Working from home is now the new norm for many of us, which means interacting with colleagues and conducting business a little differently. The rising popularity of online meetings has seen businesses using platforms such as Zoom, Go To Meeting and Skype for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems.
In this blog, we’ll look at some online meeting tips for you to get the most out of your virtual meetings.
Before you begin a meeting
Consider your environment and background. Tidy up your area to remove anything that’s distracting or inappropriate for your meetings. You want to present professionally and as someone who can be trusted to do good work. See if your virtual meeting tools provide virtual backgrounds to help you disguise even the most cluttered environments.
A quiet space is ideal for a meeting to clearly hear what is being said and to avoid distractions. Barking dogs and slamming doors are annoying in person and via online meetings! A key Online meeting tip is to mute yourself as necessary. Familiarise yourself with this feature before you begin.
You also need to consider the lighting in your space so the meeting’s participants can see you clearly. Position yourself so that most of the light is coming from in front of you (behind your monitor or digital device if using an app). If you have a window behind you, shut the blinds. Otherwise, the natural light will cause you to be backlit.
Take note of where your camera is pointing and adjust accordingly if it is too low or high. Only your barber or hairdresser wants to stare at the top of your head. Your camera should be at eye level, with your face and torso visible.
Testing your video and audio first is also a good idea to avoid wasting time during your meeting.
During your meeting
When speaking, try and look directly at the camera to mimic eye contact with the other meeting attendees. This takes a bit of getting used to since it is easier to look at the other participant’s faces. It’s important to see people’s reactions and facial expressions by looking at the screen, but alternating that with looking at the camera makes the audience feel like you’re really talking to them.
Don’t get too close to the camera. Your meeting participants will hear you from an arm’s length away. Position yourself so the camera is seeing you from the chest or waist up, instead of just seeing your face. This is more natural for the viewer, as this is what you see in an in-person meeting. Correct positioning is especially beneficial if you tend to gesture a lot.
Keeping people engaged is especially important in an online meeting. A virtual meeting best practice tip is to use any engagement tools on offer. There’s screen sharing, annotating shared content, sending out a quick poll, asking for feedback in chat, splitting your attendees up into video breakout rooms or you could even send attendees to a website and have them fill out a pre-prepared Google Document (Google Docs are just like a Word document, only they're stored in your google account and can be shared with people to work on) Do whatever it takes to keep your attendees actively engaged.
After your meeting
If you recorded your meeting, share it with meeting invitees who couldn’t attend so they don’t miss out. Send out an email with any actionable items for the participants and schedule another online meeting if necessary. As the host, you can always ask for feedback on the meeting content, length of time, visual and audio clarity so you can improve for next time.
Horizon Bank is here to help. If you’re looking for more tips on how to successfully work from home, check out our working from home article here.
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