Using Zoom can certainly have its benefits, there’s no doubt.
Video conferencing is faster, cheaper, and in many ways (like screen sharing) can also be more effective than travelling around the country to meet people face to face.
That said – nothing will ever replace the connection you can make when you meet people in real human form. But Sydneysider’s this week are all watching on nervously as Melbourne enters their second lockdown during this pandemic. It’s a reminder to all of us that Australia isn’t through this thing yet. Not even close.
Restrictions across most of Australia are only getting tighter, and state borders are only getting more rigid. So it seems that phenomenon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Zoom and its companions such as Skype, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams, are going to be a central pillar of our working lives for some time yet.
So, we might as well get used to it, and see if we can even learn to enjoy it.
It’s not just our industry that is making the leap. Some of Sydney’s top Barristers are currently taking lessons from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (that trained the likes of Hugh Jackman) on how to perform to the small screen, as the entire legal system runs trials via online video.
Video conferencing has gone from a geeky, ‘left of centre’ method of communicating to now becoming the most comprehensive form that is available to us.
So how can we make the most of our work life through Zoom?
Here are 5 x tips to help;
- Smile, you’re on WebCam.
- The webcam that is in your desktop or laptop computer probably isn’t the same as the camera that Nicole Kidman had on the set of her latest movie. And you probably don’t have the hairdressers, make-up artists, lighting directors, and cinematographers all on staff and working together to make you look good. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least give some of those things a little consideration before you begin. You can also use Zoom’s built-in feature called ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ – to make yourself look like you made an effort to get ready (at least).
- Build Your Set
- Take some time to build your ‘set’. Think about the lighting, use portable lamps to make adjustments and play around with the angle of your camera. Remember people prefer to see you eye to eye, not to lay in your lap and look up your nostrils. Once you’ve got a set up you like, it only takes a few seconds to turn it on and go live, which is a lot easier than driving to the office in peak hour.
- Get Creative, and go beyond the Bookcase.
- You only have to watch the news for 5 minutes these days before you’ll see some professional live streaming their opinion to the world, who has built their ‘set’ to look very academic and knowledgeable using a bookcase full of props as their background. If you don’t have the time to set a background like that up, then all you need to use is one of Zoom’s coolest, most underutilised features, Virtual Backgrounds. These virtual backgrounds are utilising green-screen technology for your home office meetings. You can choose from a range of backgrounds that are provided to you by Zoom, or you can upload your own picture and make it something personal. Get creative and have some fun.
- Virtual Whiteboard can be formal or fun.
- I’m a drawer when I present. It just helps me articulate my point, and I speak much better when I’ve sketched out my ramblings with a marker pen. Luckily Zoom has its own whiteboard function. When you share your screen, you can select specific windows to view or apps to feature. Play around with a game of hangman with your colleagues to get used to it before you go full screen with your most important customer.
- Keep it tight and on schedule.
- If there’s any downside to the video conferencing life it is that when the host is late by just 5 minutes, it can feel like a lifetime. Perhaps that’s why Zoom has developed its own calendar integrations for Google Calendar, iCal, and Microsoft. This makes organising meetings a seamless process, and users can select options to give their sessions a little class, such as being able to start the meeting with video turned on or off (for both the host and participants). You can select which audio sources you want to use, and whether or not you want to feature your Personal Meeting ID (a dedicated number for your own room) or use a randomly generated number.