People are returning to the office en masse after the pandemic, but Zoom is here to stay and, therefore, ever more relevant. Business leaders and employees have come to accept that online meetings provide a more personal yet convenient way to meet, especially compared to phone calls, texts, and emails.
Zoom meetings can create a sense of connection and familiarity, which is vital to any business relationship. A study by the American Psychological Association (APA)1 reported that business associates who trust one another invest more time building business success than protecting themselves from exploitation. High trust can lead to better business results and efficiency.
Here are five ways to maximize Zoom to cultivate greater trust between you and the person you’re meeting.
You can build closer professional relationships with colleagues and stakeholders by being wise to them.
1. Be Intentional About Branding
Being intentional about your branding and Zoom settings can help you leverage the meeting app to build greater trust among clients and customers.
Approaching Zoom meetings with the same intentionality and care as in-person meetings will help you bring your company’s best and most authentic persona to your online discussions. Remember that each meeting offers an excellent opportunity to create genuine connections and trust, which is key to business success. So, use brand-aligned design and layout elements in your Zoom settings.
This includes incorporating a custom vanity URL and logo into your Zoom background. The color schemes and fonts in your chosen background should match those of your business website and express your business culture, personality, goals, and vision.
This virtual presence helps you subtly highlight your business and ooze professionalism.
2. Turn on the Camera
Virtual events offer a fantastic chance to see and be seen. It helps you establish face-to-face contact and communication, even if it isn’t in person.
In a 2018 Zoom and Qualtrics survey of more than 700 Zoom users, 82 percent of participants said that turning on video creates more trust. Moreover, 91 percent of users believed video led to greater engagement and improved understanding and communication through nonverbal cues.
So, ensure that your camera settings on Zoom are on. This helps people feel more connected with you. Through your camera’s lens, they can see you’re engaged, interested, and listening to them as they speak.
3. Sell the Real You vs. the Illusory You
You may be tempted to use faux backgrounds to stay “on brand” and increase engagement. But this strategy is counterintuitive as faux backgrounds can be deceptive to others on the call.
I previously worked with an international company right before it launched its IPO. This company had a 100 percent cohesive branded Zoom background that looked attractive and eye-catching. However, creating a genuine connection in meetings was much harder as the background felt like a facade or mask.
It felt frustrating and challenging not knowing who I was talking with. I would also hear sounds and voices in the background, and there was no way of understanding what was happening. For example, If the speaker on the other end had someone nearby who could overhear our conversation.
So, here are a few words of caution I’ll share with you:
If you can’t use your real background in the meeting, it’s better to blur it than use a faux background. If you use your real background, set up your laptop or computer in a good space or room. It should be free from distracting elements such as clutter and noise so the focus remains on you. Your company logo is the only permissible virtually generated meeting element that doesn’t overwhelm or distract your audience. Logos help with branding and can be superimposed by the platform over your video.
4. Use the Right Lighting
Using the right lighting lets people see you in a better light, literally and figuratively. Good lighting allows people to read your facial expressions and connect with you better.
5. Maintain Good Etiquette
- Follow good etiquette. Implement best practice etiquette as a simple yet important way to build trust with other participants on Zoom calls proactively.
- Be prepared for the meeting. Have all the necessary presentation materials and information ready. This helps you stay focused and engaged during the meeting.
- Be punctual. Join the meeting on time or even a few minutes early. This shows that you respect other people’s time.
- Actively listen and pay attention to other participants. Respond thoughtfully. This shows that you value and are interested in their views and opinions.
- Maintain transparency and honesty. Speak openly about your thoughts, intentions, and feelings. It helps you build trust by showing that you, too, are vulnerable like others.
- Respect others’ time and interests. Don’t monopolize the conversation.
- Maintain eye contact. This will help cultivate trust and show you are interested in the meeting.
- Follow up. Always communicate plans for decisions and action items made during the meeting to show that you’re responsive, reliable, and accountable.
Virtual authenticity and trust play a part in business success and efficiency. Use these tips to optimize Zoom meetings for better business relationships and outcomes.