We’ve talked about video conferencing a lot over the past few months. Understandably, businesses that can continue to make use of platforms such as Zoom and Teams for meetings and sales calls. While many of us are feeling more confident and comfortable with remote sessions, there are still ways to make our online meetings more successful.
Take it Seriously
I’m sure we’ve all seen several amusing tales of online meeting mishaps, from the Spanish councillor who broadcasted himself taking a shower, to the poor Reddit user whose quirk of talking to his food caused significant embarrassment. Many of these unfortunate events occur because people are not taking these meetings seriously.
Sipping iced mochas while sat at your PC in the comfort of your home can lead you to let your hair down a little too much. You might be at home, but a remote meeting is still work and should be treated as such. Make sure you adopt a professional mindset from the off, close those irrelevant browser tabs and don’t leave the TV on in the background.
If you must leave the session temporarily, be sure to mute your mic, turn off your camera and inform others in the room. Type a message to let people know you need to go AFK for a few minutes. However, unless something is vitally important, try not to leave. Be respectful of other people and the time they’ve set aside for the meeting.
In a similar vein, it’s essential to ensure that you are making a strong impression. Arriving at an online meeting in a football shirt, with a cocktail in one hand and a burger in the other screams that you don’t care. If you don’t care, why should anybody else?
Nobody expects you to don a suit and tie for a half-hour follow-up session, but smart casual should be a bare minimum. Keep any drinks at the desk to a glass of water or a mug of tea/coffee and leave the snacks for later. Remote meetings might afford you some leeway, but if you wouldn’t do it in-person, you probably shouldn’t be doing it online either.
Additionally, ensure that there are no distractions for others visible behind you. Where possible, find a spot where your camera looks out on a clean portion of the wall. When talking to clients, be mindful of anything in your room that could be offensive or viewed as insensitive if noticed.
This is an area we’ve written about before, but it’s absolutely vital in online meetings. Too often, people become distracted in a meeting. They might start reading emails or become fixated on something they see out of the window. When this happens, not only does productivity start to drop but others in the meeting can become frustrated.
It can be easy to lose focus during an online meeting, but people will notice. Eliminate distractions in your workplace and give the current speaker your full attention. Take notes as you go, and always remain aware of your body language. The signals you’re sending out will be picked up on by others.
Where possible, look directly into the camera. While it may not always seem intuitive, especially if your video feeds are not in the eye-line of the camera, it will help you pay attention to what is being said. More importantly, it will ensure that the current speaker feels that you’re taking notice. This is especially useful when talking with prospects and clients, and helps bridge gaps and make video conferencing feel more personal.