I teach my online aromatherapy classes via Zoom as well as host and I attend many Zoom group meetings – as do most of us since the world changed in March, 2020.
Here are a few things I wish every Zoom attendee knew before arriving:
1. If You Need to Leave Early
If you need to leave a meeting or class early, please leave quietly without voicing or writing in the chat that you are leaving. Thought you’re trying to be respectful, it’s actually better to slip out quietly. When you broadcast that you’re leaving the meeting, it’s a bit like standing up in a lecture and announcing that you’re leaving the room. Further, it’s interruptive to the class flow and may even cause others to leave. Your best practice is to just quietly hit the red button that says “Leave Meeting.” However, if you are in a small private class or meeting where your full attendance is required and find you have to unexpectedly leave, simply privately message the teacher or facilitator an apology, then leave.
2. Keep Your Camera On
As a teacher, one of my rules is that my students must keep their cameras on. If not, it’s the equivalent of a student sitting in a live classroom with a paper bag on their head or sitting outside. There is no connection, no engagement. It’s discouraging to the teacher or speaker and disrespectful to the other students who do have their cameras on.
In a less personal situation, such as a webinar, try to plan ahead so you can be in a location where you can turn your camera on, and where the lighting on your face will be adequate. Don’t forget to smile, give a thumbs up occasionally. Sometimes a group will all do “jazz hands” to indicate clapping. Your face and your presence add an enormous amount energetically to any online class or meeting and makes the experience more engaging for everyone.
3. …unless you’re eating or moving around.
It’s ok to eat in a Zoom meeting if you’re not expected to talk, but please turn your camera off while you’re eating. I attend a monthly AIA Board Members meeting on Zoom and it’s held when many of us have our supper. It’s not uncommon for one of us to momentarily turn off the camera then come back in a minute as we are having our meal. And if you’re moving around to, say, adjust your chair, turn your camera off for a minute because it can be distracting. Remember that your video presence is helpful, so try to quickly finish your eating and moving, so you can join us again on camera 🙂
4. Got a question? Type the word QUESTION in all caps first…
I really prefer that when someone has a question, they start their chat message with the word QUESTION in all capital letters and then type their question, not in caps. This makes it really easy for me to see at a glance that there is a question, especially in a fast-moving chat log.
5. Chat to everyone, not to me directly…
Please understand that the teacher/speaker/facilitator is juggling multiple things — keeping track of notes, the time, attendees’ questions and the activity in the chat box. Chat to everyone in the call not only the speaker. If you want to address me, put an @LIZ at the beginning of your chat so it’s easy for me to see… but the benefit of chatting to “everyone” is that if I miss your message, others in the meeting may bring your message up to remind me.
6. Is my message landing? Let me know that.
As a teacher, I really appreciate knowing that my message is making a difference. But how will I know, unless you signal to me that my message is helping? The simplest way is to smile, give a thumbs up (in the video) or even to laugh visibly if something is funny to you. You can chat as often as you’d like what you agree with — add a few words about what I’m saying that helps you. Or if you have an additional thought to contribute to the conversation, that’s welcome too, of course. Otherwise, if you keep quiet, all I see are neutral faces and no chat messages giving me no indication if what I’m saying or doing is helpful and useful.
7. Notice your display name, and change it if needed…
Sometimes people attend with their display name as “Zoom user” or something else. If you haven’t done so in awhile, go to your Zoom profile (you might be prompted to log in), click “Edit” next to your name, and change your Display Name. If it’s a professional setting, it can include both your name and title, such as: Liz Fulcher, Aromatherapy Educator
You may include a url, but do not try to put a link in your Display Name.
During the meeting, you can rename yourself by clicking on your own video and clicking “Rename”. I found this tutorial that shows how.
8. Is Your Zoom software updated?
Have you checked lately whether your Zoom is updated? Zoom has a new software update every couple of weeks, and it can make a difference to your experience. However, they rarely require users to update, so I recommend checking manually every now and then. Learn how to update your zoom to the latest version.
Have I forgotten anything?
Do you have another tip that you wish others knew before attending their next Zoom meeting? Please comment below!
Feel free to share this blog post so that we can all enjoy better Zoom meetings 🙂
Note: This blog was was originally written by George Kao, Authentic Business Coach, as an article in Medium. Because George gives full copyright permission on all his articles, I have copied the parts of the article that I agreed with and added my own views about Zoom etiquette, particularly from the perspective on an online teacher.
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