Virtual Meetings: Tips for Beginners
Updated: Feb 4, 2021
As a Virtual Office Administrator it’s important for me to stay connected and I like to meet my clients face to face, at least initially. We’ve been lucky in Perth and it’s mostly been business as usual, but this week we’ve been reminded of the need to remain vigilant and are once again in Covid lockdown (hopefully short-term).
A lot of people have gone back to working from home and can enjoy a more relaxed working environment and this is great, but I’m constantly surprised at the number of people who don’t do virtual conferencing well. Virtual meetings are easy once you get used to them and they're a great way to keep in touch with clients, colleagues, family and friends.
Choosing your platform
Find technology that works for you and stick with that if you can. I mostly use Zoom because it’s free and easy to set up and use, but do your own research and find a platform that you’re comfortable with.
Trial it in advance and get familiar with how it works. Test your video and audio, see how you look on the screen and explore the settings to see what’s available (Zoom lets me ‘touch up my appearance’ – a feature I have as a default setting).
Setting the scene
Choose a location where you won’t be distracted or disturbed and check your backdrop to make sure it’s appropriate. No-one needs to see your dirty laundry or be distracted by domestic activities, so use one of the backdrops provided or upload your own picture if you need to.
Make sure your lighting works on screen. You don’t want to look like you’re working in a cave, but you don’t want to blind people with glare either.
Keeping up appearances
Dress appropriately. Pants are not optional for most video calls and there are some things people just don’t need to see. If you are going to take short cuts (business on the top – casual on the bottom), check your camera angles and try not to move around too much.
Set up a profile photo. You can turn off your video once the meeting has started (you may find this helpful if you have a lot of attendees or a slow internet connection), but it’s nice to have a profile photo if you do, so people can put a face to your name.
Log in early, so if you have technical issues you can resolve them before the meeting starts, or let someone know you’re unable to attend.
Use headphones to minimise sound distortion and mute your microphone until you have something to contribute.
Engage like you would in a face to face meeting - show you’re interested and get involved. Raise your hand (there’s an icon for that), ‘unmute’ your microphone when you want to say something and participate in the group chat if appropriate.
Practice makes perfect
You’ll feel more confident if you know how everything works, so set up a meeting with someone who’ll give you honest feedback and have a play.