One could say many things about the year 2020 but let’s focus on one positive item that has come out of this unique year. The widely accepted use of Zoom video conferences for Association Board Meetings has turned out to be very successful.

Throughout our 135+ Associations, we have seen increased attendance and participation in open Board meetings. The addition of this has allowed owners who might be traveling or who don’t live at the property to easily participate. Owners now don’t have to rush home from the office to join a meeting. We have received many compliments on how smoothly Zoom meetings can run. We see the trend of virtual open Board meetings continuing into 2021 and beyond.

While many of you have been participating in Zoom meetings for your Association, work, school or just to see friends and family, it is always nice to hear some proper etiquette techniques for how to participate in a Zoom meeting.

We hope you find the following techniques useful and we look forward to seeing many of you at your upcoming Board meetings:

1. Mute Yourself When Not Speaking

Even though you may not be speaking and think you are being quiet, most microphones can pick up minor background noises such as coughs, sneezes, or typing. These sounds can easily distract other video conferencing participants and potentially even annoy.

2. Be on Time

This one should be standard with any meeting, video or otherwise. However, when you are dialing into a video conference, it is especially important. While you might be able to get away with sneaking into a physical meeting late, everything is more visible in a video conference.

Additionally, when you’re on time for a meeting, it’ll make getting set up with technology easier and less painless so the meeting can start on time.

3. Ensure Your Technology Works Correctly

You don’t want to have to delay a meeting because your video conferencing system isn’t working properly. Find someone willing to help, and make sure you understand the process fully before starting your first video conference. This will ensure everything runs smoothly during the real thing.

4. Use Technology Fully and Join by Video

Whenever possible always join by video and not just by phone. It is nice to see everyone’s faces when participating in a meeting. Plus it is easier to identify who is speaking. Video conferences work better than conference calls and when people are on the video, they are more likely to pay attention and participate.

When you join by video and not just dialing in you will also be able to see shared documents the meeting host might be using on the screen.

5. Name Your Account Accordingly

When you join the meeting make sure your name appears appropriately. If you are using someone else’s account please make sure to change the name. You might want to put your unit number or address next to your name so your fellow members get to know you. If you are dialing in please make sure to identify yourself so the host can rename your screen.

Also please feel free to add what pronouns you would like to be addressed by to make you comfortable. She/her/hers, He/him/his, or They/them/theirs.

6. Frame the Camera Correctly

We have all been on video calls where we end up looking up people’s nostrils or seeing the side of their face. When you’re on video, make sure you frame your camera in a way that feels natural and allows you to look at the camera. Sit at eye level to the lens, and try to position yourself so that it shows midsection up. Placing it too high leaves other participants staring down at you like a bad tv show. Putting a camera too low can lead to unflattering and awkward angles.

7. Have the Right Light

Poor lighting conditions have an enormous effect on the video quality that you send. You’ll want to make sure that there is enough light in the room you are in so that your video isn’t grainy and unwatchable. Try to not mix natural lighting and office lighting unless your office bulbs are daylight white. You also don’t want any faces being lit from below, as this makes you look like a cartoonish villain from a silent film. Lighting from the sides will make faces look the best, so try for that if you have the ability.

8. Look Into the Camera

A common mistake is looking at the video feed instead of the camera when speaking to a remote participant. While it may seem like the right thing to do, it actually makes it appear as if you’re looking off and not paying attention. This will make you come across as more aloof and less professional. Looking into the camera lens is the equivalent of looking into the person’s eyes, so practice doing so until you are comfortable with it.

9. Pay Attention

Stop checking emails or working during video conferences. Not only does research suggest only 3% of people can multitask effectively, but you also look rude to your participants.