Zoom has become a verb, much like how you “Google” something when you mean search. Both consumers and businesses have adopted Zoom as the go-to platform for video calls and making remote work happen.
Zoom Meetings are Video Meetings
When you get invited to a Zoom meeting, it is by nature a video meeting. If the person wanted to discuss something over audio, they would have phoned you instead.
- Keep your video on. This shows the other participants that you are engaged in the meeting, instead of playing World of Warcraft.
- Sit close enough so your face is clearly visible. Just as if you were at an in-person meeting, you want people to see your facial expressions.
- Use a quality camera. Your camera should have at least 720p video, but 1080p would be best.
- Professional backdrop or Virtual Background. The background of your location should be professional. Walls and bookcases are acceptable. If you are in the basement or a public area, use a virtual background.
Making sure you have a clear and visible presence is what makes a Zoom meeting the next best thing to being there. Take the presentation seriously, it will show you are present and professional.
Quality Audio: Everyone Should be Able to Hear You
You want to make sure your voice is being heard. I don’t mean in a metaphorical sense, I mean literally. Talking into a laptop microphone in a coffee shop is going to sound like garbage.
- Use an external microphone or headset. This doesn’t have to be a $700 Sennheiser recording microphone. There are plenty of quality microphones on the market for under $100 which we’ll link to below.
- Eliminate background noise. Some microphones will do this for you to an extent. You should still make sure you’re in a quiet environment. You need to be able to hear what is being said as well.
- Mute yourself when necessary. When you’re not going to be talking for a while, go ahead and mute yourself. This will avoid any accidental noises, sneezes or coughs.
Sounding professional is the next step to a professional Zoom meeting. You’re on your way to looking like a Zoom master. Now let’s look at some best practices and etiquette.
There are a few basic manners that you should abide by. Most of these are just good manners, and some have come from years of video meetings.
- Stay focused. You have been invited to this meeting because your opinion and expertise were thought to add value. Sit up and pay attention to whoever is speaking. You would expect the same if you were the one talking.
- Don’t eat during the meeting. Remember that people should be able to see you and hear you clearly. You wouldn’t walk into a board meeting with your lunch, and a Zoom meeting should be no different.
- Mute yourself before taking a drink. Drinking is ok, but mute yourself first. I don’t expect many people can make it through a long meeting without water, coffee, or some kind of liquid. Take your drink, but hit that mute button first. You’d be surprised what your quality mic can pick up.
- Don’t shout. When you’re in a physical room and you shout, you know the volume level. Online, you don’t know if someone has turned up the volume already. Try to keep a consistent talking volume.
Following these rules will help keep everyone organized and consistent. As your team gets more meetings under their belt, you will probably come up with your own set of guidelines.
The Fuel team has tested many different cameras, microphones, audio enhancers and more. We have found the following devices work best for everyday use.
Best Value Headset
HyperX Cloud Alpha – While this headset is quite bulky, it is very comfortable and sounds very professional. The microphone also detaches giving you the option of using them as just a headset.
Jabra Evolve 75 – If you spend most of your day in meetings, get this headset. Not only is the sound quality great, but it’s also very comfortable to wear. The wireless and dual connectivity features give you a lot of flexibility around your office.
Best Value Microphone
Blue Yeti USB Microphone – This microphone retails for about $129, but we’ve picked them up on sale for $99 several times. The quality is good and it does a decent job of removing some ambient noise.
Studio Quality Sound
Rode Procaster – If you’re looking for broadcast-quality sound, this is what you want to go with. You will need a pre-amp, XLR cable, boom arm and shock mount. Expect to spend around $700 for everything.
Logitech C920 HD Pro – This is the go-to camera that we give all employees. The quality is great and the microphone is pretty decent. The quality is HD 1080p at 30 frames per second (we’re hoping for the next version to be 1080p at 60 frames per second).
Brio Ultra HD Pro – If you want to stream yourself in glorious 4K, this is the camera to do it with. This camera supports digital zoom so you can focus in on something if you need to.