We’ve all been in A LOT of virtual meetings and webinars the last few weeks, both big and small. We’ve experienced some awkward moments and probably had some technical difficulties. Here are a few things we have observed from the participant’s POV which can hopefully help us all make these experiences smoother, more professional and more valuable to each other.
1. Live Meeting Etiquette Should Apply
Understandably, there is a lot going on and things pop-up. As much as possible, try to avoid no-shows or last-minute cancellations. Just like you would give someone proper notice for missing or running late to a live meeting, bring that same respect to the virtual.
2. No More Sneaking in and Sitting in the Back Row!
If you’re late, often everyone can see you. They can see your face appear, or just an on-screen notification. Some platforms have different viewing capabilities and settings, so you may have some wiggle room. But keep in mind that on Zoom, hangouts and other group-centric platforms people can see you even if you’re just a part of the audience. Yes, you can turn off your camera, but that may actually be more off-putting to your group. So, be on time and you may actually want to get dressed - at least business on the top ;)
3. Even Small Meetings May Need a Moderator
Yes, even your team meetings will need someone to lead and help move them along. If everyone tries to talk at once it’s going to be frustrating. Select an official “moderator” for every meeting to direct questions to a specific person, or rundown names as you answer a group-wide question. If going round-robin, the person presenting can volley to the next person to keep it moving as well. It’s much harder for virtual meetings to unfold as naturally unless your group is very used to it.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
If you have been on an Instagram Live where the host has had to explain to the 3rd person in a row how to join the live feed, you’ll understand what we mean. Make sure that you’re up to speed on the basics of any platform you’re using. Request that your team, and other participants do the same. Better yet, have a test run, if needed! Practice managing Q&A, or consider having someone else on your team pre-qualify questions if it’s too hard for you to talk and read at the same time. This will add a professional polish for external meetings or presentations. Pretty soon, jokes about “figuring this all out” won’t have the same connotation.
5. Set Yourself Up for Maximum Engagement
Whether you’re lucky enough to have brought your second monitor home, or can simply split your single screen - position your meeting window and any materials you need to reference so you can see both simultaneously. Minimize your other windows - especially your inbox! Turn off notifications, or turn on “do not disturb.” Try and stay focused, and of course look for the opportunity to keep meetings short to allow yourself and your team to give it your full attention.
6. Lighting is Everything!
Make sure that your lighting source is in front of you if at all possible. Sitting in front of a window is better for many reasons, but the most compelling is that you’ll look clear and bright to your meeting mates. If your back is to the light, you’ll look like a shadow blob and the benefits of the face time will be lost. Re: above, most platforms allow you to test your camera view, so take a moment before a meeting to adjust as need be.
7. The Missing Link
More than ever, we’re living link-to-link these days… make it as easy as possible for everyone to find the right link at the right moment. Add it to your calendar invite, put it at the top of your agenda, email or slack it out a few minutes before the meeting, etc. If you know that a certain platform will require download time, mention it and suggest everyone test it in advance. The faster you can get everyone online and into the meeting, the better the energy will be.
Have you observed anything we missed during a virtual meeting recently? We'd love to hear about it! Send us an email and let's connect, or fill out this form to schedule a free 30 minute virtual event consultation with a senior member of our team!