5 Things Essential for Professional Zoom Etiquette

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way, LLC.

As someone who has worked remotely for decades, conference calls, and what we used to call “bridge calls” have always been a part of my professional life. Since March, professionals, families, and students have been thrown into the virtual reality of Zoom, GoToMeeting, or whatever other platforms you engage in.

When I worked for the law firm in Manhattan, we were ‘gently’ schooled on web meeting etiquette. Video conferencing back then was slow and expensive. Time was valuable, so behavior and etiquette were understood and non-negotiable.

Is there such a thing as Zoom Etiquette?

Zoom Meeting Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

I was recently asked about this very topic. I chair several committees and community groups, and in the absence of in-person interactions, we now live online.

Zoom meetings appear to be here to stay.

For some reason, the comfort of being remote seems to have affected the meeting’s dynamic in ways other than the obvious. My hat comes off to the parents of school-age and young children who balance work and home life with unbelievable grace and patience. I had to laugh one afternoon when my client’s 2-year old streaked by in all his glory. I have not laughed that hard since March!

Five things to bear in mind when on a zoom meeting:

Emily Post would be proud of us for taking the time to bear witness to the things we have all done at one point or another, and that perhaps will be counted as lessons learned.

We can see you! Yes, we can. That means that all the silly commercials and memes about appropriate dress code, online eating habits, and background ‘artwork’ are based on reality. Prepare for a Zoom call as if you were going to a meeting. Get dressed, pour a fresh cup of coffee, and take a moment to look behind you and see what others are seeing.

Use the video shut off only when necessary. When participating in large webinars or meetings, most attendees turn off the video, and all attendees turn off the audio. That is appropriate for that setting. Small groups usually ask the attendees to mute but not turn off the camera. Please be mindful of the entire meeting group. Turning your camera on and off is distracting in small meetings. It may send an unintentional message to the person speaking that you are not paying attention.

No, you cannot multi-task. In nearly four decades of my professional life, I have attended more meetings than I care to remember. People were on time, for the most part, and came prepared. In today’s virtual meeting environment, people are looking at their cell phones, muting and talking to other people, or checking email. The brain cannot multi-task. Your full attention belongs to the person speaking.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Simple. Engage with the speaker and give them the respect they deserve. It will be returned to you tenfold.

Be present. This new way is not easy nor preferred. We all long to go back to chatting after a seminar or heading out for coffee to work on a project together. But this is what we’ve got, and we need to be mindful and present from the moment you click “join the meeting.” Let’s try and remember that the people on the Zoom meeting with you are happy to see you, want to engage with you, and so often struggle themselves. When your peers are speaking, be present for them. Listen, engage, and ask questions.

Thank you. Thank you to all the people who give up their time for Zoom meetings. Thank you to the parents who so delicately balance their work and family life. Thank you to the Capital Region Chamber for working so hard to engage the members and keep some semblance of normalcy through Women’s Business Council events, BRG meetings, Business After Hours, Network by 9, Award programs, YPN, and Consulting Alliance, to name a few. Your commitment to our Chamber community deserves our full attention and time. I, for one, am happy to be a part of it.

Karen Lombardo is the founder of Put Another Way LLC. Karen has been creating websites and relevant content for businesses for over a decade. The company culture is relaxed, our office mate is an old Pug named Izzy, and our philosophy is to listen first, create later.

Member Spotlight: Renee Purcell, True Synergy Coaching

To further promote women, minorities, and veterans who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses that fall under these categories. This week, meet Renee Purcell of True Synergy Coaching and see how she responds to our Member Spotlight questions.

Renee started True Synergy Coaching in 2016 after many years of hard-earned success in her career as a nurse and educator. She had been pursuing a PhD in nursing while juggling the demands of two small children and a busy husband when she started to wonder if she was on the right path.

Renee was feeling burnt-out and unfulfilled, and she realized that what she was doing in the world was very different than who she was as a person. She had a breakthrough through the most surprising of places—the hula hoop.

The fun and child-like play of the hula hoop allowed Renee to release mental layers and tap into her true inner-self. In this way, the hula hoop became a tool for empowerment and a way to harness the immense amount of energy that comes with living an authentic life.

