If you’re reading this in 2020, the chances are your next business meeting will be a virtual one. At the time of writing, organisations all over the world have been working remotely for several months as a result of the lockdowns and social distancing measures in place due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic crisis.
Meetings have gone from places for immediate and focused human interactions to the world of video conferencing. Whilst the levels of social interaction will never be the same in the virtual environment, online meetings have been crucial to the continuation of businesses and running of organizations with teams working from home.
Optimise your setup
If like most people, you went from working in an office to working from home more or less overnight, you may not have had time to check your work setup. Before your next important work meeting, take a few minutes to check the following areas.
Your home office – if you have one – may not be the best place to get a good internet signal in your house. It’s worth knowing where the best spot is in case you find the connection falters during your calls. Either relocate to this location if possible or migrate there for the calls that you can’t afford to have interrupted.
Anything you can do maximise available bandwidth will help. For example, if other people are also using the same internet connection as you, ask them to kindly refrain from streaming videos and other large files whilst you’re on your calls.
AUDIO AND VIDEO
If you’ve found people have struggled to hear you during virtual meetings, it may be because you have been inadvertently muffling your microphone with something on your desk. Check your mic isn’t covered or try using phone earphones or a headset with a built in microphone for better audio pick-up.
Your webcam should be just above your eye line to get you at your best. It’s also worth experimenting with lighting to avoid glares or shadows that will obscure your face. With virtual calls already significantly reducing the subtle facial expressions that we communicate with in person, having a clear image is important and worth spending time getting right.
Use the extra tools at your disposal
Virtual meetings can feel like a difficult format to keep people engaged, especially when you have a day of back-to-back calls lined up. However, most video conferencing platforms have a range of tools you can use to vary the visual experience of your meetings and keep teams engaged and attentive. Try using virtual whiteboards or screen sharing to involve everybody in the call on a particular point. Alternatively, find the right zoom virtual backgrounds for you to create a change of scene and help make your meetings more memorable.
Record the meeting
Speaking of memory, a great way to improve your virtual meetings is to record them. Not only will this provide a useful resource for anybody who couldn’t make it, it will almost certainly increase the engagement of attendees. This is also an easy way for organisations to increase transparency which is crucial when going through turbulent times of change and restructuring.