So many of us are learning that video meetings, presentations, and interviews are becoming a regular fixture in our work schedules. There are simple changes we can all make to be more productive and professional during video meetings, from avoiding background distractions to finding our best light. The most important step though is to treat a video meeting as closely as possible as you would a meeting in person. Keep reading for our top ten tips for video meetings!
1. Lighting is key
Natural light is ideal, if you can, sit with a window in front of you. If the window is behind you, you will appear on the call to be in a dark or shadowed room. If its evening, poor weather, or you don’t have access to natural light, try to have artificial light sources that illuminate you from the front. This is more flattering than direct overhead lighting.
2. Know how to share your screen
Make sure to have what you’re trying to present queued up and ready to go before the meeting starts. This way, you can jump into the PowerPoint presentation, Excel spreadsheet, or web document immediately when you click the screen share button.
3. Know how to mute/unmute yourself
There are often keyboard shortcuts, such as clicking the space bar, to switch between a muted or unmuted mic, depending on the video platform you are using. Additionally, if you’re the meeting host, know how to mute everyone upon entering the meeting. This can help if you are presenting a webinar and do not want any interruptions.
4. Distracting background?
Think about what is visible in your background. Is it a cluttered room that could be visually distracting or a common area of the house with people walking through? Is it full of windows behind you, that will illuminate the background thus putting your face in a shadow? All of these elements are important to check before your video meeting.
5. Background noise
Think of the background as not just what could be visually distracting, but also the audible distractions. Do you have children, pets, electronics, or other sources of noise that could be potentially distracting? Try to move to a quiet area so others in the video meeting can easily hear you when you speak.
6. Living with others
If you are living with others who are also working, studying, or playing at home, let everyone know in the morning about your day’s meeting schedule. If they know you will be on a video call from noon to 1 pm, there will be fewer unexpected interruptions. If you have smaller children, see if you can plan meetings around nap time or independent play time.
Remember that if you are on a video call for work, dress as if you are AT WORK! No PJs, giving the illusion that you are barely awake and available to work. There are plenty of comfortable and professional outfit options.
8. Be attentive and engaged during the call
As tempting as it is, try not to do any other work, send emails, scroll through your phone or eat during a video meeting. Try to look into the camera when you talk. When you’re not talking, make sure to pay attention to whoever’s speaking or sharing their screen and that you’re looking at any materials you may need to reference.
9. Stay organized
Are you in charge of the meeting? Email an agenda beforehand. It is tempting to start video meetings with some chit chat, but most participants will appreciate getting to the topics on the agenda quickly. If you are looking for participation and collaboration, make sure everyone has a chance to speak. After a meeting, send a summary of what was discussed, action items for team members to work on, and schedule the follow up video meeting.
10. Join a couple minutes early.
Treat a video meeting online just as you would treat a meeting in the office. Show up a couple minutes early to be prepared, have your notes ready, check your internet connection, check that your mic and camera are working and muted, etc. This means you will be ready as soon as the meeting begins!