How to Use Zoom: Etiquette, Tips and Best Practices

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Follow these tips on Zoom etiquette to have better Zoom meetings, photo visuals-ufK-deiLqY8-unsplash
Follow these tips on Zoom etiquette to have better Zoom meetings, photo visuals-ufK-deiLqY8-unsplash

With the global pandemic, we’re all using the Zoom app these days to conduct business meetings, book club meeting and even keep in touch with family. If you’ve never used Zoom before, Zoom is a cloud-based video-conferencing tool that has a basic plan that is free to use. The basic plan lets you host Zoom meetings for up to 100 participants with a 40 minute limit on group meetings. It also includes unlimited 1 to 1 meetings. Whether you are using Zoom for business or pleasure, read the following tips on Zoom etiquette to get you up to speed.

Follow these tips on Zoom etiquette to have better Zoom meetings, photo visuals-ufK-deiLqY8-unsplash
Follow these tips on Zoom etiquette to have better Zoom meetings, photo visuals-ufK-deiLqY8-unsplash



Location

Before you get on to a Zoom call, decide which room you’ll be using for your call. A living room, home office, or den is ideal, although due to space considerations, you may need to get on your Zoom meeting from your bedroom. Just make sure that whichever room you use is clean and tidy so that objects such as dirty laundry or dishes do not appear in the background of your Zoom call. Having a painting on the wall behind you or a plant or bookshelf in your background makes your Zoom call look professional yet relaxed.

If you aren’t happy with the background in your room, you can add one of Zoom’s virtual backgrounds or upload one of your own photos to act as a background. Follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Zoom
  2. Choose “New meeting:
  3. At the bottom left of your screen, click the arrow to the right of “Stop video”, then select “Choose virtual background”
  4. Choose one of the images as your background or click on the + sign beside “Choose Virtual Background”, then click on “Add image”, then upload your own image from your device.

Lighting

Any light in the room should be in front of you. If there is a window in the room, try not to sit in front of it. Otherwise, close your blinds, or your camera will expose the light and you will appear in silhouette.

Position

Raise your laptop, tablet or phone so that the camera in your device is at eye level. We’ve all seen people being interviewed on the news these days who are staring down into their laptop. It looks unnatural and awkward.

Also, don’t get too close to your screen. The camera should capture you from the chest up as this is how you would typically see someone in a meeting in real life.

Noise

Muting

A best practice on Zoom is to mute yourself when you’re not speaking to eliminate any additional background noise so that everyone can clearly hear the speaker.

Background Noise

Background noise in your home will be amplified during your Zoom meeting. As a result, close the door to your room to block out noise from your spouse, partner, kids or pets since this can be really distracting. If you have to have your pet in your room, hopefully s/he will be sitting quietly in a corner. Barking dogs, as cute as they are, will definitely detract from the purpose of your meeting.


Video

It is strongly suggested that you turn on your video. The whole purpose of Zoom is to be able to connect with others visually. Don’t worry so much about the length of your hair or grey roots as many of us are in the same boat with the pandemic and can’t get to the hair salon. You can test your video and audio at zoom test.

Dress Code

Some people on Zoom think they don’t have to wear pants because the camera is focusing on them from the waist up. This strategy will backfire if you have to get up unexpectedly to attend to interruptions from your kids or pets!

Screenshots

It might be tempting to do this, but don’t take a random screenshot of your Zoom meeting without asking participants for their permission first. You must also advise them where you plan to post your screenshot.

Speaker or Gallery View

You have the option to use speaker or gallery view. Choosing gallery view allows you to see all the members of your meeting. This lets you see everyone’s reactions to what’s being said. Also, keep in mind that if you are muted while someone else is talking, they won’t be able to hear your verbal reaction. Giving a thumbs up is a good way to let the speaker know you are on board with what they’re saying.
It seems like Zoom meetings are here to stay. I hope these tips on Zoom etiquette help you to have better Zoom meetings!
You might be interested in reading, “Virtual Tours While Stuck at Home: Museum, Theatre, Travel“.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve never heard of the screenshot etiquette but that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for pointing that out just in case!

  2. I’ve heard so much about zoom, but I’ve never tried using it, yet. I always do video calls with my family, though and I so agree with these tips.

  3. This is a very important post! I definitely know a lot of people who could brush up on their Zoom etiquette.

  4. Super helpful! I have for sure used Zoom more int he past 2 months than ever before!

    • I have also used Zoom a lot in the past few months! Well, the current situation is a good way to get our feet wet with video conferencing! Cheers, Lori

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