Zoom-optimisation: Video Call & Video Pitching Tips:
How many times have you left your Zoom meeting, Google Meet, Webex, or bluejeans and just let out another sigh, a frustrated grunt, or said FFS (enter person name) doesn’t learn.
I am confident it will be everyone.
Over the last 12 weeks, I have been on a number of advisory sessions, introductory calls, pitches, and training sessions, and each time I have seen how much pain people are feeling, I heard the frustrations in follow up emails and seen how compounding micro-behaviours have had.
Bad practices can be easily improved and optimised, a simple cheatsheet to follow can improve your current set up.
I have created the list below for quick actions and operations you can follow and introduce to improve your next video call. Or as importantly have the confidence to challenge and ask is this video call actually needed. Can we not just have a phone call or potentially turn into one well thought through email or quick presentation to solve the problem.
- Default to mute
- If you are late don’t shout about it — no-one likes that person and is counterproductive to the meeting underway
- Use headphones, background noise is something we don’t have to listen to
Presentations & Presenting
- Have strict agendas and know you won’t get through it, ruthless and continuous prioritisation is essential for productive workplaces
- Use executive summaries as much as possible
- Share the URL of the deck or spreadsheet so all members get to read the document and analyse as you go through
- Pre-record presentations and share ahead of time if you have to present section by section. I would especially recommend this from junior staff for confidence and execution up to the executive level to save time and energy.
- Video kills almost all presentations (over wifi) — where possible send ahead of time with tailored commentary
- Gifs are funny, however they are slow to load — share the presentation URL or shared drive link for everyone to enjoy (or discuss at another time)
- Have a “chair” who manages video calls over 3 people
- Always have why defined before the meeting, why this subject has to be a video call (if you are asking why are in this meeting, the meeting won’t be successful).
- Don’t waste each others time: (1) If not being productive give time back to all attendees. (2) Wrap up meetings quickly — give people some time to refresh, video fatigue is real and enables people to digest and think.
- Use the notes sections (or chat function) to keep people up to date of discussions and actions. Train your colleagues to use notes and chat and refer to it. Votes always work this way.
- Email the meeting or call notes post-meeting — this is important for those who have meeting clashes, joined late or need extra insights
- Use signals or gestures: (1) Use raise hand -Or- (2) Agree a signal to ask a question
- Use full-screen mode and turn off presenter camera to concentrate on the content, not on your weird facial expressions
- Use chat and Q&A features over always allowing interruptions — even the most senior person should follow protocol
- Have a wiki or centralised home for one home, meeting notes, actions and follow up plans
- Use shared whiteboard features on tools — not perfect but helps to replicate in office environment. Miro, teams, google docs shared view all have good options.
- Make use of paper (with colours and sketching) and talking through ideas — remember pictures say 1000 words.
- Don’t expect a great idea quickly, especially remotely. Energy flows differently remotely.
- Timebox as much as possible
- Crazy 8’s (the Design Sprint method) is great in person but harder to replicate online or through video, get these done ahead of time and uploaded to discuss
- Share knowledge where you can, explain or follow up when others don’t understand
Struggling as a team?
- Remove awkwardness by creating and participating in a group activity
- Get everyone to bring something to the meeting, create a theme for each person
- Eat something collectively together (go on mute)
- If people are being quiet, doesn’t mean they have nothing to say
- Give people time to digest and set a time to revert back
Happily let me know what solutions you have used or different ways you have improved your video calls.
Want more tips from professionals across Marketing, Product, Culture & Wellbeing? Click below’s tips, packed with great tips:
The Must Read Tips Series
Each week I write a weekly Must Reads newsletter, over the last few weeks I have invited many smart people to share…