Working from home, for many of us, is a foreign concept and it is taking some time to get used to this new way of living brought on by the current pandemic. However, there are some that have been working remotely for years, freelancers, CEOs, and consultants to name just a few. These workers come from a variety of different industries but one thing that is always necessary is meetings. Below we have provided some important things to consider in both the technical and practical aspects of virtual conferencing in order to help you effectively prepare for an online meeting.
The Technical Aspect
Since you will be online and using a computer to connect to your virtual meeting, you will need to pay attention to the technical aspect. This means testing your equipment and taking advantage of the features available to you.
Your internet connection is what will allow you to connect to the meeting itself and as such is the most important technical aspect you will need to test. Ideally, you want to have a high-speed internet connection but, as we all know, this is not always possible. If you have a less than ideal internet connection that you find slow, it is important to speak to any other members of your household and make sure that they avoid streaming any videos on platforms like YouTube or Netflix as well as ask that they refrain from downloading anything for the duration of the meeting. Both of these actions are liable to cause lagging and dropouts if they are done while you are in your meeting.
The second most important piece of technology you need to think about is your audio capabilities. This means your headphones and your mic. These are how you will convey the bulk of your information, so it is crucial that you have a working microphone along with a decent pair of headphones. The headphones are particularly important because, without them, the other members of the conference call are likely to hear feedback and echoes from your speakers. Be sure to test them through your computer settings or, if possible, perform a test call with another person.
Coming up just behind audio is your video capabilities, or in other words, your camera. You will want to find a spot with good lighting so that your co-workers can properly see you, and you will need to test your camera as well. Just like for your headphones and mic, you want to test your camera, ideally in a test call but you can do it through your computer settings if need be.
Your background is another important aspect and with virtual green screens, you can set your background to anything in order to fit the situation. Hello Backgrounds zoom virtual background is packed with essential features that help you maintain a professional appearance even if your home is untidy or crowded. You can also use backgrounds to add humor to your meetings, and there are plenty of options available for almost any situation.
Recording your meetings:
You will often find that at least one member of your meeting will be unable to make it on time or will simply have to cancel. A great feature of virtual conferences is that you can record your meeting, allowing whoever missed out to easily catch up on what was said and done, keeping them up to date with no confusion.
The Practical Aspect
After the technical aspect, you also have to consider the practical aspects of your meeting, because you won’t be face to face with your team, it is even more important to properly prepare yourself before setting up a conference call.
As with any meeting, virtual or otherwise, you must have a list of concrete objectives that you want to achieve or discuss prior to the meeting. If possible, you should also forward these objectives to the other members of the meeting ahead of time to give them the same amount of time to prepare in order to efficiently contribute.
Being clear is always important but due to the nature of virtual meetings, people will often just nod and accept what you say, because of this you must prepare at least some of what you plan to talk about and ensure that it is clear, concise, and understandable. You should also make a point of asking if anyone has questions as some people prefer to stay quiet for fear of disrupting the meeting.
Time management is another aspect that is more important in virtual meetings than physical ones. People get bored in meetings, that is just a fact of life, but sitting on your couch or in your office in your own home will greatly increase your chances of getting distracted or bored because your mind is not used to working from home. Try to keep all virtual meetings under 45 minutes and be sure to take breaks to keep everyone fresh and focused.
While many of us already have the capability to host or join a virtual conference call, be aware that some people may be missing vital aspects like a webcam. Be sure to speak to any members of your team to ensure they have the equipment necessary if they need anything like a webcam or a microphone, you can work it into your budget in advance.