“Okay, give me one moment. I’m going to share my screen.”
If you’re like us, you can probably hear that sound bite in your head, along with the dreaded silence that follows. You’ve heard a speaker say it, or a questioning attorney, or you’re the one presenting and suddenly realize the words are about to come out of your own mouth.
This moment of pause largely comes because it does take a moment to switch to screen sharing. It’s the nature of Zoom. However, performing a screen share smoothly is not only possible, it’s easy once you know the ins and outs of the best ways to do so effectively. Here are four tips from our videographer who has been on Zoom depositions almost every day since May 2020, and has even participated as an exhibit tech.
ZOOM TIP #2
How to Share Screen Effectively
NUMBER ONE: Prepare Before Your Meeting
If you know which documents you plan to share, open all of them before your meeting starts. Leaving them open on your screen won’t interfere with Zoom. The longest transitions to a screen share come when the presenter has to pause, find the folder on their computer, find and open the correct document, and then share. If you have two or more monitors, this is obviously easier, but no matter what, having your documents open and ready to go is a big time-saver. If you have to share multiple documents, you can always keep them open in multiple tabs.
NUMBER TWO: Name Your Documents So You Can Identify Them
If you open have multiple documents to share, give them short, recognizable names. Just a word or two is all it takes. Just a number isn’t enough, especially during a presentation or deposition when your mind is elsewhere. Take the PDF viewer, for instance. If your documents have similar or non-descriptive names, you may stumble over finding the correct one in the moment when you need it most.
NUMBER THREE: Share Your Document and ONLY Your Document
This is the big one. Many, many times we have seen someone share their entire desktop screen rather than just their document. There are important reasons not to share your entire desktop when presenting:
- Depending on how formal the setting is, you may not want to share your desktop wallpaper of your kids in the pool with the dog. If you forget you’re sharing your screen (which is unfortunately easy to do given Zoom’s interface) and close the document, it will NOT stop your screen share. It will only close the document and your family photos and all of your desktop folders will be on Zoom for everyone to see.
- If you are sharing your entire desktop and you receive a computer alert, including email alerts, everyone will see a thumbnail with the email subject and the first few words of the body. Depending on your job, your emails may contain sensitive information and should not be shared with everyone on Zoom. At the very least, will prevent that text with big red hearts from your spouse coming through while you’re sharing.
- This bears repeating: IF YOU SHARE YOUR WHOLE DESKTOP AND CLOSE OUT OF YOUR DOCUMENT, IT DOES NOT STOP THE SCREEN SHARE AND WILL SHOW EVERYTHING YOU HAVE OPEN. On a couple very, very rare occasions, we have watched an attorney close a document, keep talking, and open up Outlook while still sharing their desktop. If they had opened a confidential email before we could speak up to alert them, it could have spelled disaster.
So how do you share only your document? It all has to do with what screen you click on in the screen share menu.
When you click the green “Share Screen” button in Zoom’s toolbar, you get something that looks like this:
Notice how you are given the option for both both the desktop with the document and the document by itself. You’ll want to click the thumbnail showing only the document. This means that, no matter what else you have open on the desktop, you will ONLY share what you want seen. (In the example mentioned earlier, with multiple PDFs, be aware that Zoom will only show you the PDF viewer once. However, once you’re sharing, you can switch freely between all your tabs without exiting out of screen share, which is fantastic)
NUMBER FOUR: Don’t Forget to Exit When You’re Done Sharing
The second most important thing to remember after “don’t share your whole desktop” is “remember to close out when you’re done sharing”. It can be hard, especially if you’re concentrating on your presentation or your questions, and the only indication you have that you’re sharing your screen is the toolbar at the top. Especially if your computer monitor is large, it’s easy to forget about the toolbar entirely.
It’s common courtesy to remove a document once you’re done talking about it, but even more importantly, it also shows your audience that you are prepared, focused, and on top of things.
And always remember: We’re all human. All we can do is the best that we can, especially when multitasking between two very different things like speaking and operating a computer at the same time. Hopefully these tips will help you streamline your process and take some of the stress away. Happy Zooming!