Because of the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, everybody is provided with the guideline to strictly maintain social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus. Social distancing has created a huge impact on the working culture too.
Those who used to come to the office to work are now working from their homes. This time of crisis has opened a portal for those who have been working from home to use enterprise software for virtual meetings.
The Microsoft team noticed a 500 percent increase in virtual meetings, calls, and conference usage in China since the end of January. And since the outbreak, this wave of virtual meetings have been rising throughout the world as they are now the only way to keep business activities running.
A virtual meeting can be a lifesaver as it is the only way to keep the employees motivated and business running. But what if the meetings don’t go smoothly? 37% of business professionals find sitting and waiting for the remote people to join the meeting a regular timewaster. Several technical and communication-based challenges might hit you hard while conducting a virtual meeting.
Whereas a smooth virtual meeting will help to keep the morale of the employees high and achieve the business goals more sooner. A good founder or the owner of the company should also be an expert when it comes to conducting super-effective virtual meetings.
Since virtual meetings have become an integral part of our business now, here are some effective ways to make the virtual meeting more professional.
First, you need to prepare yourself before the meeting begins. Prepare the agenda of the meeting and make sure that you are clear about it in every way. You should also be sure of what you will be speaking so that you have everyone’s attention. You should also be sure of the priorities to be placed forward. Prepare yourself in every possible way so that all the matters get covered without anyone getting bored.
Like you prepare for the meeting, others also need time to prepare themselves. They also need to know about the agendas and priorities. So, you should provide them a pre-text of the agendas and priorities of the meeting at least a few hours before it starts. In short, you need to notify everyone about the meeting in advance.
Scheduling the meeting will be the best option.
You won’t be able to focus if someone distracts you while you are in the middle of a meeting. So, make sure you have your own personal space while you are attending the meeting. You should also let your family members know that you will be attending a meeting so that they don’t disturb you in-between. If you are in your personal space it will keep you calmer and composed during virtual meetings.
Rooms with good lighting look way professional than a dark or semi-dark room. It is also important for people to see you as the main aim of the video call is to show your face, your expression, and your eye contact. So, always make sure that your room is well lit before the meeting begins.
Many people might ask whether a device matters or not. Since it is about attending professional meetings, so, device matters. But many people would also say that mobile phones can be used for conference calls too. Yes, but a laptop camera with the focus fixed at you would really look more professional than the shaky view of you from your mobile camera.
But also take note of the fact that with a laptop or a desktop, it becomes easier to take notes or share your screen which might be pretty hard with a mobile.
Check the tech you are using before the meeting begins. Make sure that your mic and your camera is working well. You need to check your video quality and your sound quality. You need to look for any technical issues and solve them before the meetings begin.
Also, you should be intuitive about the technical problems that might occur during the meeting. So, you should be aware of the power backup and your internet issues too.
Your mobile phone and social media could be a big distraction factor for you. Turn off your notifications so that you won’t get distracted in-between. Looking at the notifications during the meeting not only distracts you but everyone present in the meeting as well. They might get annoyed if you don’t pay attention or make eye contact when they are talking to you.
Also, you should not multitask by ignoring the rest of the people. So, get rid of your mobile phones unless it is an emergency or you are in a conference call using your mobile.
Video call is preferred over voice call as you will have an eye over whoever is on the other side. People will be more focused if you are in a video conference with them as you will always have eye contact with them. It is easier to share information through video conferencing. If required, you can share your screen too to point out the information easily. This also helps to prevent any confusion and misunderstandings.
The first impression is the last impression. Greeting everyone at the start of the meeting helps to impress either they are your clients or your team members. It works as an ice-breaker too. Starting the meeting with a warm greeting will also help to maintain a respectful environment too.
Greeting everyone helps to establish a good relationship with everyone and it also helps to set a positive vibe in the meeting.
Always refrain from discussing less important matters at first. Be straightforward and get started on what you were supposed to say or talk about. Always discuss the important matters first so that the purpose of the meeting is fulfilled. Important matters could be the problems you are facing when working or the plan for the next sprint or anything related to making a project successful.
Eye contact is absolutely necessary. Always look at the camera unless someone is sharing his/her screen to point out something. Looking at the camera gives the impression of looking at them directly which helps to make connection strong, also, you will have everyone’s attention.
Avoid looking here and there and avoid looking at the mobile during the meeting.
You should never interrupt when someone is talking. Interrupting someone when talking interrupts the flow of information. The gist of the information might not be understood.
Interrupting someone in the middle might trigger them to get annoyed. To avoid interrupting someone, take turns to talk. And talk only when someone is finished talking.
Always be an active listener. It helps you to learn something new and catch the main points. It also helps to promote better team participation since it helps everyone to feel like they are being heard. It will give freedom for everyone to share their opinions.
Always mute your mic and listen actively when someone is talking to prevent unnecessary noise.
You also need to give attention to the length of the meeting. Make your meeting length as short as possible. Share the agenda of the meeting before it begins so as to discuss the important matters. This helps to reduce the meeting time.
Sometimes, it is difficult to attend the meeting or someone can only be present for a short period because of other urgent matters. And also to make the meeting more livelier and engaging so that everyone understands the core essence of the meeting very quickly.
Before the meeting ends, you need to ensure that everyone understands the matters clearly. You need to make sure that everyone gets the message clearly, understands their roles, understands their priorities, and so on.
You can also share information that you failed to do before. You can also ask your clients or your team members to raise any questions or to raise any points that they failed to understand. Ask for feedback with people too.
Always end the meeting with a Thank You. You need to appreciate everyone for giving their precious time to attend the meeting. It is perfect and a very professional way to end the meeting.
To make a virtual meeting successful, you need to focus on these etiquettes. You need to focus on the activities that should be done prior, during and after the meeting. Every virtual meeting starts with how you prepare yourself, then it comes to what value you bring to the meeting and how you handle the situation. Make use of project management and communication tools as much as possible. If you succeed at this then, you will excel to run your business by parallelly leading your employees during the hard times.
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