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How to take the gloom out of Zoom

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Feeling some Zoom-related dread? Here are 5 tips to make the most of your next Zoom meeting.

Two women in a Zoom meeting representing mentors.

Zoom meetings: The perfect way to bring the boredom of an office meeting into the living room you haven’t left for six months. Don’t get me wrong, those of us who can work remotely are certainly very lucky to be able to do so… but that doesn’t change the fact that nearly every “Zoom meeting” seems to combine the worst parts of work and video chat.

Seriously, Zoom fatigue is real, y’all.

Unfortunately, Zoom meetings aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, the impromptu experiment in remote work caused by COVID-19 might actually be pushing many businesses towards a more permanent remote model, even after the health risks abate. This is why we’re sharing 5 tips for making Zoom meetings more bearable:

1. Cut back on video

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Part of what can be exhausting about Zoom calls is the pressure to perform. In person, there are plenty of focus points, but when a close-up of your face is plastered on a screen for everyone to see, it’s only natural to try to keep up appearances. Not to mention, when you present at an in-person meeting, you don’t have to watch a reflection of yourself the entire time.

And to make matters worse, it looks like the number of meetings has actually increased since remote work began in March.

With that in mind, it’s worth considering where to cut back. Can your Zoom meeting agenda be communicated through an email? Perfect. If not, can it be done over voice chat instead of video? Voice chat meetings are especially useful when there’s a presentation – not only do people already have something to focus on, they don’t have to be distracted by their co-workers (or themselves.)

2. Help yourself get comfortable on camera

No, I don’t mean wear pajamas (though really, I’ve been loving the new “sweatpants at work” development). Instead, there are things you can do to help make being on camera more enjoyable. Or, at the very least, less of a struggle.

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If you feel self-conscious about how you look on camera, try dressing up! You can actually feel better on and off camera by making it a routine to dress nicely. Or take it further with these tips for looking good on Zoom meetings. Feeling confident about your appearance on camera will help make Zoom calls more bearable.

3. Make notes

One perk of Zoom meetings is that you can set up notes to make presenting and interacting easier than ever! For example, take advantage of the Sticky Notes app to prep talking points before the meeting and pull them up when it’s your turn to speak. It can help draw your attention away from watching yourself talk (which still feels weird, six months later), and help you if you’re distracted from the dozen or so faces on screen at any given moment.

Plus, not only does taking notes during the meeting give you something to do instead of worrying about potentially performing for the camera, you also have helpful meeting notes at the end of it!

4. Don’t sweat the pets

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Our furry friends have quickly become our new co-workers and in the wake of this new normal, so we should embrace this! Showing off pets can be a great way to bond with co-workers or clients. Sure, your cat probably shouldn’t be camped out on your keyboard, but nothing livens up a tired afternoon meeting quite like a cameo from your fluffiest coworker.

5. Have some fun

Working remotely might mean we lost the commute, but we also lost precious in-person interactions like water-cooler chats and lunch time hangouts. Breaks like these don’t just build connections between coworkers, but can also increase creativity, productivity, and mental health.

So make some time for fun! Play games, enjoy zany activities (like this virtual zoo!), invite guest speakers, or even just chat about your weekend. Human connection is more important than ever.

Zoom meetings don’t have to be the worst part of your day. Let us know how you’ve been making meetings better!

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Brittany is a Staff Writer for The American Genius with a Master's in Media Studies under her belt. When she's not writing or analyzing the educational potential of video games, she's probably baking.

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