The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to rethink their operations – from limiting in-office activities and pivoting to remote work, to making video conferencing the new norm when it comes to meetings.
However, as industries are forced to adapt to this “new normal” and lean heavier into technology, so should people. This includes gaining a better grasp of how to conduct ourselves through our new online work platforms.
From the looks of things, we'll be relying on video conferencing apps for the foreseeable future. It’s understandable, being at home may add to the appeal of keeping things casual. However, a virtual meeting isn’t your typical video chat with friends and family. Furthermore, there are different rules to consider when it comes to virtual meetings.
To guide you, here are questions you should keep in mind to have productive and professional video conference calls.
The saying “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” also applies to organizing virtual meetings.
Before the pandemic, when many of us were still going to the office, meetings that should have been emails were already a problem. Now that video conferencing has turned into one of our main means of communication for work, many seem to have forgotten that meetings should only be held when needed.
As a rule of thumb, if your goal is just to inform, then an email will suffice. Meanwhile, objectives like solving a problem, collaborating on creative projects, or discussing complex topics all warrant a meeting. You want to communicate ideas in the best way possible.
Just like actual on-ground meetings, don’t forget to set a clear agenda before the conversation; send a pre-read if needed. During the session, always set ground rules, take breaks, and outline your next steps and timelines after each point of discussion.
Let’s make one thing clear, now that virtual meetings are the norm, you need to be prepared for technical difficulties.. Faulty audio, video, and internet connection can be very disruptive and affect team productivity. That is why you should allot time to test your equipment before hopping on a call.
For audio, check quality and volume. Not only should you be heard, but your voice should also be clear and understandable. Stay in a closed room if needed. Video, on the other hand, should frame you at eye level (prop up your computer on some shoeboxes if you need to). Looking too low or too high can lead to awkward angles between you and the people you’re meeting with.
Also, don’t forget to check the lighting! Avoid setting up against the light. The light source should be coming in front of you.
Lastly, all this preparation will be all for naught if you get disconnected. Speed test your connection beforehand. Move closer to the router and disconnect other devices. Worst case scenario: prepare a backup connection, such a mobile phone which can function as a mobile hotspot.
Again, the temptation of making your virtual meetings too homey will always be present when you’re working from your house. However, your appearance in a meeting is essential – especially If you're meeting with stakeholders and clients. Look presentable and not ready for bed.
Though audio-only is acceptable when the internet connection is not that strong, make it clear that video is a priority when it comes to virtual meetings. Seeing each other helps personalize the sessions and keeps everyone better engaged (less chance of multitasking, right?).
Being presentable also applies to your surroundings. Make sure you’re not shooting from a cluttered area. Going on a virtual call beside dirty dishes will be distracting. Your background doesn’t have to be bare, just make sure it’s tidy.
Last but not least, bolster your knowledge of video call etiquette.
If you’re in a call with a big group, make sure to say your name before asking a question. This helps everyone keep track of the conversation, as well as the person recording or taking notes of the meeting.
If you’re not the one speaking, take the time to mute yourself. This cuts ambient noise from your end. (If many of you have your mics on simultaneously, trust us, those electric buzzes and background sounds add up.)
Lastly, pay attention. You’re not there to multitask and scroll websites or social media while someone else is talking. Chances are, the person speaking will see you and know what you’re doing. Plus, you might miss important parts of the meeting.
The key to mastering the virtual meeting is equal parts respecting the people you are with, treating these calls like actual face-to-face interactions, and understanding how to adapt better in virtual spaces. As mentioned earlier, it’s not just office structures that should evolve, so do you.
Keep these tips in mind and you'll be ready for any important meetings in the future! Bookmark this article for reference when opportunities from the GetCraft Marketplace come your way.
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.