Are You Zoom Ready?

We put together this handy guide for getting Zoom Ready because we’ve received so many questions about using Zoom effectively for meetings, book clubs, family gatherings and more! Whether you are new to world of remote work, or used to working from home, you have probably encountered Zoom, a communication tool for video conferencing and meetings. Zoom is free for meetings up to 40 minutes in length, and very affordable plans are available if your needs exceed the free plans.

Here are our best tips for getting Zoom Ready:

Be Prepared

  • Know your goals for the meeting
  • Prepare slides if needed
  • Have supporting documents, forms, slides, websites or resources set up and ready to show
  • Close other tabs on your browsers to avoid sharing things you don’t want to
  • Set clear expectations about when you will be able to answer questions and how you would like people to interact during the meeting
  • Document decisions and action items just like any other meeting

Be Present

  • Be on time or early (especially if you are the host)
  • Stay connected to the conversation emotionally
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Make time for small talk, create rapport
  • Showing your hands and using gestures builds trust (TEDx Talk)

Be Yourself

  • Speak naturally and enthusiastically as if you are in person with your audience
  • Make eye contact with the camera, not your image on the screen

Set the Scene

  • Set up your camera angle to shoot you from slightly above your eye level
  • Set up an attractive, high contrast background
  • If you have dark hair and clothing, choose a light background and vice versa
  • Clean up clutter and mess!
  • Avoid windows, mirrors or glass behind you which show unintentional glare or reflections

Set Up Flattering Lighting

  • A window or LED light in front of you work best
  • Overhead light can create dark shadows under your chin
  • Backlight from lamps, windows or other sources can outshine your face

Avoid Embarrassment

  • Don’t take your phone to the bathroom and other faux pas!
  • Don’t shout at anyone while your microphone and video are on
  • Try not to get up and walk around while you are on video
  • Set up in a room with a door and possibly a lock to avoid interruptions from children, spouses and pets

Prepare Your Gadgets

  • Strong internet connection to avoid delay or interruption (kick other people off streaming services while you are taking an important meeting)
  • Test that your audio is good

Get to Know Zoom Controls

  • Make sure you practice before your big meeting so that you understand mute and video on/off controls
  • Try Pinning/Unpinning the view you want to watch (either the speaker, a web page or slides)
  • Watch the chat to see if anyone has questions (it can help to have another person manage the chat for you when you are leading the meeting)
  • Test the record meeting settings so that you can tell when the meeting is being recorded (note, by default, any attendee can record the meeting unless you change the setting)
  • Change your Zoom Settings to meet your needs
    • Use HD
    • Enhance appearance
    • Manage screen sharing and whiteboard functions
    • Manage participants’ audio – mute all while the main presentation is going
    • Use a unique ID for large meetings
    • Require a password for your meeting
    • Leverage the waiting room feature (now default; click participants and admit all when you are ready to start the meeting)
  • Learn to start a meeting instantly and invite people
  • Learn to schedule a meeting
  • Learn to schedule a recurring meeting
  • Add a Chrome extension for adding a zoom link to G Suite Calendar invitations

Enjoy meeting with Zoom!

Let us know if you would add any other tips to this list.

Check out this list Work From Home Essentials from Steamwork


Every Company is a Tech Company

Get ready for a bold statement – every company that plans to survive to 2030 and beyond must come to terms that they ARE a technology company. Those who run tech companies already, I’m sure you already know this. But those of you who fear they aren’t tech-savvy or who downright resist improvement through technology are doomed unless you read on and take this message to heart.

Technology isn’t just an industry sector, it is a foundation for every industry. Just as you need other supporting functions of your business like finance, sales, marketing, human resources, etc., you must invest in technology that helps you gain efficiency in your business processes. It is your systems for getting things done that most likely need to be turned into software to speed up, standardize and distribute the core functions of your business so that they can be automated or streamlined when they are done by your team, vendors or customers.

Have you noticed that many companies are making their customers fill out forms online to create accounts? Most customer service is accessible online. Your account questions get answered on a website, app or automated phone system. Getting software to perform these routine tasks is allowing these companies to grow rapidly at a higher profit margin, so they will have more cash to grow. These companies have already discovered and acted on the bold statement that they are tech companies and have outsourced customer care functions to you! Most of the products and services you purchased to run your company in the past few years were probably sold to you online with limited human contact.

