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/

Voices in the Crowd

Some ladies from the GE Women’s Network at Tee Marie Hanible on Friday

It was great to see the women from GE stand up in the beginning of the event. The GE Women’s Network is impressive in size and we are lucky to have you as part of the WBC.

“Do it scared,” is what Tee Marie said during her talk. “Do it even if your voice shakes.” And, “this life is it, be the first one to stand up.” I love these simple words. They apply across all areas of life.

Members of the WBC, what did you think of Tee Marie’s messages?