEoXotenfzSDi&c=-E266sClrdbmqZfxo-V3aLofCNQ5SvH9Xpkzoq3OzCiUQnT-oiMj-A==&ch=XJlbtLeKDZMopakhxhQFgaB9io13ujNDUoOOd8j0_nAOxpu4PQ77Ig==>

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The rest of the article covers...

Attendee Tips (#4, #5, #6)
·     Do you have to turn the video on?
·     Interaction - Be a Part of the Meeting!
·     Viewing Options - Turn on Gallery View

Presenter Tips (#1, #2, #3, #4)
·     Use a Co-host
·     Take Control and Add a Level of Security
·     New Share/Pause Options
·     Keep Your Attendees Engaged

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Communications: Talking
How to get people engaged in Zoom

Nobody likes to just sit and watch other people talk, right? They like to get involved. They learn more if they do. They stay more engaged when they're asked for their opinion and ideas.

Here are a couple of techniques that work well in online meetings: to get and keep everyone's attention throughout a presentation.

FIRST, be sure to turn their "chat fingers" on by asking a question everyone can answer easily and without fear of being wrong.

For instance, as they come into the session, request that they tell you what city they're in or one thing they like to do for fun. Pick something everyone can answer safely and easily without much thought. This technique works wonders and is worth the time because it get's them over the hurdle of that first chat entry. You'll get more engagement later throughout the session.

NEXT, remember these three (3) principles as you ask for interaction: 1) Don't ask questions that put people's knowledge on the spot, 2) Phrase a question that allows really short answers such as a single letter, number or word, and 3) Always respond verbally to what you see in the chat. (examples below).

TIP: Think of good questions ahead of time and have each one typed on a slide so you get the words just right and they can see and read as well as listen to your question. You'll get a better response and people will feel more comfortable responding.


·     "Who knows how to ____?" This is a bad question. No one wants to say because they might be wrong and it would be embarrassing.

·     Better: "Put yes or no ... or not sure ... in the chat to this question."Do you know how to ______?"

·     "What is one word that comes to mind about this proposal? (You respond: "I see super, problematic, a lot of "good." Ok it looks most are positive. Let's explore the "problematic." Sally will you un-mute and share your thoughts on this?")

·     "About how many volunteers do you have?" (Good question. Short. Not asking for specifics.) You respond: "3, 17, wow 59 for Andover." Make your observation and summary of what you see conversational so that they feel as if you are actually talking with them, not at them.

·     "How often do you go into the Tech-Talk Database? "1" for never; "2" sometimes, "3" often." You respond: "I see a lot of 1's, 2's, and great about a third are "3's".


Setting expectations in online meetings

Whether you're sitting around a conference table or virtually together in an online meeting, expectations for how to communicate your ideas need to be established to make the session more effective.

It falls to the leader of the group to facilitate a conversation around how everyone agrees to interact.

In a typical well-run, face-to-face meeting the expectations may be to: not interrupt another person, raise a hand to be recognized as the next speaker and so on.

It gets a little more complicated when the sessions are virtual ... for several technical reasons. One is that digital is less forgiving when it comes to audio. When we are physically with each other and speak, it's done in analog waves. These can all occur at the same time and we can hear both when two people are talking at once.

But digital is different. It's one or the other. So we get sounds that are cut-out. We can't talk over each other. When we try, it's a mess. No one hears any one person well.

The second is lag time. Not everyone's internet speed is top notch and Zoom adds a significant load on it. This means that for some folks, there will be a time lapse between what is said and shown by the presenter ... and when the others receive it.

So setting expectations at the beginning of a meeting is an important thing for the meeting leader to do ... especially when it's virtual. Zoom has some features that you can use, and they work best when the team has a common understanding of the process.

What expectations does your group want to have for each of these interactive features? (The answers may vary based on the number of participants and their preferences.)

·     Muting and un-muting. Q: Is everyone to stay muted at all times, until they have something specific to say ... or not? Q: How do they indicate they want to speak? Remember: There's always a slight delay for the person to un-mute, so be patient for a few seconds. It's just like listening to the news with foreign correspondents. They get asked a question. There's a pause. Then they answer.

·     Everyone showing video or not. Q:Do you want to see everyone's shiny face and watch how they react to points of discussion ... or not? Q: Is it acceptable to turn off your video during the meeting if you have to move away for a few minutes ... or not? Remember: There are some discussions where you may want to see each other just as you would if you were in a physical room. Facial expressions and body language communicate a great deal.

·     Using the Chat. Q: Is it OK to chat individually with others in the room during the presentation ... or just with the presenter? Sometimes you want them to have the side conversations, other times you may want their full attention.

·     Using Emojis and what the non-verbal icons mean to you. Q: When could someone trigger the "coffee cup" symbol ... what does it mean? Is this a request to take a break? Or does it indicate "I've stepped away from the computer for a couple of minutes"? You decide as a group when to use which sign. Q: Do you encourage members to use the clapping hands when they hear something they like or do you want to use them as a way to take a group vote?

Once you as a leader have facilitated a common understanding, you can post the expectations at the front of the meeting ... and maybe even go over them quickly each time. This makes sure that new folks to the group understand them and the regulars are reminded.


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