In 2020, we experienced significant changes in our lives: how we live, how we work and how we educate.

Although Zoom has been around for year, it is only recently that is has become a common way to do business. We all needed to ‘learn’ how to meet virtually.

Here are some helpful suggestions for meeting online:

  1. Arrival – Always arrive to the meeting at least 5-10 minutes before the meeting start time to test your audio and video. Meetings should start at the designated meeting time.
  2. Attire – Wear professional clothing as you would for any in-person meeting or court appearance. Although videoconferencing may seem informal, we should always adhere to the usual formalities as we would if we were in person unless otherwise permitted by the host. Please do not wear hats or sunglasses unless for medical reasons.
  3. Audio – If possible, use either a headset, earphones or a microphone rather than your computer or device audio. This will improve both the clarity of your voice and the voice of others you are listening to.
  4. Away – If you need to step away from the meeting or divert your attention away from the screen, please stop your video and mute your microphone.
  5. Background – A solid background or a virtual background are ideal settings. If you are using a virtual background, please be certain that it is appropriate. If using Zoom in a “virtual court” or business meeting for example, please select a background keeping in mind that you are in a professional setting. Consider installing a green screen, backdrop or wallpaper that does not look “busy”.
  6. Body Language / Facial Expressions – Control your body language and facial expressions as they can be a distraction to the host and participants. If disagree with what is being said, make a note of it and when it is your turn to speak, address the issue or concern at that time.
  7. Chat – The chat feature is a great tool to use during videoconferences if you have a question or wish to send a message or link to either everyone or a particular participant. If you chat privately with a participant, always verify that you have selected the correct participant before sending your message. Please do not chat during the entire meeting.
  8. Confidentiality / Document Storage – Be certain that you have stored confidential documents or information that may normally be located behind you or within range of the camera’s angle. You may wish to store away any family photos if you are concerned about your family’s privacy.
  9. Distractions – Do not use your cell phone during a Zoom meeting or do other work. Remember that everyone can see you at all times unless you stop your video.
  10. Food and Beverage – Try to avoid drinking or eating during the videoconference as you would in any in-person meeting or in a court setting. Please do not chew gum.
  11. Hand-held Devices – If you are using a cell phone or tablet, please ensure they are on a stable surface or stand to minimize the distortion level of your video.
  12. Lighting – Do not sit with a source of light behind you (window, lamp, etc.) If the window is not covered, your face may appear dark and can affect your ability to be seen clearly by other participants.
  13. Mute – Always remain on mute unless it is your turn to speak. Noisy backgrounds make it difficult for participants to hear the host or presenter and are very distracting.
  14. Notifications / Sounds – Turn off or disable your computer and device notifications and Sounds or shut down all.
  15. Screen Sharing – If you intend to share your screen, please close all documents, applications and programs you do not wish to share with participants. Verify that the document or window you wish to share is the correct one before you click “share”.
  16. Speak – If you wish to speak, either use the “raise hand” feature in the toolbar under the “Participants” tab or raise your hand until the host acknowledges your request to speak.
  17. Video – Position your camera so that you are situated at the center of the frame and the top of your head is as close to the top of the screen as possible. Do not position your camera too close to your face and ensure that the camera is at the correct angle (30/45 degree angle). The camera should be looking at you, not looking up at you.