Because pg 2 6-18-20

If you asked me about the word Zoom in January, I would have most likely responded in song, reflecting back on one of my favorite TV shows when I was a child.
Today, the word Zoom has become a necessary way in which humans have remained connected to work, groups, friends and family in this physically distanced world.
In a relatively short amount of time, I have become an expert Zoom participant, engaging in Zoom meetings ranging from family game night to ‘adjusted to virtual’, multi-day, conferences. I have effectively learned how to share my screen, unmute myself quickly when I need to speak, offer a virtual background and remove myself from video when I need to blow my nose.  Most importantly, however, when on Zoom professionally, I have mastered keeping my personal life and interactions, hidden…
When Zooming at home, the first thing you should do is to pretend that you are the computer and turn around and face what it is your fellow Zoom participants will see in your background.  If you like the naked picture of art you have hanging on the wall behind you, move your computer to Zoom in another location.  If you don’t want your fellow Zoom participants to see your bored children playing video games in the background, move THEM to another location before joining the meeting.  Once you have established a background that is free from distractions, make sure that YOU are also free from distractions in your appearance.  It’s fine to look presentable from only the waist up in your Zoom meeting, but, if you think there is the slightest chance that you will have to stand up prior to removing yourself from video, make sure that you are wearing pants or a skirt or clothing, in general, from the waist down. Pajama pants are better than nothing, but it is best to try and maintain a consistent look.
After you have made sure that your appearance and background are professionally neutral, it is important to keep focused on your behavior.  In a group setting, rolling your eyes when a person is speaking in a crowded room, far away from you, is different than rolling your eyes when on Zoom, with your video playing. The speaker, or anyone else with the ‘grid view’ selected, can actually SEE you rolling your eyes.  My advice is to remain face expression neutral, unless you want to smile in appreciation or agreement with what someone else is saying.
In addition, if you are going to engage in the chat function, make sure you are aware of WHO you are chatting with.  The chat function typically works on an initial setting of “All” and then remembers your last chat participant, so, if you select an individual to make a comment to and then want to send a message to all participants, you need to make sure that you select “All” again prior to typing in your comment.  Errors in sending chats to the wrong recipients can be unpleasant…
Overall, when Zooming, it is best to keep in mind that even though you are separated physically, you are still connected visually and verbally with people you may otherwise not engage with socially, in your home, in your pajamas and whilst drinking a bottle of wine… ;-)
Mute. Mute.
Kathy Naumann, possessor of NATURALLY curly hair and the understanding that you can’t control everything!


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