Videoconferencing has been made accessible and convenient via online avenues such as Zoom. As students and workers have been getting more well-versed in using the application and its features, one thing to note about this platform shift is how not only is there something to adjust technically; we also have to adjust ourselves. With that being said, here are a few Do’s and Dont’s to account for during important Zoom calls:
Do: Click mute while others are talking.
This seems to be the simplest task to do in Zoom calls. With the microphone icon easily seen at the bottom left corner of the screen, it becomes almost a habit for students and workers to mind this portion of their screen to ensure that any of the noise in their areas aren’t heard. However, some people may not be as cautious as others. As a result, failure to mute oneself during call has negative implications for ongoing meetings, especially when sounds in one’s area constitute a distraction.
Don’t: Talk over anyone.
Even in the onsite setting, talking over anyone is just plain unprofessional. Fortunately, chat boxes enable participants in the call to simply privately message the presenter should they have any questions or insights. Notwithstanding, it is still important to stimulate a professional environment that fosters respectful communication through active listening. This, again, is where the essence of muting one’s microphone comes into play.
Do: Dress appropriately.
Especially in important and professional meetings, interviews, or webinars, it is important to dress up appropriately. This would entail following business dress code if applicable to the new setting. Makeup for women is not necessarily required and is up to them. Moreover, looking professional waist-up is definitely fine, especially when the calls are too early. However, please make sure that the meeting does not involve standing up or any other action other than sitting down.
Don’t: Force people into turning on their cameras
This one is especially relevant for early morning calls and rainy days. For the former, it is to note that early morning calls might result in workers having to go through the stress of looking well for the meeting at such an early time, even if they’re not exactly obligated to do so. As for the latter, WiFi connectivity and bandwidth must also be considered by meeting hosts. Not everyone has stable internet, especially on days when storms make connectivity slower.
Do: Know when to hold a video call and when not to.
It’s no secret that not everything has to go through a video call. If it can be done via email, a shared online work space, or a shareable document, perhaps it’s better to not even hold a meeting at all. Important to consider here are the agenda, time and schedule, and number of attendees in the meeting. On that note, it’s essential to respect people’s time and not make them say at the end of the meeting that their time has been wasted on something that could’ve been discussed on simpler platforms instead.
Don’t: Prolong meetings deliberately.
One of the factors affecting Zoom fatigue is the long contact of the eyes with the screen. Excessive screen time might drain workers and make them feel more exhausted than productive after the call. Hence, if possible, meetings should follow the schedule as planned, and not go over time as much as possible. This also relates to how respect plays a role in people’s observance of time in meetings — prolonging meetings to an unreasonable length might make people not only fatigued, but also even more frustrated.
It is important to take note of these Do’s and Don’ts for upcoming meetings. Through observing such conduct, respect is cultivated, open communication is established, and further online exhaustion is prevented. Whether we like it or not, Zoom meetings constitute a large part of our new lifestyle — as people of the online community, we must then be responsible for taking note of these factors to our own personal and professional environments in this new remote setup.