Jay shares his tips for online meetings and we look at some useful English phrases you can use for handling the technology.
- Can you unmute yourself?
- Can you put yourself on mute?
- Can you adjust your mike?
- Could you speak one at a time please?
- Can everyone see me now?
- I’m pulling up a poll now. It might take a few seconds to load.
- Tell me in the chat if you can see it.
- How can I share my screen?
- I don’t know how to stop sharing.
- I think she’s frozen.
- I think she’s been kicked out/booted out.
As always, we’ll show you how they’re used in action.
To see our other video about online meetings, click here.
English for online meetings
There’s something you probably don’t know about Jay. He has another job providing technical support for online meetings. So how many meetings have you worked on?
And what’s it like?
Well, you know, I used to produce television news programs and it’s similar. They’re live so lots of things can go wrong. But that also makes them exciting.
He likes the adrenaline rush. Adrenaline is that substance our body’s produce when we’re excited.
Have you ever seen anything go wrong in an on-line meeting?
Lots of times! But I can usually fix it. And because of the pandemic, most people are familiar with the technology these days.
So we know which buttons to press, now.
Well, I wouldn’t say that, but I can explain if you need help.
Handling the technology – Muting and unmuting
OK, everyone’s here. Let’s start. Vicki, can you turn your camera on so we can see you?
Oh, sorry. Hi everyone.
Great. I’d like to begin by welcoming a new member of the team. Tom, would you like to introduce yourself?
We can’t hear you, Tom. Can you unmute yourself?
Sorry about that. Hi everyone. I’m Tom, and I’m based in Almeria in Spain and I’ll be your Spanish point person in on this project.
Muting is when you turn off the sound and unmuting is when you turn it on.
They’re both common problems. Hosts can mute people, but they can’t unmute them.
So we have to do that ourselves.
Yeah. And hosts are the people who run the meeting.
Are they the chairperson?
They could be, but in large meetings, it’s often someone else. The host handles the technical side of things and the chairperson handles the discussion and interaction.
So it’s the host that can press the button to turn off our mikes?
Yeah, but in large meetings muting can take time so you need to know how to mute yourself.
In Spain we have another way of measuring customer satisfaction where we use an online tool to conduct polls.
Is that a dog?
Sorry Tom, we’re having trouble hearing you. Everyone, if you’re not speaking, can you put yourself on mute?
Where’s the mute button?
It’s at the bottom left of your screen. I think it’s stopped. Tom, please go ahead.
OK, I’m going to show you a tool we use to measure customer satisfaction in Spain.
So Kathy told you what to do there.
Yeah. Here’s another instruction you might need to give.
Handling the technology – Adjusting your mike
The project’s a little behind schedule but we should be able to catch up.
You’re very quiet. Can you adjust your mike?
Adjust my mike?
Yeah, move it closer to your mouth.
Sorry about that!
You should really check your mike before you join a meeting. And another thing of course – you can’t talk over other people.
So that’s how we do it.
Tom, I have a question.
Can you explain that again?
Could you speak one at a time, please?
I think that sounds…
I don’t understand how that works…
That’s great Tom but …
Can you explain again?
One at a time means first one person and then another.
You can’t overlap.
Now that’s microphones, but what about cameras?
Well, you’ve got to remember to turn them on of course.
Handling the technology – Camera problems
Vicki, your camera’s not on.
With most meetings you can check that your camera is on and how you look before you join.
Jay, your camera’s off.
Oh sorry. Can everyone see me now?
Now what else can go wrong with cameras?
Well, lighting is a common issue. Sometimes people sit with a window or light behind them and then they’re dark and we can’t see their face.
How can we fix that?
Put lights in front of you and close the drapes or the shades on the windows behind you.
Can you use any lights? Like desk lights?
They could work. You want to light up your face.
Now I like looking at people’s backgrounds. It’s sometimes interesting to see inside their homes.
Which means you need to think about what’s showing in the background.
If you want to look professional, don’t take the call in the toilet.
Hi everyone. Sorry I’m late.
Some people use virtual backgrounds or background effects.
I hate them! When you move half your head disappears. I think they’re very distracting.
Yeah, but sometimes companies require them. They have backgrounds with their logos on them and I think a lot of people are used to that now.
OK, what else should and shouldn’t we do in on-line meetings?
Hmm, well, it’s all about good communication really.
Explaining what’s happening and asking for help
OK, let’s have a poll now. Jay? … Jay, can you bring up the poll? … Jay, can you hear me?
Yeah, I’m just searching for it.
You see that’s no good. Things can take more time online and if there’s a delay, you need to explain what’s happening and what you’re doing.
I’m pulling up a poll now. It might take a few seconds to load.
The file’s uploading now but it’s taking a little time.
The internet is slow today.
I’m afraid my connection isn’t very good.
And of course, if you don’t know how to do something, sometimes you’ll need to ask.
Where’s the mute button?
How can I share my screen?
I don’t know how to stop sharing.
How do I upload a file?
How can I change my screen name?
Bad connections are another problem. Sometimes people freeze or disappear.
So, Vicki, what do you think of that idea?
Oh, I have a lot of thoughts. For one thing ….
Ah, I think Vicki is frozen… And now she’s disappeared.
We have some different words for that. You can get disconnected.
And more informally we say you get kicked out of a meeting or you’re booted out.
And remember, people have different internet speeds, so you need to keep checking that everyone’s seeing and hearing the same things.
OK, I’m sharing my screen. Can you see it?
Can everyone hear me, OK?
I uploaded a file. Tell me in the chat if you can see it.
And just generally, there needs to be a lot more checking in online meetings.
Your communication has to be extra clear.
And that’s what we’ll look at in our next video – how to be crystal clear in English zoom meetings.
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We’d like to say a big thank you to Kathy and Tom for helping us make this.
I’ll put their details below so you can follow them as well.
And see you next time everyone.
To see our other video about English for online meetings, click here.