Our top 9 tips to keep your meeting on track and productive.
Conference rooms across the world are empty as working from home becomes the new "normal." Virtual meetings, video conferences, and hangouts are becoming the main way to connect with co-workers who need to continue to work while staying at home.
However, there are a few need-to-remember tips to make that virtual meeting go a little better and avoid an embarrassing moment or two (like this boss who accidentally turned herself into a potato on a conference call).
9 Virtual Meeting Tips:
1. Look Presentable
Just because it's a virtual meeting doesn't mean you shouldn't at the least throw a clean shirt on and comb your hair. Virtual meetings may be more casual, but no one needs to see anyone as if they've just rolled out of bed. Besides, you never know when a boss will want a face-to-face meeting, so to speak, and you want to be ready for that. Keep those PJ bottoms on, just spruce up the top half!
2. Check That Tech
Seems like common sense, but do it anyway. Check that your computer is functioning, check that headphones, microphones, internet connection, etc. are all up and running before the meeting start time. It's awkward and very unprofessional to have to mess around with tech when you're supposed to be in a meeting.
3. Be Early
Try to be a few minutes early. This common courtesy for any meeting and applies to virtual and video meetings as well. You want to log in early and be ready to start a few minutes ahead of time, and observe proper professional meeting behavior throughout the meeting. Being at home does not mean this isn't a real or legitimate meeting.
4. Mute Your Microphone
When you are not talking, mute your microphone. Those things pick up everything and you don't need the whole meeting to hear your children arguing over a water balloon, the dog barking, or whatever other chaos is raging behind you nor should you hear everyone else’s. Also, if you happen to mutter an under-your-breath comment into the microphone, well ... that can be embarrassing when you must explain to your boss why you just said his agenda was #$@!ing stupid. All easily avoided by a simple little click of that mute button.
5. Background Matters
Background matters, and we don't mean if you passed a reference check. We get it, the bathroom is the only quiet place in the house to have this meeting, but doesn’t make it obvious. If you must use the toilet as your desk chair, at least sit on it backward! No one needs to see a handle or toilet paper in the background of your meeting.
Don’t do this!
6. Put the Camera Down
Do not walk around with your camera! When you do this, you must turn off the camera, otherwise, everyone is going to get very dizzy.
7. No Picking!
Do not pick your nose, your teeth, etc. This has to be said because we have just seen way too much of it. Yes, you are at home but you are also on camera. If you do not want everyone to see you pick your nose, sniff your armpit, scratch in your ears, etc., then turn that camera off and just participate in the meeting through voice and chat.
8. Be Considerate
Be considerate! Don’t Interrupt! Again, this is basic meeting etiquette, but as we all are in a super casual mode right now, it can be easy to let those professional expectations slide. Let other people speak, then when they're done, chime in, and when finished, mute your mic and give the floor to someone else.
9. Focus! Focus! Focus!
Focus on the task at hand! Listen we love to multitask—heck, we’re doing it right now. However, when it comes to the virtual meeting, you should treat it as an in-person meeting. Try to keep phones and other distractions away and focus. Plus, it's obvious when you are on video when you start playing Candy Crush or watching TV.
Another quick tip, please be conscious of what you have open on your computer when you share screens during these virtual meetings. Close things you don’t want to be seen and make sure that you are sharing only things that need to be shared and not your personal information.
The age of the virtual meeting is upon us, and it's a great learning opportunity for everyone. These kinds of video and chat meetings are the new normal for right now, so it's likely you may utilize one of these sometime soon. Being prepared, on point, and professional will not only make a great impression, but it will also ensure you truly get high-quality work done and don’t just talk about the Tiger King series.
What are your do’s and don’ts for virtual meetings? Did we cover everything? Sound off in the comments.