4th June 2020
by Charlotte Wilson
If you hadn’t already noticed, Zoom is popping offfff right now. Which almost makes it sound like some kind of exciting, hip-new-hot-spot in the trendy part of town. But alas, it isn’t. In reality, it’s us at home in a rectangle square, in our bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens, wondering why every single call these days needs to be a video one…or is that just me?
It’s true, we are now a nation of Zoomers, whether it’s a Monday morning catch-up, a client briefing, an excel-spreadsheet-induced rant, or even a Friday after work drink; one thing is for sure, your Zoom meeting room is THE place to BE (all the darn time). But, just what are the official etiquette rules on a work Zoom call in the middle of lockdown….?
*disclaimer: Other video calling apps are available (we think).
Well, now that we’re all (sort of) comfortably used to working from home, we thought we’d answer the question that almost no-one has asked of us and provide you with a comprehensive set of Do’s and Don’ts for work Zoom calls. You can thank us later.
1. Admire yourself on camera – Yes, confidence is key in the Zoom call Olympics, and if you can’t look yourself in the eye then who the heck can, hey? Be confident and don’t be distracted by the suspect looking stain across Dean from accounts forehead whilst you’re trying to live your best Zoom life, it’s really none of your business. Focus on you because: You. Got. This.
2. Don’t apologise – Everyone on your Zoom call is most likely also at home and trying to figure out what TF is going on, so do not stress about the things you cannot control. Whether that be a child interrupting you in the middle of a presentation, an overzealous postman at the door, or a forgotten empty wine bottle (or two) in the background. We’re all in this together, and anyone that feels the need to comment on anything personal in your home can easily be muted. Simples.
3. Don’t overexpose – Ok, so an accidental wine bottle is one thing, but dirty underwear or an industrial strength ‘neck massager’ laying forlornly in sight is quite another. We might be at home, and there are plenty of allowances to be made, but still try to keep a level of professionalism when talking to colleagues or clients, mainly so you don’t end up as one of those viral memes for decades to come.
4. Do sit still – There’s nothing more distracting than a fidgeter on a call, you wouldn’t fuss and fidget in a face to face meeting so don’t be distracted by the comfort of your surroundings. If you do need a toilet break, or to deal with a domestic situation, just mute and turn the camera off momentarily – or simply take the call whilst calmly using the chamber pot under your desk, we all have one, right?
5. Don’t avoid the spotlight – Don’t avoid going on camera because you’re nervous of the ticking time-bomb that is your lockdown household. This is showbiz, kid, and it’s your time to shine! Be sure to warn your household that you’re going live and don’t let them dull your sparkle, we all deserve our 15 minutes so TAKE IT! Ok I’m being dramatic, but you get the picture. If you have a video call that’s important and requires the complicit silence of your household, don’t be scared to tell them, it’s their job to understand and accommodate, especially if you’re expected to do the same for them.
6. Don’t talk over people – Listening is a much-undervalued skill, but it is vitally important, especially in times of crisis. Everyone is dealing with an unprecedented amount of stress, anxiety and trauma at the moment, most of which you will have no idea about, so do try not to be the loudest voice on the call, all of the time. This whole thing is annoying and alienating enough as it is, so be alert to when others are trying to talk and do your best to contribute positively rather than just waiting for your turn to speak.
7. Don’t mess with filters – Yes, it was very droll when Susan from HR pretended that she was on an Hawaiian beach on your casual team catch-up, but those filters are actually very tricky to turn off when you’re not au-fait with the system. So, what was once funny on a Friday happy hour with the team, is not so funny when you’re trying to deliver a serious pitch as a potato.
8. Do mute yourself when you’re not talking – Akin to knowing when to listen, knowing when to mute yourself for the comfort of others is a very key notion in the current climate and this should apply to any considered conversation that you have. No one needs to hear you breathe or slurp your tea through the amplified sounds of your laptop microphone, So, if someone is presenting, subtly tap the mute button, sit-back and relax.
9. Do use good lighting – Halo ring? Well placed lamp light? Child holding an iPhone torch above your head? All of these things are fair and justified in the pursuit of you looking your best on camera. If you look your best, you’ll feel your best and thus you’ll deliver your best. But in all seriousness, simply trying not to sit directly under or above a spotlight, or direct sunlight, will greatly improve how you look on screen, so be mindful next time you settle in to join that meeting.
10. Don’t forget to say goodbye – Ok, I’m not saying that we need a Vontrapp family song and dance routine every time you want to sign off (but that would be some GREAT viral content if you did, #justsaying). You are still a real person doing a real job, so be sure to politely say adios and sign off before you hit the ‘leave’ button and hot-foot it back to Loose Women.
We hope that today’s blog post has readily equipped you with everything you need to know about the Do’s and Don’ts of Zoom-call etiquette, and as much as we like to jokingly begrudge the amount of video calls we’re obliged to take at the moment, it is still a positive thing to be able to connect with other human beings in real-time, whenever we want to, whilst we try to navigate our way through the new reality.
For some light relief, plus our top tips on how your business can utilise some expert digital marketing tools during this crisis, click here.
Thanks for reading!