Tips for successful virtual meetings

Technology is keeping us connected right now, allowing us to go to meetings and attend classes in a time otherwise marked by physical distancing. Using virtual workspaces may be new to many of us though, and there may be some glitches to overcome before you truly feel comfortable using these technologies. Here are a few rules of thumb that can help.

Know your software

Don’t try using the virtual meeting software moments before you are supposed to be online. Take time to make sure it works, that all the plug-ins are installed and that you know how to use it competently before it’s time for your first use.

Be on time

Just like with any other meeting, you need to be on time. When working remotely it can be easy to lose track of time so it’s a good idea to set alarms to remind you of meeting times. Set them for a few minutes before so that you have plenty of time to use the bathroom, get a drink or do anything else you need to prepare. Also, give yourself time to deal with any potential technical difficulties.

Look into the camera and pay attention

Very few people enjoy seeing themselves on camera. However, it is important that you show your face in meetings. Look directly into the camera, and don’t try to multitask during your meeting. While it’s possible to multitask in a normal meeting in a video conference people will be watching more closely what you are doing, and it will be very obvious when you are not paying attention.

Take turns

You need to be careful not to talk over each other in virtual meeting spaces. Many meeting software programs have a “raise hand” function that can help organize who should be speaking. In those that do not it is important not to simply start talking and possibly cut someone off. Instead, wait for a pause in the conversation and then interject. 

The power of mute

When you aren’t speaking you need to mute your microphone. Extraneous background noise can be disruptive to your meeting. Even if you are in a relatively quiet space you can’t be sure of what may happen. Having your microphone on mute except when speaking will help avoid accidental interruptions.

Virtual meetings are the way of doing business for the foreseeable future. They can keep us connected, productive and from going stir crazy. We all simply need to follow a few guidelines to make sure those meetings run smoothly and that everyone gets the most out of them.