If you aren’t already automating, delegating and distributing your work through technology, your competitors are. Your customers expect an increase in the ease and speed of interacting with companies. The costs of doing business with them are having a great user experience, usually delivered through thoughtfully designed software.

Start your technology company revolution by identifying the functions of your business that take the most time and therefore cost the most. If you can invest in software projects that streamline those functions, you can cut costs and increase your profits.

Need help tackling the next phase of technology in your business? We can help you put together a dream team to turn your company into a company that is winning with technology in the next decade. Contact Us to Explore a Business Process Improvement Software Project.

Laura Berens, CEO Love & Fit

Connect with Laura –

Sponsored by Steamwork –

Laura Berens is Founder & CEO of Love and Fit, creator and host of the Time To Be You podcast, and a business consultant for women entrepreneurs.

With over 10 years of corporate experience, Laura has learned the true value of hard work. During her career in business development and sales, Laura became an expert in the fields of media and corporate wellness. The completion of her first NPC bodybuilding competition in 2012 marked the start of Laura’s passionate dive into the professional fitness world.

After becoming a mother, Laura discovered an untapped market which perfectly merged her expertise in fitness, business and love of helping women. Unsatisfied with the nursing sports bra options available on the market, she founded her own company, Love and Fit. Its mission: to provide functional and fashionable activewear options to help all women feel empowered, strong and fit.

Kelly Mirabella – What the Bot?

Connect with Kelly Mirabella at Stellar Media Marketing

Sponsored by Steamwork Center

Facebook chatbots are quickly becoming the hottest and most effective marketing tool on Facebook today! Not only are they hosted on the worlds most popular messaging app, Facebook Messenger which boasts over 1 Billion active users, but they are excellent for growing your business, your brand, your email list and cutting through the noise and the lousy Facebook algorithm. In this information-packed session, Kelly Noble Mirabella will teach you the basics of Chatbots. What are they? Why should you care? How can they help grow your business? Plus where to start TODAY when creating your first chatbot experience. All will be revealed and so much more!

With more than 11 years of social media marketing experience—and more than a few wacky costumes—Kelly brings tricky social media concepts to life through her fun, clear and memorable social media training videos and classes. Long before social media savvy was status quo, Kelly recognized how social media can take brand recognition, customer engagement and marketing efforts to a radical new level. What’s more, Kelly has spent the past two years learning to build Facebook messenger bots (aka “chatbots”), and now teaches others how to build them with simple, entertaining and,
sometimes, 80s-themed tutorials. Today, she teaches entrepreneurs, small business owners and working professionals how to use social media to improve their businesses and achieve their goals.

Kelly is known for her enthusiasm, creativity and passion for demystifying social media—not to mention her playful costumes and thematic presentations. Whether trying out Facebook Live or building your own chatbot, you can count on Kelly to guide you with skill and flair for totally stellar results.

Common networking mistakes…and how to fix them

If you are shoving cards in people’s hands and talking all about yourself, you are doing networking all wrong. Here’s some gentle reminders that will change everything for you!

You are inconsistent with networking

You show up to events occasionally, appear aloof, take only a shallow interest in getting to know others, and are more interested in collecting cards than connecting.

You don’t follow up after a networking event

I’d venture a guess that there is a huge pile of cards sitting on your desk that you haven’t even touched. If this is true, you are missing a huge opportunity and wasting a ton of time attending networking events.

Sending a quick note to everyone you meet with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook will keep you top of mind. This is not an opportunity to send over the full sales pitch…you are just starting a relationship.

You request and expect referrals right away

Business people with integrity who have spent years building up trust with clients and contacts will be wary if you ask them for referrals right away. You could be most valuable resource in the world, but building trust is still a process. Dedicate yourself to caring about the people you meet, offer to get to know them, find out how you can help and take action on that. When you give first (#givefirst), you are setting yourself up to receive abundantly.

You aren’t clear about what you do and what value you can add

Express what you do in a way that offers specific ways you can help a specific target client. This approach takes the pressure off the conversation and makes it clear what type of client would be a good fit for you.  The person you are talking to may not fit that profile, but when you are clear, you paint a vivid picture of who you need to meet very quickly. You never know who might pop to mind!

You can get better at networking!

Ask yourself, “How can I get to know the community first so that referrals flow in more easily?” Get involved with a community organization and share your talents freely. Work on becoming more visible as a leader who cares about connecting and helping others and you will be appreciated and noticed.

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