Let’s be real. Zoom meetings can get a little awkward sometimes. It’s hard to maintain the same professional demeanor you’d present at the office when your kids barge in during an important meeting. Or your partner walks by in their underwear. Or maybe you just forgot you were on video and brought your laptop into the bathroom.
While we can’t help you recover from that kind of embarrassment, these tips will help you avoid some of the most common Zoom meeting mistakes. From incessant echo and hollow-sounding voices to distracting background noise and aggravating technical issues, we’ve got you covered.
1. Not Testing Your Equipment First
Even though you’re not meeting in person, it’s still important to respect everyone’s time. We’ve all been on calls where the host logs in five minutes late, then spends the next 15 minutes trying to get their equipment to work properly.
To save time and streamline your online meetings, set aside 5-10 minutes before you start your workday to test out your equipment. This allows you to make sure that your microphone and headphones are working properly, and that your camera feed looks presentable. It also provides you with time to prepare for the call and collect any assets or documents you may need.
The Yeti USB microphone is plug and play on Mac and PC, making it easy to capture crisp, clear sound in seconds.
2. Using Your Built-In Computer Microphone
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when joining a Zoom call is using your built-in computer microphone. Here’s why:
- In order to fit inside a laptop, built-in microphones must be incredibly compact, which limits frequency response and reduces sound quality.
- Onboard computer microphones pick up sound in a wide radius, which captures a lot of background noise. Not to mention the relentless clacking of your keyboard while you type.
- Because built-in laptop mics are typically located close to the built-in speakers, they often cause feedback issues or echo when others speak, forcing you to keep the volume very low.
To solve these issues, use a high-quality USB microphone like the Blue Yeti Nano or Snowball iCE. Blue USB microphones deliver crisp, clear sound that’s light-years ahead of your built-in computer microphone. And since they’re plug and play on Mac and PC, Blue microphones work seamlessly with your favorite programs, including Zoom, Skype, Slack and more.
3. Poor Mic Technique
Even if you have a great mic, you may still sound distant, distorted or hollow due to poor mic technique. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a trained audio technician to get great sound out of a Blue USB microphone. Here are a few simple tips you can follow to ensure clear, detailed sound in any setting:
- Place the mic six inches from your face and angle the capsule up toward your mouth. This will allow you to speak directly into the microphone without causing popping sounds or “plosives.”
- Use a cardioid pickup pattern to help reduce background noise. The cardioid setting picks up sound directly in front of the mic and rejects sound from the back and sides.
- Adjust your mic volume so you sound loud and clear, but never distorted. Use the level meter on your microphone to make sure your signal is close to the top of the meter, but never goes into the red or “clips.”
Yeti Nano features a one-push mute button for seamless communication.
4. Forgetting About the Mute Button
Group calls can get noisy, especially when a lot of people are logged on. To reduce noise, it’s best to stay muted unless you’re speaking. Not only does this make it easier to hear who’s speaking, it’s also less distracting for everyone else on the call.
But all too often, someone asks a question only to be greeted with 10 seconds of silence before asking, “Are you there?” Inevitably, the other person finally responds, “Sorry, I forgot I was muted!”
Most call apps feature a dedicated mute button, but it can really slow down the flow of communication if you have to mouse over to a specific window every time you want to speak. Yeti USB mics feature a convenient one-push mute button that makes it easy to quickly toggle the mute setting on and off for seamless communication.
5. Not Being Prepared or Paying Attention
If you’re the host, send a reminder before the call to ensure everyone is prepared. Better yet, set up a calendar invite with an automated reminder, and include the agenda in the invite so everyone knows what to expect.
Be sure to follow basic online meeting etiquette like arriving early, announcing yourself when you log on or before speaking, and dressing to impress for video calls. While you’re on the call, be sure to pay attention and take detailed notes—otherwise you’ll just have to schedule another meeting to clarify what you missed.
Follow these tips to avoid winding up on the front page of YouTube for another hilarious Zoom fail video! And for more info how to improve conference call audio, including the best mics, webcams and conference call software, check out our blog on How to Make Professional Sounding Conference Calls While Working From Home.