Zoom Web Conferencing is one of the easiest ways for The New School community to connect and communicate online. To help guarantee that your meetings and conferences are as effective and pleasant as possible, we’ve prepared a few simple video conferencing etiquette and best practice tips.

General Zoom Tips:

Ensure the Best Location

Make sure you’re located somewhere with good and consistent internet coverage. Having a stable connection is especially important if you intend on starting more bandwidth-intensive activities such as sharing videos and screens.

Check Your Background & Surroundings

On Zoom, you present more than just yourself. Unlike in a typical classroom or workplace setting, your surroundings matter. Know what’s filling your screen and what kind of message you want to send to those in the meeting. If you’re not sure, the safest and most professional is to sit in front of a plain wall. Feeling fancy? Choose a virtual background.

Inspect Your Equipment & Settings

Be sure to check all equipment and settings beforehand, to ensure that you don’t waste valuable meeting time making adjustments.

Establish Clear Audio Communication

Often one of the most overlooked elements of video conferencing is audio quality. Laptop microphones can have poor audio fidelity, so it is best to use an external microphone, a headset with a mic, or a phone to make sure all communication comes in loud and clear.

Center Yourself

With regard to video, you should aim to be in the center of the frame, and don’t forget about adequate lighting. Enabling video in Zoom and clearly showing your face demonstrates attentiveness.

Utilize the Zoom Collaborative Features

Zoom offers a variety of collaborative features to enhance remote learning, working, and teaching. Some of the most useful features include breakout rooms, whiteboard, screen-sharing, nonverbal feedback and local recording.

Tips for the Presenter:

Get to the Zoom Meeting Early

Arriving early will give you extra time to sort out any technical difficulties and, if you’re not the meeting host, be sure to email them beforehand if you have a slideshow or presentation you plan on showing via screen-sharing.

Be Prepared

Although giving a presentation digitally can be less nerve wracking than in person, it’s always a good idea to be as prepared as possible. Knowing your material will make you feel ready and more confident. Your attendees will also benefit as you will be able to answer questions more efficiently and keep the discussion more lively.

Select a Co-Host

A co-host can help you moderate the discussion. Designate someone who can perform the role of the “Stack keeper” (keeping track of the order of raised hands). Not only is this a great way to fully focus on the meeting, but also makes the participants feel more engaged.

Use the Chat Feature

Don’t be afraid to utilize the chat feature during the meeting and be sure to check it often. Chat allows people who are less likely to speak up to also participate in the discussion. It can be a great way to create a safe environment and make everyone feel more comfortable.

Read the Room via Meeting Polls

In addition to the chat feature, creating a poll before and/or during a meeting is another great engagement tool. Polling allows you to quickly and easily learn more about your attendees.

Tips for the Attendee:

Mute Audio

Keep your audio muted when you’re not talking. This will help reduce background noise and increase the quality of sound for the presenter. To do this, click on the “Mute Microphone” icon on the bottom left corner of your screen.

Prepare Questions

Whether you’re in an in-person or digital meeting, preparing questions shows your interest, dedication, and enthusiasm, and it helps to keep the conversation going.

Avoid Being Disruptive

If you don’t want to disrupt the flow of a presentation, type your question into the chat. It will also signal the presenter to address your question and let them know that you’re paying attention. Also, feel free to chat privately with other attendees if you have any other questions/concerns.

Keep Your Camera On … Most of the Time

To increase engagement and quality of a digital lecture, keep your camera on. It not only makes others feel like they’re part of a community, but also assures the presenter that they’re not talking into the void. However, if you’re moving around or step out of the frame, it’s a good idea to turn your camera off temporarily so as not to cause a distraction.

Use Zoom Reactions

Show you’re being attentive by using zoom reactions, in the form of an emoji. You can do this by clicking on the Reactions in the meeting controls panel. This is an easy way to let the presenter know you are paying attention without causing cross talk. You can also change the skin tone of your emoticon by going to Settings > General > Reaction Skin Tone.

Tech Tips for Zoom:

I is for INVITE

To jump to the Invite window where you can copy the invite link or send invites via email, press -- Cmd+I on macOS or Alt+I on Windows.

M is for MUTE

As a host you can mute everyone by pressing -- Cmd+Ctrl+M on macOS or Alt+M on Windows.

S is for SHARE

To share your screen, press -- Cmd+Shift+S on macOS or Alt+Shift+S on Windows.