Zoom hacks from local professionals: tips and tricks for better video conferencing



Although Zoom has become a daily necessity for doing business, many still find video conferencing feel awkward and unnatural. We asked some Twin Cities professionals to share what they learned: tips, tricks, and tricks that could help make your next Zoom meeting a little more accurate.

Chris Preston, CCO and partner at Preston Kelly:

  • Don’t trust Zoom to play your videos. Submit a Vimeo link separately. You may have to have customers play it on their screens to get the quality you are looking for.
  • If you are working with two monitors, remember to put your meeting on the screen with your camera. I have been to many Zoom meetings where people seem to be watching you. It is strangely puzzling and it seems like they are not paying attention.
  • Resist the urge to download the exciting interplanetary backgrounds Zoom offers. It’s good for a smile, but the digital buzz around your head quickly becomes annoying.
  • And of course, don’t listen to people tell you to try a Zoom meeting without wearing pants. A hot coffee spill could end your career. Or worse.

Liz Giorgi, CEO and Co-Founder of soona:

    • If you’re in leadership, try starting your meetings with an icebreaker or some traditional office pranks so that people can have that communal vibe that is so strangely lost. Here are some recent questions we started our last meetings with: What’s your emoji spirit? Which Internet video makes you laugh the most?

Fatima Olive, freelance makeup artist and beauty expert:

  • Set up your computer in front of the window so that your face receives natural light, which is the most flattering type of light. “

John Morioka, CMO of OMG (O’Neill Marketing Group):

  • Document sharing has been incredibly helpful in ensuring that video meetings run smoothly and that there are strong actions and conclusions from our video meetings.

Alexis Walsko, founder and owner of Lola Red:

  • You can improve your appearance and look with an airbrush. Just click the “improve my appearance” button in the video options.
  • Use Zoom to maintain team culture. Our group hosts a 15-minute “positivity break” every morning and we invite friends and customers from the industry to join.

Twila Dang, Founder and CEO of Matriarch Digital Media:

  • Do not sign up for a Zoom account through another source (Google, Facebook, etc.). Use a secure email and password, best for your safety.
  • Ask ahead of time if it’s okay to record the call. Different companies may have different policies. And people should have the right to choose to participate or not.
  • Mute the microphones and only activate silence when you speak; eliminates some of the screen skipping caused by sound / noise.
  • Use laptops / phone computers / tablets. Allows better display control and access to chat functions.

Jodie Pundsack, co-founder and creative strategist at Gaslight Creative:

  • We just noticed that there is an option to change the background image in the preferences. We plan to have a little fun with this at our happy hour agency tonight. I heard that having a green screen is best, but if your OX is up to date it will try to compensate without a green screen and will only use a depth-of-field technique. ”

Eliesa Johnson, photographer and founder of Rivets and Roses and The Restaurant Project:

  • Try staying in a room that doesn’t echo and mute yourself while other people are talking. Makes a clearer sound. Also a well-lit room will make you feel prettier!

Casey Shultz, CEO of Beta.MN:

  • Let people start your meeting without you. When scheduling a meeting under “advanced options” click “enable join before host”. This allows meeting participants to start Zoom without you, which is great if you’re a little late.
  • Enable group rooms: Zoom allows you to create up to 50 group rooms within a meeting; This is great if you want to move people into smaller discussion groups and then bring them back to the main meeting.

Betsy Vohs, founder and CEO of Studio BV:

  • Try to get a good camera, not the one on your computer. Some video cameras include Instagram filters that you can use.
  • Make sure you have a good ergonomic chair.
  • Try video chatting with other people whenever you can to stay connected.
  • Surround yourself with things that inspire you: art, a Himalayan salt lamp, or burning a candle.

Laura Roos, founder of Minny & Paul:

  • If there are pets or children in your life that can create a nuisance during a call, mention the potential inconveniences from the beginning and communicate this to your team or client. Simply saying, for example, “Hello everyone, my dogs are joining me in the background today, so I apologize in advance for any barking.” That way, if it happens and when it happens, everyone knows what is happening and where it is coming from, and it is likely to be silent. We can all relate, especially now when the kids are home after daycare and everyone is discovering this new normal.

Greg Swan, director of digital, social and innovation at Fallon:

  • Plan ahead so that your emails and text messages don’t sound during the meeting.
  • Provide Non-Verbal Comments: There is nothing worse than talking to boring people. Learn to nod and laugh and give your peers the feeling that you are paying attention.
  • Try better not to click outside of Zoom and work on other things. Take notes on paper, and if you need to look at your cell phone, hold it out of the frame so it doesn’t distract you.

For more Swan tips, check out his blog post today, Tag and Tips for Being on Camera All Day.

This article is reproduced in association with Twin Cities Business.