This year, many of us started working remotely and are spending far more time in virtual meetings, meet-ups, happy hours, webinars, and social gatherings. Since March, the Quantic Engagement Team, responsible for planning and hosting events for students and alumni, has held over 300 virtual events, averaging around 50 per month. Suffice it to say, they know a few things about making sure a conversation runs smoothly!
To help you better command your virtual conference room, the team has compiled their top ten tips to ensure that everything from your lighting to your muting etiquette go according to plan.
Arrive on Time
While it’s always ideal to be on time, it can be especially important in virtual meetings. The presenter may set some expectations for meeting etiquette within the first few minutes. Presenters also typically choose to save questions until a particular section or the end of the presentation. Write down your questions so that you don’t forget them.
Now that more of us are logging on from home, the amount of distractions has increased. Make sure to find a quiet place to log in to a meeting to ensure that you’re able to stay focused and limit background noise that could interrupt the call. Also, turn off notifications on your device and if you’re used to multitasking, try to resist responding to emails until after the meeting.
Choose a Neutral Background
Don’t distract your viewers with a busy background. Try finding a solid background or one without clutter. You want listeners and viewers to focus on what you’re saying, rather than the books on the shelf behind you.
Consider Your Lighting
If you’re planning to have your video turned on during a meeting, make sure that you are well-lit so that other attendees can easily see you. Find a space facing a window and make sure that the source of light is facing you, rather than coming from the side or behind you. Zoom also recently added a feature that helps you improve your lighting.
Test Your Device with the Meeting Platform
Before logging in to a meeting, make sure to take time to familiarize yourself with the features of the meeting room. Depending on the platform and device, you will want to know how to activate your microphone and video, mute yourself, and share your screen before joining the scheduled meeting. If you’re concerned about your internet connection, check out Zoom’s system requirements and consider running a test on your internet connection.
Add a Display Name
When possible, reset your display name on the account you’re using to join a video call. Otherwise, you may show up as the name of the device (e.g. Samsung 45XT3) rather than your actual name. This makes it difficult for the host or others on the call to identify you.
Use a Profile Picture
If you’re using Zoom or other video conferencing apps, it’s nice to have a profile picture in case you’re not able to share your video. This way other attendees can put a face to the name. It helps to give the meeting a little more personalization.
In a large meeting, having multiple mics turned on can sometimes be distracting. Make sure that you’re muted when you’re not speaking. This way it won’t pick up any background noise and you can unmute yourself to ask questions or present your part.
Respect Others on the Call
Reading social cues can be difficult in a virtual setting, but it’s no less important. To prevent interrupting others, keep an eye out for those who unmute their microphones. This is often a sign that they’re about to speak. If you do end up speaking over someone, that’s ok, just make sure to allow them a chance to continue.
Utilize the Chat Tool
If another person is speaking or presenting and you want to make a quick comment or share some information, it may be best to quickly post your idea in the chat box. Note that on Zoom and Google Hangouts you also have the option to send a private note to a specific participant.
During the pandemic, expanding and staying in touch with your network is still as important and essential for our work and well-being. Always remember that we have the tools to create and maintain meaningful connections. As we all become more comfortable connecting virtually, this can even be an excellent time to expand your global network from home.