Generation Z is the demographic cohort born between the mid-to-late 1990s and around 2010.
Affectionately known as “Zoomers,” Gen Z individuals are technologically advanced (having never seen a world without internet), perceive information best through visuals, and absorb tons of new information daily. Zoomers are quick to learn and adept with technology, which is something we’re all being challenged to do in this pandemic season!
Perhaps you’ve recently become a “Zoomer” yourself: video-conferencing for the first time or managing the majority of your business remotely.
Whether you’re a tech pro or you are brand new to online meetings, everyone faces video-based communication challenges. Here are a few tips to make your online meetings a bit better:
Often when we’re at home, we get a bit slumpy with our hygiene.
Before your meeting, take a minute to freshen up and to inspect your viewing area. Make sure the light is shining toward you (not from behind you) and that you sit in front of plain walls or more simple backgrounds. Some platforms will also allow you to enable HD options and click a “touch up my appearance” feature, which can smooth out wrinkles and blemishes in a flattering way.
Before starting your meeting, preview your audio settings.
If you’re just using your laptop speaker and microphone, there’s not much to adjust. But if you’ve got a mic-headset combo you’d like to use, make sure it’s the audio is selected for both the Speaker and Microphone options before you start your call.
When people aren’t speaking, their microphones can pick up minor background noises like chewing, sniffles, or typing.
Even laughter from meeting participants can break up the audio flow, so ask people to mute themselves whenever they’re not talking.
The 2019 State of Remote Work report found that interruptions and being talked over are two of the biggest challenges for remote meetings.
To maximize group discussion, it’s best if a moderator calls on people individually and asks others to hold comments unless they indicate they’d like to speak. Some software has a “raise hand” feature, or you can establish on-camera signals that indicate when participants are ready to share. Chat boxes can also be used to type comments.
Finally, consider saving 10 minutes at the end of the meeting for additional comments or questions.
Part of the enjoyment of work is social connections.
“When you are used to being in person and have to be online, build in room for chitchat,” says Erica Kuhl, a consultant who has devoted years to nurturing online training communities.
Research shows that if employees don’t have a rich, welcoming online experience, their long-term engagement will drop significantly. Leave 15 minutes at the beginning of meetings for participants to introduce themselves, to share a personal highlight, or to enjoy some lighthearted banter. By building this in, you’ll have a more productive meeting overall.
Now that we’ve gotten a taste for video conferencing, it may be here to stay.
Being on top of your video conferencing game is essential, so use this season to master the technique, and you will reap the benefits in the future.