How to Not be Socially Awkward at Zoom

How to Not be Socially Awkward at Zoom
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Everyone is using Zoom, whether it is for work or for personal reasons. COVID-19 has encouraged social distancing, however, video and audio chat has made it easy for us to stay in touch with our loved ones, co-workers and clients and continue to maintain relationships with face-to-face interaction.

Although we love Zoom and are extremely grateful for the opportunity to connect with people via video chat, it is not always the most comfortable form of communication.

Let’s face it, a great portion of us do not love using Zoom, GoToMeeting or other teleconferencing solutions. At times they can be clunky, confusing and awkward. However, we would like to share some tips that we have built over the years of video and audio conferences.

Setup a Professional Setting

First and foremost is the setting in which you are choosing to do your video or audio chat. Consider the background noise, the comfort of your seating position, and the lighting.

If you have kids or animals at home, ensure that your video or audio chat is not taking place near them. You want to provide a quiet environment for yourself and your audience.

We highly recommend getting a desk to sit at, even if it is in your bedroom or living room. Having a comfortable seat will allow you to have proper positioning. This will not only be beneficial during your meeting, but it will also help in the long run with posture.

Lighting is extremely critical. If you can be in front of a window with natural light, that is your best possible option. If not, then soft light from a more downward angle is recommended. You want your audience to be able to see all of you, without shadows invading your space or the sun causing a glare.

With all of us working from home at this point in time, having a nice setting during your audio and video calls will truly set the tone of your day. Be sure to remove all clutter, add a plant or two, and give it some personality. Although this is temporary for many of us, we do not know how long it will last and it will play a huge role in our work lives until further notice. Do your best to provide yourself and your audience with a setting that is comfortable for all.

When considering your setting for your at-home workspace, we recommend these tips for better zooming from our friends over at Storyworkz. This is where you can learn more about lighting and setup for your video conference calls.

Don’t be the Cheese that Stands Alone

Not many people like being on camera, but if you are looking to build any kind of long term relationship or maintain an existing one, you absolutely need to get on camera. This will allow for a much deeper connection and clearer communication during your meeting.

Equally, when on camera, do not be the one that is looking off to the side of the entire meeting. This is the equivalent of having zero eye contact for an entire conversation and will reduce trust.

Quality Equipment

Invest in a decent headset and if possible, a separate webcam besides the one built into your laptop. The built-in mic and video cameras on laptops are typically awful. It makes it difficult to understand. 

Typically it sounds like you are underwater and does not come off as professional. Even just the earbuds that come with most iPhones are far better quality for mic as well as sound, and will also remove any potential of an echo effect from your speakers.

Research the Attendees

Do your homework and research the attendees a bit ahead of time so you can have some items for discussion beyond the direct work at hand. 

Connect with them on LinkedIn and Facebook beforehand and not only will you possibly find something out about them, but they can also then follow you after the conversation.

Sales Ice Breakers & Relationship Builders

  1. Compliment early and often - everyone likes to be complimented and this could be as small as noticing a piece of jewelry they are wearing, their attire, or possibly a photo or design element behind them in their location.
  2. Ask what they like to do for fun - this helps build potential common connections as well as things to bring up in future conversations.
  3. Ask what their biggest struggle is - this shows that you actually care about their needs and you can go above and beyond and possibly find a future solution to their problem. Even if it is totally unrelated to their project.
  4. Ask what makes them decide to do what they do - this will likely get them to start a story and really open up, allowing you to learn more about them.

Bathroom & Hydration

These two go hand-in-hand. Make sure to have a nice amount of water on your desk so you can grab a drink without interrupting the meeting.

On that note, make sure to make a visit to the bathroom before the meeting, for the same reason.

You will be far more comfortable during the meeting.

Final Thoughts & Words

With all of this said, don’t over-prepare. You will just further psych yourself out.

We hope that you found one small piece of value in these suggestions and that it will make your next Zoom call a little less awkward.

What are some of your tips and tricks to better Zoom meetings?

We would love to hear about them. Please send them to our Founder, Mike Lannen at and if he likes what he sees, we will update this post and source the tip to your website for credit.

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