We live in a time where virtual gatherings are the norm. Meeting or attending church services by Zoom will likely continue for some time. Here’s a checklist of how to make a good impression in this virtual world.
Prepare how you look –
- Dress as though you were going to a Zoom church service or meeting in person. Project the image you want transmitted to all participants, including community visitors to Zoom worship services and to people who may look at a recorded playback.
Set up your “studio” –
- Position the camera to make you look your best. The camera on a computer, tablet or phone is not friendly. The angle and closeness of the camera distorts and exaggerates. It is amazing how silly we look when we hold a phone in our lap and look down. Place your device with the camera at approximately eye level and look at it straight on, not up or down. Prop a tablet or phone on something steady. Do not hand carry it and walk around.
- Have adequate lighting so that you show up against the background, and do not sit in front of a sunny window that will overpower the picture. Check the scene behind you to avoid showing an unmade bed, a pile of laundry or a door to a bathroom across the hall.
- Set up your “studio” where other people will not wander in and out of view behind you.
- Check your picture on the screen to be sure you look OK and present the image you want.
- Learn where the controls are on the Zoom screen so that you can manage audio and video settings, send a chat when needed, and avoid sharing your screen.
Pay attention to how you present yourself during the Zoom gathering –
- If you sign in early, act as if the meeting or worship service has started. Do not leave your audio and video turned on, then carry on a conversation with somebody in another room.
- Give priority to the Zoom gathering. Don’t eat, chew or drink while on screen. When we do that, we can look and sound gross as well as uninterested.
- Check your audio setting. If you are attending a Zoom worship service, be sure you are muted. If audio is turned on, any time Zoom detects sounds from your microphone, Zoom will put you in speaker view, where your picture takes over the screen. If you are not muted and you open a drawer, type on your keyboard, cough, talk to someone in your room or answer a phone, you will suddenly take over the worship service or meeting screen. Background noise, such as a barking dog, someone talking in an adjacent room, or the sounds from a telephone ringing or a TV playing will also do this if you are not muted. Unmute your microphone when you wish to talk in the Zoom session.
- If you need to move around or are not appropriately dressed for public viewing, turn off your video. The gallery will then show your name, but not active video. This will avoid a lot of embarrassment. You will still see the meeting.
- Chat messages can be distracting. Use chat sparingly and normally send a chat message to a specific person or host rather than the entire group.
- Limit other distractions by turning off computer and phone notifications, minimizing apps not related to the Zoom gathering, and muting your smartphone.
When we can meet in person
PCCR has temporarily suspended most in-person activities at the church as a measure of controlling spread of the virus. The church governing body, the Session, previously approved policies and procedures for how we operate during the pandemic. The suspension of in-person worship services now supersedes the worship services policy. When the church is comfortable returning to in-person activities, these policies provide both a sense of direction and procedural details of how we can all keep each other safe during the pandemic. Here are the links: