In the last six months, Zoom has become one of the most widely used virtual meeting apps. The chief reason is that it is extremely user friendly.
Compared to other similar applications, the learning curve is almost nonexistent. However, that does not mean you can host a meeting without investing some time preparing to use Zoom.
If you take the time to do a few simple things, you will make the participants’ experience much move beneficial. Just as helpful, you will reduce your stress and the potential embarrassment of something going wrong while the meeting is in progress.
If you are a leader, you can probably delegate the technical details of running Zoom to someone else. Nevertheless, you will still benefit if you learn to run it.
When something goes wrong technologically, you will raise yourself in your associates’ eyes if you can step in and correct the problem. That is especially true for those who are part of Gen X and Gen Y. They have never known a non-digital world.
What do you need to do to prepare? Only two steps!
First, master the technology.
For years, meetings have been delayed or derailed because the person running the technology did not know how to make it work. I have seen this happen in businesses of all sizes. I imagine you have too.
I vividly remember working for a Fortune 500 defense organization. They primarily put the “smart” in what we call “smart bombs.” I was in Washington, DC, to present leadership and interpersonal skills to some senior executives.
It was embarrassing and frustrating for those leaders to wait impatiently for over 40-minutes until their tech people were able to make their own equipment work.
That can happen to anyone, but you significantly reduce the likelihood if you master the technology.
Mastering technology means two things: First, we need to know how it works. Second, we need to experiment with it enough to become comfortable using it.
Mercifully, the Zoom people have provided dozens of brief videos and well-written articles with the information you need. The time to explore this information will not take long. We need to give ourselves time in advance to do that.
Knowing how to use Zoom or any other platform is only half the challenge. We need to cultivate the skill of using it to the point that it becomes second nature.
Most of the problems we will run into with Zoom are operator errors, not the software’s fault.
Set aside more time to practice or rehearse using it.
If we don’t, the technology that is intended to make life easier can be the thing that complicates it.
Second, ensure the technology is working before the meeting.
I have often quipped with clients in the sort of situation I described above, “If you don’t believe in demons, you have never worked with technology.” Just because everything was working yesterday, you cannot depend on it working today.
Schedule time in advance the day of the meeting to ensure Zoom, or whatever technology you are using, is working correctly. Allow yourself time to troubleshoot if it is not.
When you are confident of your ability to use the technology, how can you increase the likelihood that the participants will be engaged? Several things will help, and we will look at those in a future blog.
For now, facilitating a seamless virtual meeting is a skill that we expect of our leaders, young and old.
Fortunately, you can provide such an experience if you:
First, master the technology before the time of the meeting.
Second, ensure the technology is working at the time of the meeting.
Be safe and courageous,
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