Virtual meetings are now the most common method for people to communicate in business. For years there had been a gradual shift towards online working, with companies preferring to set up a virtual meeting than travel half-way around the world to see a client. However, with the onset of the global pandemic, virtual meetings have been transformed from a niche sector to the dominant communication model.
Even as the pandemic slows, virtual meetings will continue to maintain their principal position. Put simply: remote work is here to stay. Still, many mistakenly treat virtual meetings like their real-world counterparts. But there are significant differences. Therefore, it is essential to take a few moments to review how to prepare for a virtual meeting.
Get Your Tech Ready
Don’t wait until five minutes before a meeting to check your tech. Or even worse, start the meeting only to realise your camera doesn’t work, or your internet is slow. Be proactive. Check your tech in advance.
Camera and audio
Several things can go wrong with your camera and audio. Most commonly, the input will be set to the wrong source. To check everything is running smoothly, record a short video with yourself, or else perform a test call with a colleague.
When setting up your camera, consider the positioning. You don’t want to place the camera below you, as it will stretch out your face. Nor do you want to locate yourself in a dark and dingy corner. Instead, place the camera at eye-level, using books or magazines is necessary (it can be valuable to invest in a laptop stand). Additionally, choose a location with lots of natural light. Try to avoid lamps as they tend to cast heavy shadows.
Finally, you might also consider the background for a call. You might not have a chance to tidy up, with washing piles, or clutter scattered everywhere. It isn’t the best image to portray to your boss or a client. Therefore, consider a virtual background. At Hello backgrounds zoom virtual background images ideas are on full display. With hundreds of different HD images or videos from which to choose.
Even a strong internet connection can lag a little under the strain of a large virtual meeting, especially if other people are using the bandwidth. The more people on the call, the stronger the connection required. The speed will depend on the software being used. So, head over to the specific website for further details.
However, you can set yourself up near the router, ensuring you have the strongest signal available. Furthermore, request anybody else using the internet to refrain from heavy bandwidth activities, such as online gaming or streaming films.
Do Your Prep Work
Being prepared is a valuable tip for life, but it’s also applicable to virtual meetings. Here’s why:
Virtual meetings don’t have the natural social rapport of in-person contact. They can feel stilted or strained; awkward silence can follow from questions. Two participants can engage in a conversation about a narrow point, alienating other participants.
That’s where an agenda comes in.
By clearly laying out the objectives and topics of the meeting, everyone is on the same page. If the discussion becomes derailed, use the agenda to bring everyone back to the topic at hand. Moreover, it can be a useful conversation starter, highlighting the key issues to be thought about in advance of the session. Presentations are great for highlighting the agenda and setting the tone for the virtual meeting. Using tools like visually appealing PowerPoint templates can help to design impactful and engaging virtual presentations to showcase your agenda effectively.
In the agenda, consider giving each item a timespan. For instance, most topics should not go past ten minutes. By providing a time limit, minds are focused on arriving at a conclusion. Nebulous conversations are avoided.
The Ground Rules
The social norms and etiquette of online meetings are beginning to take shape. As with all social interaction, there are do’s and don’ts. However, even once these rules become established, they aren’t set firm. Naturally, virtual meetings are a flexible format. Therefore, discuss what ground rules you want to select. These can involve interrupting fellow speakers, whether to be muted or unmuted or to be on video or not.
The choice of how to run the meeting will be up to the attendees. But it can be useful to know what the standards are before beginning.