While working remote is the norm for many people, for just as many, if not more, it’s brand new terrain. Learning the ins and outs of virtual meetings can take time and practice. At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve seen the employee joining a virtual meeting from their bathroom to the employee whose family is blissfully unaware that they are on a video call.
Here are 6 tips to make sure your meetings are professional and productive while working from home.
- No typing. While it may sound like normal typing to you, it sounds like banging on the keyboard to others on the call. If you’re taking notes, do so quietly with pen and paper.
- Dress for work. Well, at least from the waist up. There will be days when you don’t have any virtual meetings and can wear your favorite t-shirt from a concert you went to 10 years ago. But on the other days, you’ll be seen by your co-workers, members of management, clients, and prospects, so you need to look the part.
- Mute your mic. When you’re not talking, be sure to mute your microphone. From background noise to audio playback, distracting audio negatively impacts any meeting. And don’t forget to turn off secondary devices like cell phones, tablets, and computers. Notifications and vibrations can be very disruptive.
- Let your voice be heard. When you join the meeting, say hello, and let everyone know you’re there. When it’s your time to speak, be sure to speak up. Everyone wants to hear what you have to say.
- Wait your turn. Without being in the same room, it’s hard to observe cues indicating that someone wants to speak. When possible, raise your hand – either virtually or physically - to be recognized before speaking. The chat option is a great way to share opinions and comments without speaking over someone else.
- Don’t forget about your camera. If you join a meeting before the organizer, many times your camera will automatically turn on when he/she arrives. You don’t want to be caught grooming yourself or walking around in your under garments. Assume that once you join the meeting, your microphone and camera are sharing your every move.
Even though it’s virtual, you are still attending a meeting, so no food or snacks, and be sure to pay attention. Eliminate distractions by closing your inbox. Sit up straight and show that you’re engaged in the conversation or topic at hand. Lastly, don’t let your background be a distraction. Your peers may have a hard time focusing on your message when the pile of laundry behind you starts to move thanks to the family pet.
The abrupt transition to remote work has been challenging for many of the people involved. These steps will help maintain professionalism and effectiveness with virtual meetings.