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The Do’s and Don’ts of Virtual Meetings

As we move to do more social distancing and working from home during this unprecedented time, you’ll see a huge increase in virtual meetings. There’s Skype and Facetime apps, but there are also multiple business platforms that have made this virtual meeting space more accessible and user-friendly. Check out Zoom, Slack, WebEx, GoToMeeting and of course Google Hangout.

While you might think that working from home will be an easy task, it might be more difficult than you think. So, when it comes to meeting online, here are some ways you can be professional with your colleagues or even ace that online job interview.

Here are some tips to remember:

  • First, dress the part! Sure, it’s tempting to work in your PJs, but if you have a virtual meeting, it’s a no-no! Make sure you’re still dressed in appropriate business attire for your company. You’re still technically “at work” and you should be dressed accordingly for the meeting. Also consider that your boss could call a virtual meeting unexpectedly, with no warning, and if you’re not dressed appropriately, that could be an issue.

  • TESTING 1, 2, 3! Check that you have a strong internet connection and that your video and audio works.

  • Charge! Make sure that your computer is fully charged and ready to go.

  • Have all your resources near you so you won’t have to get up from the computer and make unnecessary movements. (files, notepads, pens, etc)

  • Pick a location that is not loud or distracting. Try to find a neutral background that isn’t going to take over the screen. Make sure you have plenty of good lighting. They need to see you!

MOST IMPORTANT! Position your laptop, iPad or phone in a flattering position. I commonly see people place their laptop or phone on their desk, which puts the camera view underneath them, pointing to the ceiling. That is not a good look for anyone. Sure, you can buy a laptop stand like this one, but it’s easy to just prop your laptop up on a box (a shoe box works great), positioning it at your own face level, so that it looks more natural. Nobody wants to see under your chin and your ceiling. That’s why it’s important to TEST your setup before the meeting.

  • Volume! Turn your volume up, speak clearly and enunciate. Especially because you’re online, it is important that you speak up and clearly state each sentence so that everyone in the meeting can understand you. You may want to use your earbuds or earphones for better sound.

  • No Distractions Please. Close out of distracting tabs and windows that will make nose during the meeting. Make sure you are focused on the meeting and the meeting alone. If your email pops up with a new email, close out your email during that time to avoid distractions. This also includes distractions going on around you. Make sure the dog isn't barking, kids aren't yelling, etc. And your MUTE button is much needed. I keep calls on mute until it's my turn to speak to avoid having anyone hear background noise on my end. And remember, make sure your backdrop isn't distracting. People will be looking at what's behind you, so choose a backdrop that will not be distracting or too busy.

  • My turn! If you’re leading the meeting, be sure to set aside time so that each person has a chance to speak, ask questions, etc.

  • Make eye contact with the camera and show that you are fully engaged with the speaker.

  • Ready, set, go! Be prepared for the meeting. This is no different than meeting in person. Be sure to spend quality time (that would have been spent on a commute) to prepare for the meeting.

  • Smile, you'r on camera! Remember, attitude is contagious. Stay positive and on topic. We need to do our best to keep the business at hand going and moving forward.

Now you’re ready to nail that virtual meeting! Keep up the good work. Well, that's all I have for now. And avoid looking like our fury friends below.

Special thanks for Sarah Parrish for her assistance with this blog.


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