Friday, 18 February 2022

More Zoom Suggestions for your Rostrum meeting

 Here is a grab bag of ideas from Rostrum Queensland for you to consider when you are in a Zoom meeting.

You can control the way that you see the others in the meeting. To see everyone click on the lattice box on top right hand side of screen. If you want to see only the speaker then right click your mouse on their selfie and click Pin. This will pin the speaker and hide the others in the meeting. Click Remove pin to restore the normal view.

When some one is speaking mute yourself. That way if you cough or make a noise or someone in the house starts playing guitar, your selfie will not pop up on everyone's screen!

You can use the Reactions button during a meeting and click on the put hand up if wish to speak. Take note that if the others in the meeting have pinned the speaker they may not see that you have put your hand up.

If you want to move your selfie to the top of everyone's screen - for example if you are the time keeper for the meeting  then check that you have the latest version of Zoom installed. The newer versions of Zoom have an option in the Reactions named Raise Hand. This not only shows the hand raised in your selfie but moves you to the top of the screen so you are easily seen.

Remember to unmute when you need to speak. For most computers you can hold down the space bar to turn mute off (this is quicker than fumbling trying to click the unmute button). 

If you are applauding a speaker try waving your hands vigorously – polite clapping does not work because Zoom only has one speaker's audio active at a time and the applause is underwhelming. The clap icon in the reactions is similarly a fairly muted response. Waving your hands vigorously is a more demonstrative way to show your appreciation. 

You can nod your head or put up your thumb to quickly show that you agree (shake head or thumbs down to disagree). Zoom also has icons in the reactions for these actions. 

Make your face fill the screen as much as possible to get good eye contact. Move back a little if you want to use gestures. 

If you have your eyes looking 2/3 way up the camera you will get good eye contact when speaking so that you give the speaker a sense that you are listening attentively. 

When speaking keep your face and eyes as mobile as possible and take care with your words, tone, tempo, volume and intensity. Emphasise these vocal skills to connect with the audience.

Take care to keep your hands close to your body when you gesture. Don't move your arms forward and backward because their size is distorted. Remember to keep your gestures within a window at about the same distance from the screen as your head is. If you move your hands forwards and backwards towards the screen they enlarge and reduce in size which may be a little disconcerting.

Open your mouth and use your jaw to ensure clear diction. The audience will hear you clearly if you focus on articulation and enunciation.

Speak slowly and look at the audience. 

Pause often - remember we speak in phrases not in words. Make it easy for your audience.

If have notes use them appropriately and position them notes close to the camera so that you are not looking away from the camera to read. It is best not to have your eyes down if you are reading a speech. 

Use alliteration, onomatopoeia, word pictures, colourful words and emotions appropriately. 

Use short, pithy sentences, rather than long convoluted sentences. 

Begin with a strong opening that connects with the listeners. 

The body of speech must be on theme, with appropriate examples full of word pictures and stories which are real life stories. 

Really connect with your audience through stories so that they will be so inspired that they will want to share your story with others. 

In conclusion, tie in the opening, middle and end with a call to action which is either something you want your listeners to do or remember. 

Maintain the strong volume in your voice right to the end of every sentence by maintaining the energy and intensity in your voice to the end of sentence. Don't drop your voice at the end of a sentence.

Change you Tone, tempo, Volume and Intensity depending on the emotion you wish your listeners to experience. 

Pause between ideas and join new ideas with an appropriate link phrase or sentence. 

Emphasise words by an increase in volume. 

Feel free to repeat important information. 

Assist the Audience to remember or do at least one thing. 

Elongating the length of a word is another way of emphasising the importance of the word. 

The following is worthwhile considering whether we are speaking or reading:- 
• Listeners need to savour our presentation. Whether speaking or reading connect with your listeners and keeping them interested and engaged 
• Allow listeners to savour the speech or reading. 
• Examples and stories need to be presented with word pictures and emotion 
• For greatest effect the listener listeners must be with and in the example or story, without being rushed. 

Things to avoid 
• Lights behind you 
• Fans or other noises. 
• If have forgotten something – or made a mistake – avoid beating up on yourself by making facial expressions and eye movement that suggest you are unhappy with yourself. 
• Avoid going soft at end of sentences 
• Avoid running words and phrases together. 
• Possible for speaker to lose synchronisation between words and lips if move too close to screen or listeners have not muted themselves.

A useful video to check is found at

Zoom can make you look better

It is disconcerting to sit in a Zoom meeting where many of the participants do not put on their cameras. Here's a few tips if you need to look your best:

  • If  you do not have a tidy and well lit corner in your home you can use Zoom's background feature to blank out your room. Zoom offers a virtual background option in the video settings next to the video icon at the bottom of the screen. You can load your own images if you wish or use the blur background option. This camouflages your room and is a quick way to remove distractions from the background.

    A quick search for Zoom backgrounds will give you loads of ideas. Choose a background that gives the appearance that you are sitting in the scene rather than a scene that does not add to your appearance.

  • Zoom has a touch up feature! It smooths out your skin and makes you look a little fresher. It gives an air brush type appearance. It's found in the Settings for your video. Select the Touch up my appearance slider - I push it all the way to the right. Below shows the settings section.

  • What difference does it make to your appearance? Quite a bit! One of our club members told me she thought I wore make up to each meeting - we meet at 7.30 am and I do not have time for makeup! Can you pick the 'with' and 'without' versions in the image below?

  • Know your camera and have a play with it. If you are using the internal camera in your computer see if it has any settings that can help with your appearance on the screen.  If you are using an external camera it may have a wide angled and close angle setting. The wide angle setting displays more of your room and may give more insight into your home than you want to.

  • Do not sit with a window or bright source behind you. Your camera will adjust for the light coming through the window and you will appear dark and hard to see. Have the light coming in behind the monitor and camera. This way you can be clearly seen. You can purchase ring lights to add good lighting effects for your face quite cheaply to improve the lighting on your face. Check your selfie on the screen when you join the meeting or join a zoom test meeting on your own and check whether you can see your eyes clearly in your video. It makes a big difference! Take care to check the lighting at the appropriate times throughout the day for your meeting as the lighting may change.

  • Zoom also offers the option to adjust for poor lighting. In the video settings you can move the slider to adjust for poor light to improve your appearance on screen. It's better to have a good lighting source in front of you but this is an additional chance to look your best. 

  • If you want to have some fun in your meeting you can download the Snap App. Install this app and start if before you start Zoom. Choose the Snap camera from the list of available cameras in the video settings and have fun playing with the options. Here is one of my favourites.

  • (The virtual background is also useful for timekeeping at meetings. You need to be a little dextrous but if you have a warning background and a time up background you can shift from one to the other to give speakers their warnings. It is also useful to display the Rostrum branding if you want to stand out at a meeting.)

  • You can also help less experienced members look good at a meeting by using the chat box to offer quick suggestions if they are having difficulties, for example a new chair for the meeting may need a prompt with voting procedure. Short and targeted suggestions directed privately through the chat can be a great help. It is a useful practice to appoint a mentor so that there is one source off messages rather than an avalanche!