5 ways to stand out during your next Zoom call

When thinking of the term “self-promotion,” it often conjures thoughts of shamelessly plugging your accomplishments to the point of being obnoxious. But what it really means is highlighting your skills in a way that adds value to any conversation you’re in. In today’s virtual work landscape, this is especially important. Attempting to stay afloat, nonetheless thrive in a sea of Zoom meetings can be difficult if you’re unprepared. Here are a few ways that you can stand out during your next virtual call.

1. Use screen share to start meeting with on-screen empathetic ice breaker questions

According to one study by German academics, findings showed that delays on phone or conferencing systems shaped our views of people negatively: even delays of 1.2 seconds made people perceive the responder as less friendly, focused and more tired. Injecting small doses of empathy into work meetings can really help fight the effects of mental fatigue, and make you a memorable participant.

2. Share screen and use annotation tools for more a collaborative Zoom session

We’re all finding it a bit of a challenge to remain engaged as a remote team and compel them to stay away from their “video-off” and “mute” buttons during times where input is encouraged. Use this to your advantage. A big way to not only keep people involved but also set yourself apart from the rest of the team is to screen share, which allows the host of a call to display whatever’s on their screen to everyone else on the call. Annotation tools let the meeting participants write, doodle and highlight what’s on the screen, which can help amplify visual materials, presentations, brand concepts, etc.

According to Zoom’s user guide, to annotate while viewing someone else’s shared screen, select View Option from the top of the Zoom window, and then choose Annotate. A toolbar appears with all your options for annotating, including text, draw, arrow, and so forth. The presenter can use the save button on the toolbar to capture the complete image with annotations as a screenshot. You can also disable attendee annotation altogether.

3. Change your Zoom background

Many of us have discovered a cool setting that transforms your workspace to pretty much anything you can imagine, even an embarrassing (but work-appropriate) photo of yourself that will help break up the monotony and heaviness of marathon Zoom meetings.

4. Send a handy Zoom keyboard shortcut guide in the meeting calendar invite or during the call

At this point, most of us are using Zoom multiple times a day. But a lot of us probably didn’t realize that there are a couple of keyboard shortcuts worth knowing that will save us all some time. Your boss will definitely take note of your helpfulness.

  • I is for invite. Press Cmd+I (macOS) or Alt+I (Windows) to jump to the Invite window, where you can grab the link to the meeting or send invitations to others via email.
  • M is for mute. Press Cmd+Ctrl+M (macOS) or Alt+M (Windows) when you are the meeting host and want to mute everyone else on the line.
  • S is for share. Press Cmd+Shift+S (macOS) or Alt+Shift+S (Windows) to share your screen.

5. Use Assertive Language

If you are not assertive in your weekly one-hour Zoom meeting every week, your actual or perceived productivity level the rest of the week may suffer.
Being more assertive and comfortable in that setting is imperative to your overall success. But how do you do that, exactly? Speak up, and quickly. If you often find yourself waiting to find the right time to chime in and that time never seems to arrive, try to be the first to speak.

Speaking right away is especially useful if the meeting doesn’t have a formal agenda, or if the agenda isn’t being closely followed. Also, try to refrain from using self-minimizing language. For example, using “just” in phrases is a big implication of weakness. Instead, say what you mean and what you say, no “just” needed. Also, try to stay away from using a passive voice when speaking, i.e. placing yourself at the end of the statement. For example, “There’s a new idea I’d like to run by you all,” isn’t very strong. “I have an idea I want to run by you,” definitely makes more impact and commands a bit more respect.

We hope these tips help you rock your next meeting, even when sitting in front of a screen.