From working remotely to corporate restructurings, 2020 has changed the way we do business. More than anything else possibly, Zoom meetings have become a normal part of most people’s day. For some people, that now means conducting video calls in a second language.
While traditionally, international meetings would have been conducted in person, with translators, lunches and outings, these meetings are now being conducted on Zoom. It may present a solution to allow meetings to happen, but it also presents a host of challenges.
If you are currently hosting Zoom meetings in a second language, here are some tips to help you make the meetings productive and to help you feel more confident while hosting them.
Use a clean background
When it comes to Zoom meetings, it can be difficult to concentrate when you are looking at a busy background. If possible, conduct the meeting in a quiet, secluded room that is bright. Also, be sure to check to make sure the natural light in the room is not too powerful. There is nothing worse than staring at a glare from the sun while you’re trying to listen to important information from a speaker not speaking their first language.
Look directly into the camera
It is easy to get caught up looking at yourself while you are speaking during a Zoom call. It may seem natural, but to the other people in the meeting, it can seem like you are not focused. It can also make it difficult for other people to read your lips, which can be extremely important when it comes to understanding a person speaking a second language.
Stick to an agenda
Preparation is key to any productive meeting. When it comes to speaking a second language, preparation is even more important. Creating and sticking to an agenda will give you the opportunity to rehearse what you’re going to say. It also gives the other people attending the meeting the ability to follow along. That will make it easier for them to draw context, making it easier for them to understand.
Hold all questions until the end
Constant interruptions can throw you off rhythm and make the meeting hard to follow. If you hold all questions to the end, you can stay focused on the presentation. Focus is a key aspect of giving a presentation, particularly when it is in a language you may not be completely comfortable speaking. Holding all questions to the end will also allow you to choose some questions to answer after the meeting has ended offline.
Consider interpretation services
If you really prepare for the meeting, you will be able to identify specific parts that could give you trouble. For these sections, it could be worth considering interpretation services. Zoom provides these services to allow you to deliver your message flawlessly. It should be a last resort, but it could be a lifesaver if you have any uncertainty about a specific part of your meeting.
COVID-19 has caused an array of challenges both socially and professionally. For business professionals having to conduct Zoom meetings with international teams or partners, language barriers can cause significant hurdles. With the tips above, you can go into your next Zoom meeting with confidence.