Virtual communication has become an integral part of our personal and professional lives, but many people still don’t understand how to attend a remote call properly.
While Zoom calls offer numerous advantages, we must be mindful of our gestures and body language during these virtual meetings, especially if we care about our careers.
In this article, we’ll explore 15 gestures to avoid on a Zoom call to ensure you make the right impression and maintain professionalism.
One of the most common mistakes people make during Zoom calls is multitasking. It’s tempting to check emails, scroll through social media, or work on other tasks while in a meeting. However, such behavior can make you appear disinterested and unengaged. To show respect and attentiveness, focus solely on the meeting.
Inadequate Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact is crucial in face-to-face communication, and it’s no different in the virtual world. Avoid looking at your own video feed or appearing distracted by your surroundings. Instead, look directly into the camera to create a sense of connection with your audience.
Overlooking Your Appearance
While remote work allows for a more relaxed dress code, it’s still vital to maintain a professional appearance. Dress appropriately for the nature of the meeting, as looking unkempt can signal a lack of professionalism. Remember that you never know when an impromptu meeting might pop up.
Excessive Hand Gestures
Using hand gestures can be a great way to emphasize points during an in-person conversation, but they can be distracting on Zoom. Excessive hand movements can make you appear anxious or unprepared. Minimize your gestures and focus on clear, concise verbal communication.
Poor lighting can obscure your facial expressions and make it challenging for others to see you clearly. To avoid this, ensure you have adequate lighting in your workspace. Natural light or well-placed lamps can significantly improve the quality of your video feed.
Interrupting or Talking Over Others
Interrupting others during a Zoom call is just as rude as in-person conversations. Be patient and allow your colleagues to finish speaking before you contribute. Interrupting can make you come across as disrespectful and uncooperative.
Neglecting Your Background
Zoom allows you to customize your background, but be cautious about your choices. A messy or inappropriate background can distract your colleagues and harm your professional image. Opt for a clean and unobtrusive backdrop.
Eating or Drinking Loudly
It’s acceptable to eat or drink during a Zoom call if necessary but do so quietly. Chomping on chips or slurping your coffee can be distracting and disrespectful to other participants. Mute your microphone if you need to consume food or beverages.
Not Muting Your Microphone
Muting your microphone when you’re not speaking is a basic courtesy during virtual meetings. Failing to do so can result in background noise disrupting the conversation. Ensure that your microphone is muted when you’re not actively contributing to the discussion.
Your gaze should be directed towards the camera, not wandering around the screen or off into the distance. An unfocused gaze can make you appear disinterested or detached from the meeting. Stay attentive and engaged by looking directly at the camera.
Overuse of Fillers
In virtual meetings, just as in face-to-face interactions, overusing fillers like “um,” “uh,” or “like” can be detrimental to your professional image. Practice speaking clearly and confidently to reduce the use of fillers, which can make you appear less certain and confident.
Negative Facial Expressions
Your facial expressions convey a lot about your attitude and engagement. Avoid frowning, rolling your eyes, or displaying negative emotions during a Zoom call, as these expressions can be distracting and detrimental to your professional relationships.
Distracting Background Noises
Background noises, such as barking dogs, honking horns, or loud conversations, can disrupt the flow of a Zoom call. Ensure you’re in a quiet and controlled environment, or use noise-canceling headphones to minimize disturbances.
Ignoring Chat and Reactions
Zoom offers features like chat and reactions that allow participants to engage more actively. Ignoring these tools can make you appear disengaged and uninterested in the discussion. Be responsive to chat messages and use reactions when appropriate.
Disregarding Meeting Etiquette
Lastly, always adhere to established meeting etiquette during Zoom calls. This includes arriving on time, staying until the end, and following the agenda. Disregarding these guidelines can reflect poorly on your professionalism and commitment.