Last Updated on May 5, 2021 by Chillibreeze
It is the 21st Century, and everything is evolving around us; technology has brought us closer, especially in the last two years.
We are constantly on our phones, with the availability of the internet, we can make video calls. We can see and talk to one another from across the world.
Technology has brought us closer, and it has made it possible for us to work from home; we can have important meetings, hold sessions, and connect from our homes. Even students have online courses.
Having online meetings has become a regular thing for me; I have 2 to 5 online meetings daily.
So, I want to share some excellent tips I learned along the way, on how to attend a virtual meeting from your home without compromising on professionalism and productivity.
Step 1 – Turn Your Video Camera On
During my first online meeting here at Chillibreeze, I learned to always keep my video camera on. Keeping my camera on - shows that I am present for the meeting. It also pushes me to be attentive and not be distracted by the background activities at home.
I remember having my first meeting with a colleague, Jane, discussing a task we had on "Planning for a Marketing Campaign."
Jane did not switch on the video camera. During the discussion, it was pretty tricky to understand whether we are in sync.
Thinking that since she turned off her camera, maybe I should do the same, I turned off my video camera and continued the meeting. The meeting started to be less engaging. We were sharing our points of view, but I did not know if we were in sync.
When the meeting was over, I realized that I should have kept the camera on, and I should have requested Jane to turn on her camera too. We could have had an engaging and more productive discussion.
Step 2 – Be Alert About the Mute/Unmute button
Whenever you attend a meeting, before you start and while you wait for everyone to settle in, make sure your microphone is on mute.
If you are using Microsoft Teams – you can mute your mic before you join. If you are using Zoom – always check that your audio is connected before joining. Once you join, you can mute. Another thing to remember is to check your volume whether you are using a headphone or a speaker.
The mute and unmute clicks are always tricky – so be alert.
When I mute myself, I tend to forget to unmute when I speak.
I remember my first virtual meeting; I was so excited to share my insights that I totally forgot that my mic was muted. I continued rambling with so much confidence when I heard a voice saying, "We can't hear you. You are muted!" I was so embarrassed.
So, I am sharing this tip with you, so you do not make the same mistake 😉. Just be aware of that!
Another tip is always to remember to mute again when you are done speaking. This way, when the other person starts to speak, they do not get distracted by your background noise.
Step 3 - Set a Clear Agenda
Setting a plan beforehand gives you the direction towards achieving your goals. Similarly, when planning to have a meeting, it is always advisable to have a clear agenda for the discussion.
An agenda will give a visual road map to the one who conducts the meeting and to the others who join the session. This will help us stay focused on the points to discuss and not go off track from the purpose of the meeting.
Step 4 – Keep to The Time Fixed
Respecting people’s time always be punctual in starting and ending a meeting.
Whenever you have a meeting, whether you are just attending or moderating one, always remember to join at least 3 to 5 mins before time. This way, the person conducting the meeting can start on time.
For example, if you have a meeting at 11:00 a.m., make sure you join by 10:55 a.m.
It is essential to start on time, and it is important to end on time – a professional thing to do.
If the meeting is set to an hour, be on guard to end within that timing or as per the set duration.
Normally business meetings are called to help some collective decisions. Therefore, focus on the outcome of the meeting.
Step 5 – Ensure Engagement
During an online meeting, chances of distractions are high - as all the people are not in the same room. So, getting attendees to focus is the moderator's job. The moderator needs to drive an interactive discussion and ensure engagement.
As a moderator, make sure that all the attendees participate in the discussion.
How will you know whether everyone is participating or not?
One thing that helped me was by asking questions. We hold meetings to communicate and share our views, so we want to make sure that our thoughts reach the attendees, and they have a clear understanding, right?
The same goes for the attendees; you will want to show that you have understood and got the message loud and clear. So, even if you do not speak, you can always use the chat section to share or use the emojis to show that you understand or raise a hand to ask a question if you didn't.
These are some basic tips on how to run a virtual meeting.
If you are hosting a meeting for the first time, make sure to have a plan beforehand. Check out the tools of the platform before the actual meeting. There are more things to know on how to run virtual or online meetings. But these tips helped me when I started conducting virtual professional meetings.
I hope this helps you. 😊
If you have any more exciting tips, share them as comments below.