How to Make Remote Meetings More Pleasant with Zoom

Let’s be real for a minute. Remote meetings usually suck. Even when everyone has the best intentions, laggy video and the inability to use shared tools like whiteboards can hamstring what should be a productive gathering of highly engaged teammates.

At Atomic, we work with a lot of people from all over the country, so we end up in a lot of remote meetings. We’ve tried just about every video conferencing system out there, and we’ve experimented with a lot of different remote meeting tech.

During a recent project, my team used a couple of apps that helped reduce the friction of a remote meeting from full-on road rash levels to only mild rug burn. They’re still not pleasant. I still prefer an in-person meeting when possible.

But with Zoom, remote meetings are good enough that riding out an insanely cold month in the Midwest can be productive, and even a little fun.

Zoom

Zoom is the current cream of the crop when it comes to video services. For my meetings, at least on our network, it’s proven to be the least laggy, least jittery, and most stable. It also has some really nice features that make meetings way more pleasant and productive.

iOS screen sharing

The first is iOS screen sharing. Demos are a huge part of our workflow. They build team cohesion, help people understand progress, and make everyone feel great. For a long time, mobile app projects were especially frustrating to run remotely, because apart from awkward video sharing, it wasn’t really possible to demo them remotely.

Now, with Zoom, I just join the meeting from my testing phone, start a screen share, and everyone can see every pixel of my app. It’s great.

Simultaneous camera and screen sharing

The second is simultaneous camera and screen sharing. This seems like a little thing, but being able to see someone’s face while they’re presenting goes a long way toward making a remote meeting feel like a face-to-face session.

When I’m giving a software demo in real life, my face tells half the story. It’s how I share my enthusiasm for my work, show empathy when I’m listening to feedback, and sometimes send super-subtle cues that I don’t understand the current thread of conversation.

Remote sketching

Another thing that Zoom enables is remote sketching. With an iPad, an Apple Pencil, any drawing app, and iOS screen sharing with Zoom, you effectively have an infinite shared whiteboard for sketching. Draw diagrams, doodle, whatever.

For visual thinkers like me, this is crazy-valuable. Better still, when the meeting ends, I can share a PDF of the sketch with my team in a few taps. No more wandering around the room trying to find the perfect, glare-free angle to photograph the physical whiteboard.

For my teams, Zoom has been an invaluable tool. It’s helped us connect with remote clients in a richer way that was previously only possible in person. What remote meeting tech has been working well for you lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.