How To Be Zoom "Groomed"

Jennifer Brown Banks

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

As a veteran scribe, my professional career in the publishing industry was launched pre-Internet.

Without dating myself too much here, let’s just say that it came after civilization inscribed thoughts on stone tablets. But before the fame of Facebook and other social media platforms, and video conferencing options.

So I am a bit of a dinosaur in some ways.

As much as I try to embrace modern technology, there’s always a “glitch.” Seems that every time I master a new platform, software, technique or app, something else crops up to catch me up.

My latest challenge? Zoom.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

If not, USA Today offers the following: “In our new normal of the COVID-19 era, many of us have turned to the webcam and video meetings in place of school, work conferences, and many of us are spending our days on video conferences hosted by Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, WebEx and the like. And many of you are probably looking into the picture window at yourself and saying, "Really? I look that bad?”


In January of 2021, I was slated to accept a prestigious award for my work in the literary community from a highly-regarded not for profit organization, for which I previously served on their board of directors. I was elated. I liken it to the joy that actors and celebrities experienced with the recent Oscars.


I have always believed in the power of preparation. Accordingly, I wrote my acceptance speech months in advance. Then I edited it. Then I edited it again. I practiced it.

I checked my computer equipment. I selected an outfit that I thought highlighted my best features. I even wore my Tina Turner wig for added appeal.

In presenting me to the audience, the president of CWA said many great things about me and my arts advocacy.

(I wished my mom were still here).


“Houston we have a problem…”

When it was my turn to speak, to my horror, my computer connection went out and disconnected me from the meeting.

All that was missing was “Abra cadabra” from a magician!

Additionally, I kept receiving error reading messages regarding my microphone. None of my friends are really “Zoom” oriented, so there was no one in my circle to offer assistance.To add insult to injury, I was afraid to curse at my computer for fear that it would be accidentally captured on camera and follow me for years to come. Definitely did not want that.

My "15 minutes of fame" ultimately had to be rescheduled. The second meeting in April was better, but not by much. To date, I have had four Zoom meetings; none could really be categorized as impressive.


All has not been lost amid these fiascos, I have picked up a few pointers to perhaps shorten your learning curve; as I have concluded that Zoom is here to stay.

They are as follows:

1. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect. “If at first you don’t succeed…”

2. Test your equipment in advance. Make sure your speakers are adjusted to optimal volume.

3. Remember to unmute your microphone when it's time to speak.

4. Dress appropriately and comfortably. Meetings can sometimes last longer than planned.

5. Alert everyone in your home or office space to give you privacy and quiet time for the Zoom meeting‘s duration.


Follow these timely tips and you'll be "sittin' pretty" in no time.

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Veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, thought leader, herbal tea enthusiast. My mission is to entertain, engage and inform readers with articles that are interesting, enriching and diverse.

Chicago, IL

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