COVID-19 is making virtual meetings more common than in-person gatherings. In April 2020, Zoom announced reaching 300 million daily meeting participants. An astounding number.
The advantages are clear between employees and companies: Customer Service (CS) can provide virtual consulting services. Pitching with clients can be done at home via virtual meetings. Psychologists can hold consultation sessions without physically meeting the patient. The company spends less on office equipment and its maintenance. Kate Lister, Global Workplace Analytics, estimates companies can save an average of $11,000 per half-time telecommute per year.
Despite all these perks, how you conduct and attend virtual meetings shows the value of ourselves (including the company's brand). So you have to do it right.
Virtual meetings should be about sharing ideas and relevant trends and finding solutions to problems. But that's not always the reality.
People are less likely to participate and fall asleep when meetings go wrong. On the other hand, when meetings are running effectively, ideas come to the table and problems are resolved.
So in this post, we will discuss everything about virtual meetings, such as:
- Definition of virtual meetings
- Do and don'ts in virtual meetings
What is a Virtual Meeting?
A virtual meeting is a real-time conversation or discussion on an online video conferencing platform. Meeting participants can interact with video, audio+video, audio, chat functionality or screen-sharing capabilities.
How does it work?
First, the host (meeting owner) will create a meeting agenda on the platform. The schedule will generate an online meeting invitation in the form of a link, meeting day and duration. The host then distributes the invitations to the participants.
The host can host or lead the meeting when the day rolls around. Then, they can share the presentation slides, and a collaboration session begins. Participants can exchange ideas, respond and ask questions.
Virtual meetings are just like offline meetings in a conference room, except it's online so that participants can be from anywhere. That said, there are some challenges when meeting virtually, such as internet connection, distractions at home (if WFH) or the urge to be lazy.
Things you should do during a virtual meeting
1. Be prepared before your meeting
You can spare extra time before the meeting to prepare by completing any pre-reading, compiling reports or files to discuss with the group, and writing down any questions you may have. Or just check your camera and microphone if it's all working properly.
By actively participating in the discussion and being at the meeting with all the necessary materials, you may contribute to its success.
2. Join the meeting on time
Unfortunately, time management is a huge issue with virtual meetings, as well as in-person meetings. If you are late and in the end, the meeting is forced to start late it will have consequences not only on yourself but on other people as well.
Therefore joining 5-10 minutes before the meeting starts will give you enough time to get ready for the meeting.
3. Dress to impress
Dress appropriately for virtual meetings as you would for in-person meetings. If you are unsure about the dress code, ask the meeting host or your leader.
Put on professional clothes as you would for the office, fix your hair, wash your face, and take other steps, such as applying makeup. Dress to impress!
4. Adjust your background
As you know that when you're working from home, sometimes your meeting background can be a bit weird. So it's important to adjust your meeting background.
If you're using Zoom or Microsoft Teams, you can change your background. Or if you're having a meeting in a kitchen or your bedroom, you can blur your background. Adjust your background with the presets from your communication tool.
5. Set a positive vibe
It would be best if you have something to focus on during a virtual meeting, such as a good slide presentation. Attendees prefer an exciting presentation because it is easy to remember and not dull. Ensure to make your presentation shorter and with less text.
Besides, make sure you smile, look the camera in the eye, and communicate with confidence. Putting yourself up with confidence is a great way to appear professional.
Don’t do these things during a virtual meeting
1. Don’t interrupt the meeting
Even if you have a brilliant idea, stay patient and wait your turn to speak. Give room for other participants to voice their opinion. If you quickly forget the idea, write it down to reveal it later. Or you can also speak your idea to a meeting discussion session.
2. Don’t multitask
This is especially important in virtual meetings. Have you ever been in a meeting where the host shared a screen with tabs full of email or social media? Doesn't that look unprofessional?
So, try to focus on the meeting that is currently in progress. Listen to what other people are saying. We are all busy, but paying attention to meetings is essential.
3. Don’t eat during a meeting
Hearing someone chew on chips while they are on call is very distracting. This is not only unprofessional, but it's also inappropriate meeting etiquette.
Turn off your microphone and camera if you need to eat during the virtual meeting so that other participants can't see or hear you.
4. Don’t type during a virtual meeting
Distracting noises can swiftly disrupt a meeting and distract attention from the presentation. Unfortunately, typing on your keyboard can be annoying to others.
If you need to take notes, mute yourself during the meeting while you’re typing. Or you can invest in a high-quality and noiseless keyboard to reduce distractions.
5. Don’t leave during your meeting
Don't leave the meeting! Even if you turn off your video during the meeting, you can be called on, and if you're not there to answer, it may look unprofessional.
If you need to leave the room for a few moments, write a note in the chat to let others know you'll be back shortly.
Good communication plays an essential role in organisational success, and virtual meetings are one of the bridges to achieve this. Unfortunately, you cannot transfer offline meeting methods to online. You need adjustments such as equipment and meeting preparation to make it effective.
It is easy to set up an effective virtual meeting. As long as you take enough time to tick off all of the above points, virtual meetings will be effective and fun.