Best Practices for Managing Meetings Remotely
Perhaps you’ve recently become a “Zoomer” yourself: video-conferencing for the first time or managing the majority of your business remotely.
Whether you’re a tech pro or you are brand new to online meetings, everyone faces video-based communication challenges. Here are a few tips to make your online meetings a bit better:
1. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Often when we’re at home, we get a bit slumpy with our hygiene.
Before your meeting, take a minute to freshen up and to inspect your viewing area. Make sure the light is shining toward you (not from behind you) and that you sit in front of plain walls or more simple backgrounds. Some platforms will also allow you to enable HD options and click a “touch up my appearance” feature, which can smooth out wrinkles and blemishes in a flattering way.
2. Test in Advance
Before starting your meeting, preview your audio settings.
If you’re just using your laptop speaker and microphone, there’s not much to adjust. But if you’ve got a mic-headset combo you’d like to use, make sure it’s the audio is selected for both the Speaker and Microphone options before you start your call.
3. Have Participants Mute Themselves
When people aren’t speaking, their microphones can pick up minor background noises like chewing, sniffles, or typing. Even laughter from meeting participants can break up the audio flow, so ask people to mute themselves whenever they’re not talking.
4. Designate a Moderator
The 2019 State of Remote Work report found that interruptions and being talked over are two of the biggest challenges for remote meetings.
To maximize group discussion, it’s best if a moderator calls on people individually and asks others to hold comments unless they indicate they’d like to speak. Some software has a “raise hand” feature, or you can establish on-camera signals that indicate when participants are ready to share. Chat boxes can also be used to type comments.
Finally, consider saving 10 minutes at the end of the meeting for additional comments or questions.
5. Have Some Fun
Part of the enjoyment of work is social connections.
“When you are used to being in person and have to be online, build in room for chitchat,” says Erica Kuhl, a consultant who has devoted years to nurturing online training communities.
Research shows that if employees don’t have a rich, welcoming online experience, their long-term engagement will drop significantly. Leave 15 minutes at the beginning of meetings for participants to introduce themselves, to share a personal highlight, or to enjoy some lighthearted banter. By building this in, you’ll have a more productive meeting overall.
Video Conferencing is Here to Stay
Now that we’ve gotten a taste for video conferencing, it may be here to stay.
Being on top of your video conferencing game is essential, so use this season to master the technique, and you will reap the benefits in the future.