An increasing number of people are working remotely because of the pandemic. As a result, more meetings and interviews are conducted virtually. When you’re in a virtual meeting with your manager, colleagues, or clients via online conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet, that virtual environment becomes associated with your personal brand.
As such, if the online meetings you host are affected by distractions, tech issues, and poor audio, the entire experience will feel chaotic and undesirable. On the other hand, if you conduct virtual meetings without any issues, your personal brand will benefit from being associated with such a smooth and professional experience.
Here are some valuable tips on conducting virtual meetings like a pro:
Work from a quiet and carpeted room
When your room is empty and uncarpeted, it can result in echoey audio which is distracting for other people. Carpeted rooms with soft furnishings create the best audio experience during virtual meetings. If your room doesn’t have a carpet, you can place a rug on the floor and use some floor pillows to help reduce reverberation and create a better environment.
Good lighting is key
Poorly lit rooms feel dated and unprofessional. Make sure your desk has a strong yet soft light that can illuminate your face during a video meeting. You may also use 2 LED desk lamps with adjustable hue and intensity on either side of your webcam. Adjust it according to daylight conditions to create balanced lighting on your face. You can also use one large lamp instead.
Use a neutral background
While professional-looking bookcases, picture frames, or plants in your background aren’t essentially a problem, the safest option is to have a neutral-colored wall as the background. Shades of white or gray are highly recommended. Remember that anything in your background will potentially distract people from listening to what you say.
You can also try some virtual backdrops, there are quite a few professionally themed backgrounds for apps like Zoom or Skype, but you can also download some funny zoom backgrounds for private sessions.
Use your laptop, not your phone
While many people choose to do online meetings through their phones because apps can be very convenient to use, it’s not always the best idea. Use your desktop computer or laptop to host the call because it allows you to have a stable image and easily take notes. These can be difficult if you’re holding your phone or balancing it on a desk. At the very least, a tablet will do.
Use a reliable and good quality microphone
MacBooks and other high-end laptops have good quality built-in microphones that are appropriate for everyday use. However, in most cases, using external microphones result in better sound compared to built-in ones. If you don’t want to buy an external microphone, you can use earphones to create a more warm, conversational sound profile.
Test the technology
While it’s sometimes impossible to avoid technical issues from happening, you can reduce technical glitches by testing your online conferencing app in advance of your virtual interview or meeting. Upon initial use, most programs like Zoom, Whereby, or Microsoft Teams require you to grant audio access, webcam permissions, and screen sharing authorization that might involve restarting the program and/or your computer. It’s best that you do it in advance so you don’t end up coming in late to the meeting.
Dress the part
If you’re on a video call, you may feel tempted to simply throw on a blazer or jacket on top of your normal house clothes. Yet, dressing professionally is crucial. It’s highly recommended that you dress up as you would if you were meeting your colleagues in the flesh. Studies show that the way you dress has an impact on how you feel, which then affects how you speak, present, and interact with others. If you want more practical tips on how you can dress for success, make sure to check out the Marcus Sherman website.
Turn off notifications
Avoid distracting pop-ups either by turning off unnecessary applications or activating “Do Not Disturb” if you’re using macOS. Even if you think you’re able to ignore them, these notifications are cleverly designed to catch your attention. Not to mention, if you’re sharing your screen, you probably don’t want people to see that your partner is messaging you while you’re in the middle of a presentation.
Look at your webcam, not the screen, when talking
While this requires some practice, seasoned individuals who do a lot of virtual conference calls make sure to look at their webcam when listening or speaking to a specific person on the call instead of looking at their video image. While looking at your video image is perfectly normal, looking instead at the camera will make it seem like you’re looking directly at them, thus fostering a stronger connection.
These are just some amazing tips on how to conduct a virtual meeting like a pro. Of course, don’t forget to check off the basics too: be present at least five minutes before the scheduled time, prepare your presentation or study the relevant material in advance, and have a backup ready just in case your main internet connection fails.