The pandemic is over, but the Zoompocolypse lives on. The fact is that a lot of business today gets done via video calls — this is the new normal. For startup founders in 2023, it’s likely your first few meetings with a prospective investor will all be via video.
So it’s time for us to all get a little more professional (don’t worry, you can still wear your PJ bottoms).
- Audio matters.
This seems obvious, and yet I’m still on calls with people who I’m struggling to understand because of the audio quality. Get yourself a good microphone — wired is better than the notoriously-inconsistent Bluetooth, and anything is better than just talking to your laptop. Make sure you are joining the call in a quiet place — street noise is really distracting. Also, turn off your notifications! The incessant “ding” every time you receive a text or an email is not something others in the meeting want to listen to.
- Lighting matters.
Get a ring light or at least have a window in front of you that is providing light to your face. If the window is behind you then you’ll just look like a shadowy silhouette in a witness protection program.
- Get all your sharing settings correct in advance.
This is 2023, and it’s incredibly amateurish when you are saying in the meeting “OK, let me figure out how to share my slides. Wait, I need to change my permissions. I may need to re-start Zoom. Wait, now I can’t find my slide deck”. Don’t be one of those people.
- Extra monitors are your friends.
The fact is that on a single laptop monitor it’s very hard to have Zoom open, your slides open, the Zoom chat open, etc. And, as I said above, you just look foolish when you’re clearly having trouble keeping up in the meeting. An external monitor is very inexpensive these days and will make you seem much more professional during Zoom meetings.
- Don’t join a meeting from your car unless absolutely necessary.
There’s no way you can be fully-present. And no one wants to be in a meeting with people who are not fully-present.
- Cameras on.
You’re not watching TV, you’re participating in a meeting. I know there are some exceptions, but again, being professional in a meeting means being fully present in every way.
Like everything in life, approach Zoom calls with intention. Early in the pandemic we all needed to cut each other a lot of slack, but Zoom calls are here to stay and we need to look and act professional (at least from the waist-up).