Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have been increasingly moving to a virtual work environment. According to internal company data, Zoom, the most popular video conferencing tool, grew from 10 million daily meeting participants in 2019 to 300 million daily meeting participants by April 2020, with that number expected to continue to increase. With such a drastic shift in how work is done, it is important for every business leader to learn how to effectively communicate over Zoom and other video conferencing platforms.
1. Ensure Your Video and Audio is Not Distracting
Although this seems simple, it is actually the single most important thing to do to effectively communicate over Zoom. Everyone has seen it, a conference call participant has a pet crawling across their desk, a TV show blaring in the background, or a shaky phone for their camera. While these things are certainly not intentional, it is vital to recognize when you are the one doing them. We all know how hard it is to focus when someone else has distracting video or audio, so to ensure effective communication, limit the ways you could possibly distract others.
2. Give Others Time to Speak!
Of course, everyone understands that it is polite, and necessary, to allow others to have their chance to speak. Over Zoom, however, this is doubly important. Because, unlike in real conversations with groups, multiple people cannot talk at the same time, it is important to wait for your turn to speak rather than interrupting or speaking over others. It is easy for business leaders, many of whom are skilled communicators, to inadvertently dominate a conversation over Zoom. By being considerate of those who may not be as assertive in speaking, business leaders can ensure that Zoom meetings are as productive as possible.
3. Stay Engaged!
For many employees, staying engaged during regular business meetings is hard enough, so imagine how tough it is to pay attention over Zoom with a myriad of new distractions. As business leaders, it behooves you to set the standard for others by staying focused during Zoom meetings rather than checking your phone or clicking on a different tab. Communicating over Zoom may be difficult, but by staying engaged you can increase productivity by magnitudes.
4. Treat It Like a Real Conversation!
While we may not have ever expected to have the majority of business work done over video conferencing, that does not mean we need to treat Zoom as a totally different environment. Use the same social cues and conversation topics you would in a regular workplace setting. It may seem strange at first, but by acting normal you, coworkers, and employees can continue engaging in productive conversation that will move business forward.