There has been a huge spike in the number of conferences online during the coronavirus pandemic, but If you are new to them you might not be aware of the do’s and don’ts relating to them.
Tip One: Understand the technology
There’s a lot of different video software out there – meetingrooms.net, zoom, google hangouts – and so on but they all tend to have the same features: a mute button, an option to share your screen, and a chat function to talk to other users. Some, like meetingrooms.net, have added features such as a multi-user whiteboard which allows you to share and explain complex concepts interactively.
One rule of thumb is to mute your microphone when you aren’t talking, or if you are going to cough or sneeze, as no-one wants to hear that. If you are unfamiliar with video calling try calling your friends and family to practice first.
Tip Two: Dress Appropriately
No-one needs to see you in your PJ’s or that you are not wearing pants. The best rule of thumb is to dress as if you were still going into the office, no swimsuits or strapless tops here.
The other thing to think about is what your colleagues might be able to see behind you. Lots of empty alcohol bottles or an overflowing basket of washing is not going to give the best impression! A neutral backdrop is best so that people don’t get distracted.
Tip Three: If an email will do instead, send an email
Video calls are fantastic if they have a point to them, but people can quickly be turned off from the impersonal interaction if the meeting seems like it a little pointless. To avoid this, only hold video meetings when they are absolutely necessary – if an email will do, send an email instead.
Also, don’t invite the world and his wife to your meeting – being faced with a page of faces can be daunting too – and make you feel unconnected. The other problem you may face, is that if people don’t know everyone else in the meeting, they might feel less able to speak openly.
Tip Four: Practice good manners
If you were in a meeting at work, you wouldn’t get your phone out and start to browse twitter – so don’t do it on an online meeting either. Make eye contact with the camera as much as possible, and turn your microphone off if you are going to start typing. When others are talking, sit forward as much as you can so that you look engaged – don’t slump on the sofa.
Like any other technology, meetings online software is neutral – it is all about how you use it. Don’t drone on for hours, only speak if you need to and don’t waste time – this is the best way to get the most out of you online meeting software.