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  • Writer's pictureWalsh Communications LLC

Up your tech game!

I am going to go there!

How many of us have been part of online meetings where faux pas are rampant? I am no tech goddess but have spent a significant amount of time in these meetings to realize that I need to up my game to get my tech in order. I am happy to share a few simple guidelines for these meetings that have helped me. Whether you are on Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting or any number of these platforms, hopefully a few of these tips can help.

Sit in a quiet area and be mindful of background noise. If you have a dog barking or others chatting in the background, it can be distracting. Consider the noise that fans, dishwashers, lawn mowers, sirens or cell phone notifications make. Air movement from ceiling fans can interfere with your microphone, creating a constant buzzing or ambient noise. You may not hear it, but others in your meeting certainly will.

Sign on early to test tech – Sign on muted and test the video before joining your meeting. If you can't alter the physical environment itself, you can still hide the appearance of your space via a fun virtual background or Green screen. You can even upload your own photo or create a virtual background with Canva templates made for Zoom. Prepare materials in advance so you are not shuffling through papers when it is your turn to speak. If you will be sharing content during the meeting, make sure you have the files and/or links ready to go before the meeting begins.

Position your camera properly. Be sure your web camera is stable position and focused at eye level or higher. Avoid low angles (think chins). If you use a laptop, give it a lift with boxes or books.

Mute unless you are speaking - To help keep background noise to a minimum, make sure you mute your microphone when you are not speaking. When your microphone is not muted, avoid activities that could create additional noise, such as driving with windows open and shuffling papers.

Consider headphones with a microphone - Relying on your computer, tablet, or cellphone’s built-in sound system can be risky. More often than not, you’ll find that people can’t hear you very well. This is primarily because people have a habit of turning their heads or moving a little while they speak. If you do this, your stationary microphone may not pick up everything you say. You might want to use a headset with an external mic for best hearing and speaking capabilities. Check out the Jabra Biz 2300 - I have used mine for the past year and it works great.

Limit distractions and avoid multi-tasking – You can make it easier to focus on the meeting by turning off notifications, closing or minimizing running apps, and muting your smartphone. Close unneeded applications on your computer to keep the video optimally functioning.

Sit still. Sounds like common sense right? If you must roam or need to refill your coffee, turn off video.

Fill your face with light - Front-facing natural light is best. It evenly accentuates and brightens your skin and features. Try setting up your computer in front of a window and make sure that light is hitting your face straight-on. Or try a ring light. Mactrem makes an affordable 6-inch ring light.

No eating – Save it for after the meeting.

When you are speaking, let others know that you are finished by saying one of these sign-offs: “That’s all I have.” “I’m finished.” “Thank you.” So that everyone knows you have finished your comments.

I hope this was helpful to you. If you want to practice, host a Zoom meeting with extended family or friends. Zoom is free for the first 40 minutes.

Walsh Communications can suggest creative ways to present your unique story. E-mail or call us today for valuable ideas.

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