A lot of us have had to adapt to a new way of meeting. Instead of sitting in a conference room, we now plug into video conferences from home offices, complete with all of the conveniences and distractions that offers. The problem for so many of us is that we’ve learned a certain way of acting for an in-person meeting. They feel a certain way, follow a certain protocol, but these new ones just don’t feel the same. Let’s face it, there are a lot of do's and don’ts of remote meetings.
So what do we do? Typically we fall into a few pitfalls as we try to embrace this new normal, and we may even be less effective for it. Not to worry. We completely understand, and that’s why we’ve put together this list of do’s and don’ts to help you have more effective remote meetings.
Let’s start by talking about the microphone. Do you leave it on? Mute it? When do you do either? It seems like such a little thing, but it can cause big embarrassment. Here’s a good rule of thumb, when you’re not speaking, mute the mic. This will keep your background noise interrupting the speaker, and also let you focus. Just remember to unmute it when you are ready to speak.
Center Your Camera
Nothing is quite as distracting as an odd camera angle. It’s true, having your camera too high, too low, or at an odd angle can distract from your message and leave people focused on the wrong things. Before logging into your remote meeting, take a moment to test your camera and center it. The results will be great.
Get the Lighting Right
When it comes to visual distractions, there’s one item that ranks right up there with odd angles…bad lighting. Part of the reason remote meetings are set up on video conference platforms is so you can be seen. But our home offices are often made out of necessity instead of planning, which can lead to a dark image where you can’t be seen. To prevent this make sure you have the light on your face and adjust it while testing your camera. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but we do want to see you.
It’s tempting to try and multi-task when you’re on a remote meeting. Your computer is already open. Surely you can just take a moment and catch up on emails, right? Wrong. It will be very obvious if you’re reading or looking at something else during your meeting and it’s disrespectful to other participants. Close the other windows, maximize the meeting, and stay focused on success.
Dress for Success
It’s tempting to spend your work at home time in your most comfortable t-shirt and gym shorts combo. After all, you’re not going anywhere. Might as well save some time and be comfortable, right? There are times when you can do that, but when you’re on remote meetings you still need to project a professional image. Not only will it convey professionalism to other participants, but it will also get you in that pro mindset and help you succeed.
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