How to Show Up for Virtual Meetings
Virtual meetings are held every day and everywhere. They can be fun, exciting, engaging, and effective. They can also be frustrating, boring, and unproductive. Why? Well, it could be all due to you! Even the best planning and the best facilitating can be destroyed by what you do as a host/leader/participant.
That’s why it is important to know how to prepare for and participate in virtual meetings. After all, if you could have an amazing meeting and complete your goals in one hour instead of four different meetings, wouldn’t that give us all more time to do something else? If you lead or facilitate meetings on a regular basis, we have live webinars and online courses to help sign up and learn how to become a better facilitator!
From our perspective, virtual meetings are the same as in person meetings –you want to have other people see you as a professional and a valued member of the team. In this article, we decided to skip the basics and go straight to some more advanced techniques. These few simple suggestions will eliminate the normal distractions so you can focus on accomplishing your goals.
In Advance - Prepare
1. Be in the middle 1/3 of your screen.
2. Check your connection with fast.com or another site….make sure your lag speed isn’t affecting your participation
3. Create a great background photo – there are lots online. I take the photo and add my logo to it.
4. Make sure your full name, organization, credentials, and other information is on your log in. Think of it like a name tag – you want people to know who you are!
5. Dress as if sitting in an in-person meeting. Not only will this make you look like a professional, but you will also feel like a professional.
6. Make sure your lighting in not a distraction: it’s best to have your main source of light be in front of you. Chose a window to face, or if not, have a lamp on your desk to light your face. We recommend ring lights, many of which are small enough to clip on your laptop or phone. If your window is behind you, close the shades. You can even turn off overhead lights that are distracting.
7. If you have a door, CLOSE IT!! It’s a best practice to have a physical space/room for your virtual meetings. Put up a sign stating “in a meeting” on your workspace to prevent people from interrupting. If you can’t, make sure you are prepared to mute or turn off your camera if anything distracting is happening in your background.
8. Eat or drink before or after the meeting, not during because you might get a question mid-chew. Every well-designed meeting will take breaks, so you will have time to turn off your camera and take care of any personal business.
During the Meeting – Interact and Participate
1. Bring your patience and sense of humor!
2. Follow the ground rules from your facilitator. We have some recommended Virtual Meeting Ground Rules you can use as a start.
3. State your name before speaking so everyone knows who is talking and say “Thank You” at the end of your sentence so everyone knows when you are done.
4. Be respectful: stay focused on the meeting topic and agenda times.
5. Set a great example! Fully participate, even if it feels awkward or uncomfortable.
6. Keep comments and questions succinct and to the point as meeting time is precious and usually short. We call this “headlining”.
7. Allow for pauses as relay/reception time can be slow. Acknowledge that there may be awkward silences.
8. If you are “bumped off” by your internet, please don’t walk away – try to log back in as soon as possible.
Enjoy the virtual!