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Avoid The Top Five Mistakes People Make In Zoom Meetings

May 20, 2020

In business, first impressions matter. Having a polished, professional appearance could be the difference between making your next sale or not. Showing up to your virtual meetings like you know what you're doing is going to set you apart from the pack.

Here are the top five Zoom mistakes to avoid along with powerful tools that I've tested over 30 years of creating professional videos, content and brands that will make you look and sound like a seasoned leader.

Mistake No. 1: Ignoring Or Failing To Leverage Technology 

Restart your computer about 20 minutes before you're going to start a presentation. Most weird technical glitches can be resolved with a reboot. Wi-Fi can also be unreliable. Search Google for “speed test,” and check your connection speed. Also, turn off file sharing and stop any downloads or uploads. Those will kill your speed.

In real-life meetings, we never really think about external factors, like lighting and background noise, but when we're talking about virtual meetings, they're very important elements to consider. When you're lit from behind or above, shadows appear, making it difficult to see your face. Investing in an affordable ring-light that lights your face from the front will give you a professional appearance.

When you’re meeting with important potential clients but don't have the time to primp, click “Touch up my appearance” in your Zoom settings under “Video” to look refreshed and ready for the part.

Also, make sure that you're in a quiet spot without disturbances from the outside world. If you want to resonate with your audience in a big way, a good USB microphone is worth the investment. You can easily find one on Amazon. Otherwise, there are tools you can purchase that will digitally remove all environmental noise, like kids and dogs.

Lastly, make sure to use the record feature in Zoom, so you can repurpose and send replays of your meeting later. This is a huge value-add.

Mistake No. 2: Failing To Connect With Your Audience

If you're using a laptop, be sure to position it at face/eye level rather than looking down into the camera. Pretend you're in a boardroom, not your living room. Putting your laptop in your lap makes it feel too casual.

Move your video window so you look directly at the camera lens and it appears as though you're making direct eye contact. This simple trick increases intimacy with your audience.

Position your camera so you're in the top third of the screen and centered. Make sure your head and shoulders are in frame.

A little bit of charisma goes a long way, so make sure to smile! It increases your likeability instantly and dramatically improves audience engagement. 

Mistake No. 3: Failing To Represent Your Brand

Get dressed like you're going to an important meeting because…you are! Wear a nice jacket, brush your hair, shave — whatever it takes to look like the professional that you are. This is especially beneficial if you're in sales or marketing.

Declutter and clean up your background. Close all drawers, doors, and closets. You want all of the attention on you and what you're saying. 

Start your meeting with a short biography so the audience knows who you are, what you do, who you do it for and why you do it. Establishing your experience as an authority in your field upfront builds trust, and people only buy from people they trust. Just keep it short and don't brag.

Grab attention immediately with a short story or a quick sentence about the benefits, results and outcomes your audience will receive from your presentation. Ultimately, your goal is to help people get their desired outcome. Prove to them that you can help them do that.

Mistake No. 4: Failing To Optimize For Modern Attention Spans

Come up with a memorable theme (this is mostly for webinars), like a virtual dance party or group challenge. Create engaging activities like polls or surveys, and remind your audience to write things down and ask questions. This will keep people interested and engaged instead of drifting off to check their social media.

Use relevant props in your immediate surroundings that are brand-representative, like books, plants, instruments or equipment that you use. If you're teaching people how to play the guitar, for example, it's probably a good idea to have a guitar in your surroundings, again, establishing your authority in your field.

Present all of your content in the shortest period of time. Droning on for hours could make you appear self-important and disrespectful of people's time, not to mention you'll lose their focused attention. Make sure to be organized and well-prepared.

Mistake No. 5: Failing To Observe Online Etiquette

Mute yourself whenever you're not speaking. No one wants to hear your crunching on chips or tapping on your keyboard. Again, being respectful and professional goes a long way. Would you crunch chips loudly in a boardroom meeting? Probably not.

Turn off all notifications on your phone and computer so no one has to hear your beeps, bells and buzzers. It's distracting. You must keep your attendees focused and engaged if you want to make sales.

Lastly, never point at the camera; it's the equivalent of getting poked in the eye. Poking in real life is rude and unprofessional, don't you think? Just avoid it. 

There you have it! Practice these tips and you'll be a professional meeting host in no time.


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