The Covid-19 pandemic has brought seismic shifts to how the world does business. By now, many are familiar with the trends the pandemic has brought about, such as using remote sites for documents and contacting colleagues through mobile means. One of the most important components of this new normal by far has been the use of video conferencing tools.
There are a few different tools for communicating through video, such as Webex, GoToMeeting, and Google Meet, but the most popular in this slate has been Zoom. Zoom is an effective and expansive tool for all of your video meeting needs, but there are a few fundamental principles of remote meeting which may not be readily apparent just through using the tool. Here are a few great practices to follow when Zooming with your team or employees.
- Treat virtual meetings with a great degree of professionalism
- You’re in charge of the meeting, it falls on you to run it smoothly and effectively
- Distractions should always be kept to a minimum, primarily through muting
Always Prepare Thoroughly
Many feel more relaxed with remote meetings than they would during an in-person meeting. This can be a positive thing for many reasons but being more relaxed also runs the risk of preparing less thoroughly than you would for a meeting face-to-face. Preparing for a virtual meeting should be just like preparing for any other meeting.
You’ll want to know what your main objectives of the meeting are and find a way to guide your team through these in an efficient and effective manner. Furthermore, you’ll want to optimize your Zoom screen for maximum focus and professionalism. There are a few different options you can choose from on the Zoom to make sure you’re not disturbed while you’re hosting or participating in the meeting.
You should test your audio and video before the meeting to decrease the likelihood of bus or other errors. Finally, you should secure your Zoom meetings to ensure no unwanted visitors enter the meeting. You can secure meetings by requiring a pass code, only allowing verified users to attend, and locking the meeting.
Run The Meeting Your Way
Once you’ve prepared yourself and your team for the meeting, it’s time to run it as smoothly and effectively as possible. There can be some hiccups during the course of an average Zoom meeting, but there are also many ways to counteract this bumps in the road before they occur.
You should routinely remind your team to mute themselves when they aren’t presenting, to allow them to focus on the team member speaking. If they want to speak during the meeting, they should type their name into the chat window; this will keep the meeting running smoothly and in an orderly manner.
Additionally, make sure they’re recording the meeting if need be, just in case they need to run through some of the points at a later time. Make sure they know to look at the webcam and not the screen when they’re speaking and remember to unmute themselves. On your end of the meeting, be selective about screen sharing and make sure you have the process down before the actual day of the meeting.
As mentioned above, it can be easy to become too relaxed when entering into a virtual meeting. After all, the meeting is actually taking place from the comfort of your own home, right? This mindset can be dangerous though because the sheen of professionalism can be easily tarnished. You should always make an effort to dress professionally if you’re entering into a virtual meeting, as should the rest of your team.
Double check to make sure your lighting is presentable and won’t obscure your face in glare or silhouette. It’s also usually best to choose a neutral background that won’t create any distractions for your team and maintain consistency in your meetings throughout the days and weeks. Always remember that even though this may seem outwardly casual, you’re still talking with your colleagues and that their time is to be taken seriously and respected.
Finally, your camera should be placed on a steady surface to prevent shaking and create greater stability. If you’re switching locations or absolutely have to speak to someone in the room, turn your camera off and mute yourself so you don’t cause a distraction.
Command The Attention Of The Room
To combat the loose feeling of meetings, you should make clear to your team that this is still a professional setting and that side conversations should not be had. Emphasize the need for respect and attention to detail as if this were an in-person meeting rather than a virtual one.
You’re in charge of this meeting, just as you’d be in charge of a meeting taking place face-to-face, so it’s your responsibility to make sure things are running smoothly and efficiently. Remind your team of the value in not making any distractions and the seriousness of the meeting for the state of your company and your goals.
You can even remind your teams that transcripts of meetings are saved on Zoom, as extra incentive to keep the meeting professional. As long as the meeting can be conducted without major distraction or error, you’re doing a great job.