Online virtual meetings have seen a surge in the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing businesses everywhere to have their employees work from home. While it has been quite a change that many of us have had to adapt to, there are plenty of people that have been using virtual meetings instead of in-person interactions for years.
Remote workers and freelancers are some of the most notable professions that have been using this technology long before it became a necessity and thanks to their experience, below we can provide some tips on how to enhance your virtual meeting experience.
Talk to the camera
When most people start using virtual meetings and video conferencing, they will instinctively look at the people on their screen when talking, this is because in a face to face interactions we are taught from a young age to look at the person you are talking to.
However, in a conference call, the people on the other side cannot see who you’re looking at, and instead, it just looks as though you are looking below them. While it may feel odd at first, when speaking try to look directly into your camera, this will help to engage the people you are talking to and reinforce the points you are making.
Think of your framing
With the huge number of videos on YouTube, you have probably already seen what poor framing looks like. The speaker’s head is partially hidden, their lighting is either too poor or too bright, or they are too far away or close to the camera. This not only looks unprofessional, but it will also do little to keep your audience listening as they are more likely to be distracted by the poor quality of what they are looking at.
Instead, be sure to prepare for this in advance, find an area in your house to sit at with good lighting, and make sure you know how anywhere to position yourself in relation to your camera. We recommend that you open up the camera app on your device and test it out before joining any meeting so you can always look presentable.
Another thing that many people forget about is their background. If you have distractions behind you like a cluttered room, people walking around, or even if you simply have sensitive data behind you, people will focus less on what you’re saying and more on what is going on behind you. To prevent this, you can use one of the top Zoom virtual backgrounds from Hello Backgrounds to not only maintain a professional appearance but also to hide anything you may want to keep away from unwanted viewers for whatever reason.
Make use of the features available
Applications like Zoom offer plenty of additional features to help with the overall meeting experience as well as helping you share information and ideas. For example, you can use screen sharing to quickly and efficiently share information, and you can use virtual whiteboards to brainstorm and discuss new or existing ideas, almost as if you were in a meeting room with a physical whiteboard.
Keep people engaged
One of the biggest challenges with virtual meetings is keeping people engaged with what is going on. Meetings can be boring at the best of times and having attendees in the comfort of their own home only exacerbates the issue. To try and combat this, try to set aside a few minutes before the meeting for an ice breaker or a brief chat instead of diving straight into business. It’s also important to take breaks frequently and try to keep any online meetings to 45 minutes or less to avoid anyone getting too bored or distracted.
This one should be common knowledge because we do it for face to face meetings but it can be easy to forget if you’re just sitting at home. Be sure to mute your phone and any notifications from your computer or other devices to prevent unnecessary interruptions from outside sources. This is something that we all do in ordinary meetings and it is just as, if not more, important when participating in a virtual conference call.