Online meetings are a great way for businesses to save time and money, but they can be tricky if you don’t know how to conduct yourself.
When it comes to online meetings, there are some dos and don’ts that need to be followed. If you want your meeting to go smoothly, then you should make sure that you follow these guidelines.
The Dos of Online Meetings
Online meetings are becoming increasingly popular and in many cases, they can replace face-to-face meetings.
The first thing to do is to prepare before the meeting. This includes researching the person you will be speaking to and what their company does. It’s also important to have a plan that includes a list of topics you would like to discuss and questions you want to ask.
When it comes time for the meeting, make sure that you have your computer set up and are ready with your webcam turned on, microphone enabled, and video feed set up properly.
The first impression you make is the most important one. We may not be able to control how we are introduced and what people think of us, but we can control how we introduce ourselves. A good way to start an online meeting with someone new is by asking them about themselves. This will show that you are interested in them and care about them as a person. Make sure to join the meeting on time or a little early to show your interlocutor that you value their time.
During the meeting, speak up clearly while using a headset so that all attendees can hear and understand what is being said. Listen carefully and take notes on what is being discussed so that when it’s your turn to speak, it will be easier for you because you will have all of the information at a glance.
Online meetings can be quite exhausting. That’s why you should keep them short by getting to the point quickly and staying on topic. You should also mute your microphone when you’re not speaking to avoid distracting other participants with background noise such as babies, dogs, or loud roommates for example.
At the end of the meeting, you should do a quick recap of what has been discussed and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the next steps. Remember to say goodbye as you normally would after an in-person meeting.
The Don’ts of Online Meetings
It’s important to remember that people who attend virtual meetings are not just sitting in front of their computers. They are human beings with feelings and emotions. That is why we should always be mindful of our actions and words during the meeting. Don’t be rude or aggressive during the meeting and avoid making jokes that might offend somebody else’s culture or religion.
It’s not a good idea to interrupt someone who is speaking during meetings. This is especially true for online meetings where it can be hard to convey tone and body language. If you want to make a point, don’t feel like you have to cut someone off in order to do so. Wait until the person has finished their sentence or thought and then share your thoughts with the group.
Don’t leave the meeting: that’s not something you would do in person so avoid leaving the room during an online meeting. If there’s someone at the door or if anything happens that requires your immediate attention, let other participants know you’ll be back in the chat, mute yourself, and turn your camera off. If your camera was already off, remember to let people know when you’re back. This will avoid the awkwardness of being asked something while you’re away from your computer, unable to answer.
Avoid having a side conversation in the chat. Unless you wanna add something to what’s being said, you shouldn’t use the side chat to have a conversation. This could be perceived as rude and disrespectful towards the person who is speaking.
Do not fall into the trap of multitasking. Working on other tasks during an online meeting would make you lose your focus and it wouldn’t be productive. Indeed, you wouldn’t be effective in your side task and not 100% available to properly listen and understand what’s being said in the meeting.
What About Hybrid Meetings?
If you are attending a meeting in person but some participants are not in the room, the rules are slightly different: this is what we call a hybrid format.
First, you should check the room configuration: if there’s only one camera, make sure you can be seen. Make sure that you are seated next to a microphone so that everyone can hear you clearly when you’re speaking. Make an effort to be heard by speaking up but not too loud so that you don’t annoy other attendees who are in the same room as you.
Don’t forget about remote people who are in the meeting. Make sure that you include them when speaking to the group and ask them questions. Let them speak first if you start talking at the same time because it’s not easy to read non-verbal communication when you’re remote. You will easily find another moment to share what you want to say.
Finally, take a few minutes to debrief with a remote colleague after the meeting as you normally would with people in the meeting room. Some great conversations often happen outside of meetings so don’t neglect them and catch up with remote participants afterward.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Please share them with your colleagues and let me know your best practices in the comments!