Renee has crafted a specific technique for harnessing this empowering, freeing energy of the hula hoop, which she calls “Synergy Tools.” In each coaching session, Renee uses these Synergy Tools to lead individuals or groups through a 90-minute exploration of joy and physicality, leading you to access your own power.

Renee specializes in working with ambitious, successful women who have given everything to their careers and families, but are still left feeling unsatisfied in some way. What truly makes Renee stand out from others is her heart-centered approach; she says that love is the most important part of her work. By infusing every aspect of her business with love, Renee is able to guide her clients in a safe and impactful way.

Read Renee’s responses to our Member Spotlight Questions below:

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

I lay down! I take a nap and try to sleep. Too often we don’t allow ourselves to just take a break and enjoy rest. The glorification of busy-ness takes a toll on our health.

What do you love most about what you do?

Seeing people have their “aha” moment of connection. I get to watch someone’s awareness shift right before my eyes, and all because I held a space for them, gave love, and offered an insight. Watching you become you is very spiritual, profound, and beautiful. It’s watching life unfold.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

I want to say so many things. First, love yourself. You’re beautiful, you’re worthy. I would also say to the 13 year old me to live boldly. We only get to live once, make it count. Shine your beautiful light for all to see. Live authentically and without regret.

What have you gained from being a member of the Women’s Business Council?

Being a member of the Women’s Business Council has been an inspiration for me. In this group, we let other peoples’ success be our empowerment. We celebrate each other and lift each other up.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The best advice I ever received was from my father-in-law. He told me to find what makes you happy and do that. Then, if possible, make money from it. But first, be happy.

You can find more information about Renee and True Synergy Coaching at: https://truesynergycoaching.com/

Chair Chat: Announcing the “Friend of the WBC” Initiative


From the desk of Amanda Goyer, Director of Community Engagement at CAP COM Federal Credit Union and Chair of the Women’s Business Council.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, the Women’s Business Council would like to share one of the innovative ways we are contributing to lift women up and empower them through our programming.

Over the past two years, the Women’s Business Council has been piloting a program that we call “Friend of the WBC.” I’m honored to share this collaborative effort and the impact that it has had on women (and men) during our pilot phase which we are proud to bring to light.

We Listened:  At the end of 2016, the WBC Steering Committee leadership hosted a strategic planning session where we focused on what we wanted to “Start” and what we wanted to “Stop.” The conversation was driven by survey responses we had obtained from our audiences throughout the year paired with analysis of what other programming, training and opportunities were currently being offered to women in our region. Finally, we identified where the gaps existed. One immediate area of improvement that our group recognized as a priority was the need to focus on diversity and inclusion, and this is an ongoing effort we continue to work toward. We knew that we had access to a pool of individuals that we were missing the mark on and could immediately fix. That is how we started brainstorming around what would become “Friend of the WBC.”

We Collaborated to Remove Barriers:  We worked to be more inclusive within our non-profit demographic. The WBC is known for our Adopted Non-Profit initiative where we partner with a non-profit organization in our region annually to help them raise awareness about their cause. Part of the benefit of being an Adopted Non-Profit partner is that you receive two complimentary tickets to each WBC program. We knew we could take this a step further, and through the power of collaboration, gain support to provide funding for more non-profit partners and their clients they serve to attend our programming, programming that is aimed at providing opportunity and education for women in business. We were halfway there, we had a plan in place to find individual “sponsors” to purchase tickets to eliminate the expense of our programming and enable 10 non-profit organizations and/or clients to attend each of our programs throughout the year as “Friends of the WBC.” We had a plan in place to provide these women access to professional business attire and to have WBC mentors greet these women and make them feel as comfortable as possible during events.

 We Conducted Research:  Initially, we were thinking of all of the ways this new initiative could benefit women in transition, women that were perhaps part of the services that some of our non-profit partners like the YWCA-GCR, Women’s Employment Resource Center (WERC), Mission Accomplished Transition Services, Schenectady City Mission, St. Paul’s Center, HATAS and beyond offer. We knew we could offer them access to networking, education and opportunity, but on the other side of the coin, we knew there would be barriers that we would have to address to make this fully accessible and comfortable.

