We’ve all gone digital lately. Many of us have had to resort to online means of conversing more than we’d like. But just like so many others, this change is actually a significant opportunity if you use it correctly. Zoom© should be helping, not hurting you right now. Instead of only using audio through a conference line, we’re able to meet “in person” with the benefit of visuals and the insight of body language. Virtual meetings have opened the door to higher-quality communication—it’s truly changing the way we do business. So, don’t shy away from the camera, learn how to use the spotlight to your advantage starting with these guidelines.
Virtual Meeting Basics:
- Know How to Use the Platform
Would you show up to a meeting without understanding how to use PowerPoint? Make sure you’re comfortable with the virtual platform you’re using, whether Zoom, Skype, or GoToMeeting™. Some skills to consider adding to your repertoire are how to add, remove, and mute attendees, how to share your screen, and how to implement or limit the use of the chat function.
- Early Bird…
Being late to a virtual meeting can actually mean you don’t gain access. And as addressed above, not understanding the platform cannot be an excuse. In many cases, the presenter will need to let you in, no slipping in the back this time. If you’re the presenter, arriving late to your own meeting will create doubt in your attendees, especially if they’re less skilled at this virtual platform.
- No Food Allowed
No eating—that’s the rule. Even if you’re on mute, no one wants to see you crunch on those potato chips you think they can’t see. They’ve noticed, which means they’re not paying as much attention to the actual purpose of the meeting.
Set the Stage:
Be conscious of your surroundings. Make sure your background isn’t distracting. We recommend a simple wall, potted plant, or bookcase. If you’re speaking with a potential client or patient, your accolades placed neatly on the wall can offer you more authority. Ultimately, eliminate clutter, and avoid distractions whenever possible.
Find balance between being too washed out and being too dark to see. If you have a window behind you, close the blinds so you aren’t backlit. Position yourself so that most of the light in the room is in front of you. There’s no need to buy a spotlight, a desk lamp or standing lamp will do wonders.
First of all, know when to mute yourself. If there is a loud noise in your area or you aren’t speaking, ensure your microphone is muted; you never know if something like a squeaky fan will become distracting background noise. Next, make sure to tell others in your office or your home when your meeting is and lock up your pets. Don’t be the next funny story going viral tomorrow.
- Stay Focused
No multi-tasking, they’ll notice. Ask yourself, would you check your emails if you were in the same room as the meeting attendees? Although it’s virtual, you can still give your team, client, or patient the respect the meeting deserves. Emails can wait.
- Maintain Eye Contact
It may be odd at first but do your best to look at the camera when you’re speaking or when you’re pushing your point. It’ll keep the eye of the attendee and make the presentation more personal.
- Dress for the Meeting
Dressing for the meeting as if it was in person may be going too far. There’s something about overdressing that can actually look unprofessional. We recommend still dressing respectfully and professionally, though. A button-down shirt with a necktie or a blouse with jewelry can maintain your authority. Oh, and don’t think that the quality of the video won’t pick up the food stuck in your teeth. Take a peek in the mirror before you get started.
- Be Conscious of Your Camera
Don’t forget that you are on camera. Muting yourself won’t hide the fact that you’ve left the room or you’re quieting down the kids. Also, be conscious of the camera angle. Make sure you’re more than a floating head on the screen. Try to put it at eye level and capture some of your shoulders in the shot as well.
If You’re Presenting:
- Use Your Tools
Know how to share your screen and come prepared with examples to visualize your point. Presentations can be made just as you always did but now you can also switch between programs with ease.
- Consider Your Connection
The worse thing you can do, especially if you’re the host, is to lose your audience. But imagine actually losing them due to a bad connection. Add some security by simply plugging in with an Ethernet cord.
We know changing your communication channels can be challenging but don’t be afraid of progress; use this time as an advantage. While others are still tripping on their virtual toolbox, you can showcase your ease and expertise by learning how to properly wield yours. Learn more about how to not only survive but grow during a time of recession, call 973-809-5466 to get started.