Whether we like them or not, virtual meetings are here to stay. If team members can’t be together in the same meeting room physically, virtual meetings are a near-perfect way to keep businesses running and make communication efficient. But how do you make the most of a virtual meeting? We’ve all been in meetings that seem to drag on forever, filled with people who can’t get to grips with their own microphones. How do you make a virtual meeting as effective as possible? Here are our top tips for virtual meetings.
Tips for virtual meetings
Set an agenda
Be clear from the outset what exactly you will discuss in the meeting. Make sure everyone’s on the same page by sending the agenda ahead of the call. Keep to the topics and try not to stray, to make sure that the meeting runs smoothly and on time. Speaking of which…
Set a time
Set a specific start and end time for the meeting, and stick to it. Many people set an hour as a default time, but by setting aside only half an hour for the meeting you can speed through it much more effectively, as it leaves no time to get sidetracked.
If you’re not speaking, mute your own microphone. Talking over someone else isn’t polite at the best of times, and when everything is through a computer screen it can be very disorienting for someone to try and speak over noise. Muting yourself also prevents any unwanted noise. Maybe someone you live with is clattering in the kitchen. Or maybe you’re getting loud notifications on your laptop. It also prevents feedback, which is when someone else’s microphone picks up the sound of your own voice and plays it back through the system, which can be loud and distracting. So mute yourself when you’re not speaking, but remember to unmute yourself when you do speak!
Turn your camera on
It’s good to put a face to a name. You wouldn’t cover your face in a real-life meeting, so why hide away from your laptop camera? Being able to see the faces of the people you’re speaking to also helps build a personal connection with them.
Tidy your background
When you do have your camera on, make sure your background is appropriate. Some virtual meeting platforms offer virtual backgrounds, which are useful for hiding your real backgrounds. But choose an appropriate space in the place you are dialing in from, that isn’t too messy. Even if it’s a blank, white wall, it helps other people from being distracted by unnecessary action. It goes without saying, but make sure your camera doesn’t reveal anything sensitive, too.
Take all of that into consideration and you’ll find your virtual meetings run much more effectively. You will get more out of them, and if you have a full day of video calls you will find yourself less exhausted by the end of it.