That is when we invited Mike Saccocio, Executive Director/CEO of Schenectady City Mission in to review our thoughts. Mike addressed what we all needed to hear that morning and he flipped our thought process upside down. He said something along the lines of, “Stop thinking about how you will benefit them, and start thinking about how they will benefit you.” Our intentions were good, but I can tell you firsthand, I’m certain that the WBC has learned more from our “Friends of the WBC” than they have learned from us. These women (and men) have wisdom, perseverance, and strength beyond measure. Mike walked us through an exercise his team conducts with clients at the City Mission. They draw their “current state” and then they draw their “future state” and envision how their life can look ahead with the right support system, goals, and opportunities. That day, the WBC envisioned our future state and “The Friend of the WBC” came to life.

We Delivered:  Since 2016, we have had nearly 100 “Friends of the WBC” attend our programming. Tickets have been funded by the generosity of our WBC Steering Committee members and our networks. Women have shared with us that our programming gave them the courage to update their resume and start their job search. Other women have reported back that they are starting to take steps to move back into the workforce due to connections they made at our programming. Others have said simply, thank you for giving me this chance.

Our Mission:  The Friend of the Women’s Business Council (WBC) came from a place of wanting to reach out to, be more inclusive of and empower more women in the Capital Region. We recognize that not everyone can afford or access WBC programming- programming that is designed to inform, inspire and empower women in our community. The Friend of the WBC effort allows individuals and organizations to sponsor women motivated to move their careers to the next step, and thus remove a barrier for women who may not easily be able to access WBC programs.

We Want You! We share this with you in hopes that you too may want to partner with us to lift other women up through the Women’s Business Council! If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact me directly! Thank you for your kind heart and support along this journey.

CAP COM Cares Foundation to award $80,000 in scholarship

From the desk of Amanda Goyer, Director of Community Engagement

CAP COM Federal Credit Union has opened its 2019 Scholarship & Awards application and nomination period. Each year, CAP COM’s charitable giving arm, the CAP COM Cares Foundation, donates nearly $80,000 in scholarships and awards. CAP COM will recognize educators in addition to over 30 student honorees.

CAP COM takes pride in awarding a variety of scholarships based on eligibility and interests. The most popular, the $2,500 Legacy Scholarship, will be awarded to 25 high school seniors pursuing an undergraduate degree. The Legacy Scholarships honor Weidner “Ed” Davis, who was a founding father of CAP COM; Tony Celeste, who is remembered with this tribute from his family; and Paula Stopera, longstanding President/CEO of CAP COM. The $2,000 Art Goedeke Memorial Scholarship, named after a long-time CAP COM FCU Board Member, will be awarded to a student studying computer science or information technology. The CAP COM Cares Foundation will also acknowledge three educators and six students with the Making a Difference Award to those who go above and beyond to help others in the community and classroom.

“With the rising cost of college tuition and budget cuts that schools face, it’s our privilege to lift our community by offering financial assistance in the form of scholarships and awards for those who display drive and passion toward their educational endeavors. We are thrilled to not only honor our students but also educators who make such a tremendous, positive impact in the lives of others!” said Paula A.Stopera, President/CEO of CAP COM FCU and Chair of CAP COM Cares Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Application and nomination forms are available at www.capcomfcu.org/scholarships. The deadline for submitting applications is May 1, and winners will be recognized and awarded at CAP COM’s Annual Scholarship & Award breakfast in June.


cap comPhotographed above are CAP COM Cares Foundation’s 2019 Scholarship & Award honorees.

CAP COM Federal Credit Union is a member-owned financial institution based in the New York’s Capital Region with more than $1.75 billion in assets and 11 branch locations. The credit union is member-driven and focused on superior service, convenient products and competitive rates that help members save money and make life just a little easier. CAP COM offers all the products and services you’d find at a typical financial institution. Visit http://www.capcomfcu.org to find out more. Federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. Equal Housing Lender.
CAP COM Cares Foundation was established by CAP COM Federal Credit Union in 2003 to nurture the community by supporting health and wellness programs; financial literacy and education initiatives; and causes that assist underprivileged families. Since inception, the Foundation has donated over $4 million and over 35,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of organizations in the Capital Region. The CAP COM Cares Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Tax ID # 54-2071140.