Zoom Etiquette from a Confessed Offender

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Ever wonder if you’re offending others on your Zoom calls?

Before you all troll me on Twitter, I will openly admit that I am a Zoom etiquette disaster.

During this crisis, I have been stuck at home with my four kids, all under six years old (including a one-year-old baby who is learning how to climb). If my living room were not the equivalent of the Bronx Zoo, here are the Zoom etiquette moves I would make.

Before the meeting

For compliance purposes you may need to do some or a few of the following:

  • Get familiar with how to use Zoom. This will decrease anxiety. If need be, do a rehearsal call. Learn how to respond to a chat message, mute someone (including yourself), unmute someone, remove someone from a meeting, record the meeting, and share your screen with the audience.
  • Get used to talking to a computer. If need be, record a mock call and then play close attention to how you came off when talking. Do you seem comfortable? What does your body language say? Were you using the right tone of voice?
  • The day of the meeting, get on Zoom and look at how you would appear to the audience. Is your hair sticking up? Do you look tired? Is your shirt wrinkled? Given my crazy life, looking presentable isn’t always an option. The best I can do is to have a Boston Red Sox (yes that’s right, Yankee fans) hat right next to my computer to toss on. An emergency stash like this is a good idea.
  • Do a sound test. I have a Blue Snowball iCE microphone that cost me about $50. It’s a step up from using the computer microphone, but doesn’t cost a fortune.
  • Do a lighting test. I film using natural light and find it works well. The best hours for natural light are mid- to late-morning and early afternoon. If it is an evening meeting, you will have to make sure there is sufficient artificial lighting.
  • Adjust the Zoom settings. A few settings that financial advisors should be particularly mindful of is the call masking feature, which allows you to hide a few digits of the participant’s cell phone, the renaming function (which allows you to change your name as it appears on the call), muting, disabling video, and the automatic notification that states that the call is being recorded. There are many more; watch a tutorial on Zoom settings and allow 20-30 minutes to go through each setting prior to your call.
  • Consider using a photo background to hide any unprofessional items such as the Thomas the Train high chair and the Elsa Disney Princess tricycle. You can adjust for this in Zoom settings.