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Virtual Meetings Dos and Don’ts

It is now normal for people to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic that has affected millions around the world. Working remotely comes with new challenges, one of which is navigating virtual meetings.

Although virtual meeting platforms may make some people leave their comfort zones, they can be much more effective than traditional meetings, as long as they are done correctly. Once businesses realize the advantages of virtual meetings, they may keep on using them long after the coronavirus crisis passes.

When it comes to virtual meetings, impressions are everything, particularly if you’re having a meeting with a potential client. Go further and make the best impressions during your video meetings.

The Dos of Virtual Meetings

Things you should do before starting your call:

  • Ensure you dress the part 

When you dress professionally, other participants will know that you’re serious. If the meeting takes place daily with your work colleagues and it is not necessary, put on your company shirt if possible. And make sure you wear the appropriate pants to go with it.

  • Broadcast from a quiet place

Make the call from a space that has the least background noise. While on call, make use of a quality headset to prevent echoes and to enable others to hear you. You can get a Bluetooth headset if you’re using a smartphone.

  • Get comfortable

After you’ve got a quiet space, ensure that it is very comfortable to prevent you from adjusting too often or constantly moving the webcam. Ensure that your portable device has sufficient power that will last for the duration of the meeting or plug it in for better performance. You don’t want to have a dead battery when talking to your boss or a potential customer.

  • Test your equipment before the meeting starts

Prevent technical difficulties by testing all devices before you begin the meeting. Technical challenges can and will happen during virtual meetings; so, it’s best to test your equipment well before the call begins. Test your headset, speakers, microphone, and camera before going into a virtual meeting.

  • Nicely frame yourself 

As you test your equipment, ensure that you frame your camera properly so that others can see you the best way possible. Check and see how your camera would look like during the meeting. The camera angle shouldn’t be too high or low.

  • Rehearse 

This is very useful if you’re going to make a presentation during the meeting. Prepare your files and documents if you intend to share your screen or send files to others. Avoid opening a lot of windows if you’re going to share your screen with the attendees so you don’t accidentally click the wrong window.

Things to during the call

  • Mute yourself when appropriate

If you’re not going to speak for a long time during the meeting, mute yourself by clicking on the mute button in chat or through your speakers. 

Distractions such as a baby crying or a doorbell ringing can distract someone else during the meeting. If you don’t mute yourself, your microphone can easily pick up noises from movement or shuffling of clothing.

  • Don’t leave the meeting

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should sneak out of a meeting without warning. If you have to leave the meeting for a while, inform the other participants. Also, sneaking out of a virtual meeting is just rude.

  • Avoid moving around

You can get disoriented if a participant shakes their camera around. While on a virtual meeting, avoid moving your laptop or camera. Ensure that your device is kept on a stable surface. If you’re using your mobile device, don’t move around or shake your hand while holding the phone. You can get a small tripod to hold your phone firm on a desk or use a business card holder to hold it during the meeting.

  • Be audible

Speak loud enough for other participants to hear you. You may have to speak louder than usual, depending on your microphone or your surroundings. Ensure that your microphone is not on mute when you’re responding to a question or making an input. Apps such as Microsoft Teams can let you know when you’re on mute.

  • Remain focused

Do away with distractions such as social media while in a virtual meeting. You don’t want to miss important points during the meeting because you were reading a tweet on Twitter. Stimulate eye contact by looking at the camera during the meeting. 

This will make you look focused and engaged. It is natural to look at the person speaking on your screen, which isn’t a bad thing, but looking into the camera while you’re talking can maintain the energy.

The Don’ts of Virtual Meetings

  • Don’t open a lot of programs

Close distracting programs such as your email or instant messengers before you begin the virtual meeting. Not only can this affect how quickly your computer operates, but it will also save you from the embarrassment of sharing personal screens with others. Only open the applications you’ll need for the meeting – such as documents, notes, or a presentation.

  • Avoid multitasking and interrupting presenters

Raindance Communications showed in a survey that 70 percent of people do work that is unrelated to the meeting, 50 percent view or send emails, and 36 percent mute the call to talk to someone else during the virtual meeting. These stats don’t include the people that eat, surf the internet, and do other unrelated activities. 

Reduce distractions and interruptions by calling from a quiet area. Even if your microphone is on mute, when you move or speak to another person in the room, which could be interpreted as trying to speak to the attendees of the meeting; this can distract the speaker.

  • Don’t place your camera too low, too high, or hooked on a different monitor 

If your camera is placed weirdly, that could distract other participants. Ensure that your camera is leveled to your eye and on the monitor you intend to use for the virtual meeting.

  • Don’t wait for the meeting to start before you log in

To make sure that the meeting begins on time, log in at least five minutes before the scheduled time. This will give you time to resolve any technical issues you might encounter. If you’re not used to virtual meetings, test your device to ensure you know how to use all the system functions.

  • Don’t place your device in front of a window

Since virtual meetings are not so formal, most people don’t bother about their surroundings. But there’s one exception. Some people make the mistake of standing in front of a window. Bright light from outside could make it hard for others to see you.

Conclusion

If you don’t do virtual meetings correctly, it can be a drag and a waste of time. But when done properly, it can promote communication, create new ideas, enhance morale, generate goals, and so much more!