You are on mute
Nearly a year since we all jacked into the Zoom matrix and joined millions of ‘work-from-home’ telecommuters. Remember those days, when it was kinda cute and disarming when Phoebe from Marketing kept forgetting she was on mute and reported full quarter marketing figures before lifting her eyes to notice everyone pointing to their mouth.
A year on, our patience has worn thin, nerves are frayed and any friction on the call meets with irritated ‘you are on mute’ snarl.
Even Prince Harry noted in his recent Archwell podcast that ‘you are on mute’ must be one of the defining phrases of 2020’. Who knew the Prince is such a Zoom connoisseur?
By the way his new podcast is excellent, despite being recorded somewhere that resembles acoustics of a walk-in closet. Oh well, even the royals must be improvising during lockdowns.
Introverts on Zoom
Muffled or too quiet sound is my second bete noire of Zoom newbies. It may be that quite a few of my colleagues are shy and keep their voice low not to be seen hording the airtime. However, if we are discussing mission critical project, people really want to hear all the details, not just whatever wafts in my direction thru clogged up Zoom pipes. Get yourselves a pro mike like Blue Yeti, with the spec honed by generations of Twitch streamers – if it is good enough for them, it will be good enough for your average Zoom project meeting. Priced at around 100 pounds, this USB mic is worth every penny, double that for the shy types. It has cardoid mode, stereo mode, complete 4 modes, allowing you to use just for yourself, or if interviewing one person from the same studio, or a few people around the mic for more ambient sound. Order now.
A podcast star is born
For those who need to record for webinars for “Paid Events” for Zoom, it is worth considering going one up and investing in Shure MV & MOTIV Dynamic Podcast Microphone with voice isolation technology to get rid of any unwanted background noise. It comes in rugged black, at eye-watering £238 a pop, but it does the job. It delivers great vocal intelligibility with a nicely balanced soft tone. You will get a touch panel interface to give you more control over gain, as well as monitor mix and muting (Yes!). With adjustable yoke, you can mount it onto different flexi placements. It delivers that honey-smooth “radio” sound that makes you sound million dollars, so you can charge for the content with clear conscience.
Skype in space
Zoom still has an edge on Virtual Backgrounds, but Skype has joined the game with a selection of their own, just in time for Xmas. Some backgrounds can be so realistic with flickering Xmas tree behind the speaker, that you get a jolt when the speaker gets up and ghost-like walks thru the wall behind the tree. Others prefer space ambience, galloping horses or the usual bookcase game for creds. All in all, regardless of the video tool you use, the need to clean your office to hide messy desk is removed for ever.
Teams that game together stay together
Is your virtual team, marooned on Zoom for a tad too long, showing signs of drop of motivation? Yes, same here. We started bringing fun gaming stuff to make up for lack of hugs and getting down to the pub together. One of the better ones is making your own team quiz on Kahoot. You can set up questions for 4 answers options (A/B/C/D) that players enter on their mobile phones. It needs Google Meet, as the application is integrated allowing you to show the scores on the Meet screen for all to see and keep the pressure on. Try!
You can even divide your people into sub teams and let them discuss the quiz answer on Skype channel or Slack so they can enter the answers after some consultation. Worked for us!
Next week we are reviewing live training platforms and live selling on Zoom, sign up here for more updates about remote work tools.
Happy New Year from Eva and The Retail Practice Team!