We’re now more than a month into 2021, and on day two-million of the COVID-19 crisis, so you’d think we would have this Zoom thing figured out by now. But as we’ve learned from the internet time and time again, where there is something simple, there will always be someone there to make it look incredibly difficult. In light of that, here are some common mistakes people are still making on Zoom and how to fix them.
- Staring at your screen. Your box on the screen isn’t supposed to be used as a dedicated mirror. What you should be doing while you’re talking via Zoom is looking into your camera. The Director of Speaker Coaching for TED Briar Goldberg says this is the only way you can make eye contact with your virtual audience and “if you want your audience to remain engaged and attentive, you’ll need to sacrifice your own desire to look at their faces.”
- Vocal monotony. Would you listen to a podcast or audiobook with someone that’s completely monotone? No? Then why would you expect your Zoom audience to pay attention to you if you’re speaking that way? Goldberg recommends doing at least one run-through of your speeches before turning on your mic so the words feel more comfortable to you and it just might inspire you to add some pitch, volume, or inflection to your voice.
- Distracting background. You may think the bookshelf behind you makes you look smart, but all those titles are simply giving people more of a reason not to listen to you. But then again, sitting with a blank wall behind you isn’t a good move either. Try to find a spot in your house that’s a happy middle ground between overstimulating and boring AF.