6 things you need to do before every zoom call

We’ve all been there. The meeting has started and we were either still finishing our toast, still in our pyjamas, or super focused on another task. So we quickly turn on the camera and hope for the best! But that’s not the best way to go about it, now is it, babes? Preparation is key. So here are 6 things you should do before every zoom call:

Hydrate.

No, I don’t mean drink 3 full glasses of water right before the meeting, otherwise you will be doing the “I need to pee” shuffle in your chair praying for a toilet break within 10min of the start. But for the first of the 6 things to do before a zoom call you should consider that it does take up to 4h for the water you drink to actually hydrate you, so you need to think ahead. Meeting at 2pm? Make sure you have a few glasses of water in the morning. Or better yet, get into the habit of sipping water regularly so you can reach those 1.8l/2l optimum water intake for women/men. And if you want to learn more about the process of hydration of the vocal cords, I found this post super insightful.

Have pointers.

I don’t mean memorising your script, or knowing the measurements of the new product in both metric and imperial measurements, by heart. But you need to have studied what you’re about to present.
If you’re there to discuss how the latest projects’ launch has made compared to expectations, have those figures present.
If you’re there to brainstorm ideas for next quarter, spend a couple of hours thinking what that could mean for your team.
If you are planning an instagram live to talk about your next product launch be ready to talk about the story of it and hype the moment of reveal.
But again, no need to memorise it all! You can do this with some post-its next to your camera, or some bullet points jotted down on your notebook, or even having a doc opened on the window next to Teams. All is good, as long as you’re not solely relying on your own memory, which, with nerves, can definitely play tricks on you!

Prepare your outfit.

We all know, clothes do make a great first impression. But they can also change the way you feel and act (going to an extreme example here, but imagine slouching wearing a corset! No can’t do).
So, if you are about to present your new product or idea to the board, or elaborate on last month’s figures, you need to feel AND look your best. This doesn’t mean an evening gown, or the suit you dust off just for weddings. But iron your shirts. Make sure there are no stains on your jumpers. Use that color that accentuates your eyes. The look will bring you more confidence. It may seem silly, but trust me, most times, the clothes do make the character.

 

Passed the halfway mark of our 6 things to do before a zoom call, and so far so good, right? Great! Because the next few are as simple and effective as the ones before.

Take a few moments to spruce up.

Again, this doesn’t mean putting on a full face of makeup, but combing your hair, cleaning your glasses’ lenses, popping a bit of concealer or your favorite lipstick and mascara duo can also do wonders for your inner confidence, and also for how people view you.
If you take care of yourself you will show you take care of yourself and your ideas too.
The subconscious is a wonderful thing and you don’t want your team members wondering how many hours you slept last night or when was the last time you had a veggie (I mean, only Lorelai Gilmore can look that fabulous without eating her greens. Yes, this is a Gilmore Girls reference. Not sorry.)
But seriously, take pride in your look and own that presentation.

Relax, breathe and have fun.

Right before going live, you should take a moment to regroup.
A simple way to calm your nervous system is simply breathing. Breathe in on 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, and breathe out for 4 counts.
Even though you can definitely use that edge to your advantage, we don’t want to be so nervous that our voice shakes or we can’t control our thoughts! Making sure you calm your nervous system and get ready.
Next, get up from your chair and jump around for a bit, releasing energy from your body, roll your shoulders inwards and then outwards, shake your arms, just make sure you are releasing that tension away.
And then, have fun! Seriously! The body’s physiological reaction to excitement is the same as to feeling nervous (trust me, it’s true), so if you tell your body you are actually excited for the meeting, and not dreading it, it won’t know the difference!

Avoid distractions.

For the last tip, I want you to be selfish. Avoid distractions, make sure you are alone or those around you are aware of the needed silence.
Sometimes it’s not possible, now that we’re mostly working from home, and we will have builders next door, or a toddler tantrum your partner is trying to settle, but as much as possible make sure there are no distractions for the duration of the call.
Turn your oven’s timer off, put your phone on “Do not disturb”, tell your housemates/family you’ll need to close the door, and make sure the sleeping dog behind you is actually sleeping somewhere else. We all know the pup will wake up and beg for affection the minute it’s your turn to speak.
Controlling the controllables will bring you the peace of mind of confidently knowing you are in charge of what’s about to happen.

 

Now that you’re all set, I’ll throw in one last tip! I’m feeling generous!

Get techie.

As a bonus, I want you to get techie. What do I mean by that? Well, my friend, as simple as: check your battery level, and have the charger at hand (in fact, plug that bad boy in now, it’s always safer), check your speakers and mic and most importantly, your internet connection! Yes, these seem a bit frugal but they are key for your confidence. Seeing the dreaded “the laptop will shut down if you don’t plug it in” whilst you’re in the middle of that important performance review interview, or having your internet connection prevent you from logging in on time, are some of the last things you want happening!

 

By the way, you will be great! Go ahead and smash it!

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