As we approach the month of March, we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of “COVID-times” in America. We’ve all experienced the shift of school, work, extracurricular activities, baby showers, birthdays, and more to online platforms, such as Zoom. You’d think that after a year of living like this, everyone would be on the same page about how we go about it, right? Well...not really. Whether you or someone you know needs a refresher, here are four key elements of good Zoom etiquette.
- Mute, mute, mute.
This one is pretty simple. As a rule of thumb, unless you’re in a setting when talking freely is preferred, stay on mute. Make sure to double-check that you’re on mute throughout the meeting. Don’t be the person who accidentally interrupts the entire Zoom meeting by sneezing, talking, sighing, or anything more embarrassing.
- Lights, CAMERA, action!
I know this is a tough one. Having your camera on while in a Zoom lecture with over 50 other students doesn’t feel like the most necessary action, but it has strong benefits. An article from Fast Company identifies seven main benefits for having your camera on: it shows responsibility, communicates self-confidence, builds trust, helps you be engaged, makes you memorable, and sets a good tone for the Zoom meeting.
- Multitasking does more harm than good.
You could be in a boring class, eyes darting to the clock, feeling like you’re not taking anything in. So you open a new tab, pull out your notebook, or take out your phone. While doing this makes the time go by faster, it also does you a great disservice. You may end up missing important information you cannot afford to be unaware of. To resist the urge to multitask during Zoom meetings, try to only have necessary windows open, declutter your workspace, and put your phone away. Try your best to stay focused!
Respect is a big deal. If your boss or professor puts out standards for Zoom etiquette, be respectful of them. Use the raise hand feature or raise your actual hand to avoid awkward encounters. You wouldn’t talk over someone in person, so try your best not to talk over someone over Zoom. Use the chat if that is available to you (but don’t have huge conversations over private chat, as the Zoom host can see those once the meeting is over). Odds are, if you’re sick of Zooming, so are the other people on the call. Defaulting to respect can make things just a little easier for everyone involved.
Obviously, there could be outside factors that limit your ability to be on camera or force you to multitask on Zoom. But implementing these four elements will not only make a Zoom experience better for you, but also for your classmates, professors, work colleagues, or whoever else you may be on Zoom with.
Cut yourself some slack! We’ve been doing this for almost a year and it certainly hasn’t been ideal. Remember this in your Zoom meetings and have compassion for yourself and your fellow Zoom attendees. Happy Zooming!