Video conferencing and virtual meetings are by no means new technology, but most of us haven’t had to use them due to having the luxury of being in the same office as our co-workers and able to have face to face meetings instead. Additionally, most people who have participated in virtual meetings likely had an IT team do all the setup and testing for you, making it much easier for you to simply sit down and get on with it. Now, however, things have changed, and the responsibility falls to each individual user to get their equipment set up and working to ensure the meeting runs smoothly. Here are a few tips for your next virtual meeting.
Check your equipment
The first thing you will need to do is to make sure you have all the necessary equipment and that it is all working properly. We also advise that you ask anyone else participating in the meeting to do the same thing to avoid any issues on their side.
Since this is how you will be communicating it is important that you have a good internet connection to avoid issues both on your side seeing other members of the meeting, and on their side with trouble seeing and hearing you. Ideally, you want to have a hardwired connection to your router or line of sight with it to ensure the best connection. If your connection is below average however, you will want to speak to anyone else living in your home and ask that they refrain from streaming videos or downloading anything while you are in your meeting. It may be useful to note that online gaming uses such a small amount of bandwidth that other members of your household can game as much as they want without affecting your call.
Your camera is something you can easily check through your computer settings by searching for it in your start menu. This will give you an idea of what the meeting will see so you can figure out the best spot with decent lighting. To add another level of professionalism or perhaps to add some humor to your meeting, when using Zoom you can also use a virtual green screen to hide your background there are loads of great choices to pick from and you can learn more about virtual backgrounds here. Using a virtual background can also help to reduce distractions caused by things behind you, but it will also hide your home if you would rather not have co-workers looking into your personal space.
Your webcam will more than likely come with a built-in microphone but if possible, you should look at buying a higher-end, dedicated microphone. The quality of your sound will be vastly improved and anyone listening will be grateful.
Make a meeting agenda
Virtual meetings have an increased chance of having their attendees get distracted at some point in the duration. This is because people are working from home and are generally more relaxed and while it may not affect the quality of their work, it can affect their communication and responsiveness in meetings. To mitigate this, try to keep meetings under 45 minutes long and be sure to create an agenda ahead of time. Your agenda should include, but is not limited to the following:
- The reason for the meeting
- The main topics you need to discuss
- The over goal
- Some ground rules for people to follow
The first three points will keep people focused and on track with the task at hand, while the ground rules will help to ensure everyone acts professionally to keep things running efficiently.
Use the virtual tools available
You may think that a virtual meeting is inferior to a physical one but with modern technology, there is little difference. You can use things like screen sharing and virtual whiteboards to help share information, brainstorm ideas, and more effectively discuss different topics.
Consider recording your meetings
The last tip we have for you is to consider recording your virtual meetings, this is a feature that in-person meetings typically don’t have but in virtual meetings this can be done by the push of a button. Recording your meeting means you have to take fewer notes and it is also a great way for anyone who missed the meeting to stay up to date with current events without fear of missing vital details.