Tips to being a virtual meeting rock star.
This is my first first blog post in about 8 years, but I hear it’s just like riding a bike.
The world has changed drastically since then–and even more so in just the last 7 months. One prominent change is the use of virtual calls/meeting spaces, such as Zoom or Google Meets.
It’s been used for business meetings, cocktail parties, classes, and virtual auditions. For those that are just slowly getting back into the game, or haven’t yet had to attend a virtual meeting in a professional sense–I wanted to give you some quick tips on how to look like a pro every time!
- If you don’t have your own Zoom/Google account, ensure you sign up for one–it’s free! Even if you are sharing a computer with someone else, you don’t need your potential boss or casting director to know that. You can do this on a laptop/computer or on a mobile device. Most recommend using the former so you can keep your hands free to take notes, or just to stay loose if you’re in an audition.
- Do a test run. Call up your buddy or a relative, and make sure that your internet connection is working properly. You want to figure it out early if your internet isn’t strong enough to keep a connection. You also want to ensure that your name is showing up correctly and not just something generic like “Laptop 9234” or worse, another person’s name entirely. Not having your name show up could cause extended periods in the waiting room, as the host struggles to figure out who your are–or worse, you could not be let into the meeting at all. Often times, hosts only want to allow those that are invited into the meeting, if your name doesn’t show up, they could just assume you’re not invited.
- Now, like all meetings, get there early. You’ll click on the link provided by the meeting host. Then you will likely be put in a waiting room to be added in once the host is ready. This will give you a chance to ensure your camera and audio is set up properly. Have the webcam angled as close to eye level as possible. You don’t want it too high so people are looking down at you, but you also don’t want it too low so people are looking up your nose. Headphones are usually recommended, but not necessary–especially if it’s an audition.
- You’ve made it! It’s a bit awkward at first, but just smile and say hello. If you’re entering as others are speaking, you can just do a wave until invited to speak. If you start speaking at the same time as someone else, it will cut them off. Not a good first impression. If you will not be speaking for the time being, try to stay as quiet as possible. The mute button is your friend! Don’t be afraid to mute yourself so that any sound you may unintentionally make (opening a pop can, cough/sneeze, shifting of your equipment) won’t cut off someone else mid sentence. Your mic is very sensitive. But pay attention–when it is your turn, you’ll have to unmute to talk.
- Feel free to stop your video if you need. There will be times where you maybe need to blow your nose, or your dog/child runs up to you, or you need to leave to use the washroom. You can stop your video, but still see hear everyone else. It just allows others to continue to pay attention to what’s actually going on, rather than getting distracted by what you’re doing. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen way too much of a person’s personal grooming or family conversations that have taken me away from concentrating on the speaker. PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU!
And that’s it for starters! Comment below if you’d like to see more advanced Zoom tips, such as how to change the photo of you for when you do turn off your video, how to easily change your screen name, how to amp up your internet connection, or how to change the level of your webcam to to achieve the perfect angle.