Associations, companies and other organizations have been using conference and video calling to meet and conduct business for many years. Most of us are very experienced with the process and have developed methods to be productive and polite when holding these “virtual” meetings.
During the last few weeks the sheer number of virtual meetings and volume of participants has grown exponentially. Because of this increased use it seems some calls may be less productive than they should be and many of us have forgotten our virtual meeting etiquette. Check out these videos of what some of your calls may be like:
A conference call in real life
A video call in real life
So, what are some of the best practices for virtual meetings?
Here are some to consider.
- Login to your call at least 10 minutes ahead of time to make sure your technology is working and you have time for any new updates to run before the call.
- If a video call, make sure to view what your video looks like before the call begins. Are you framed properly? Is the lighting good enough so people can see your face?
- When entering the meeting, don’t just start talking. Wait for an opening and say your full name clearly.
- When you aren’t talking, leave your phone/computer on mute.
- If you’re the chair of the meeting, make sure to start the meeting on time. Time is precious and people who planned ahead and prepared for the meeting shouldn’t be made to wait for latecomers.
- Have an agenda for every call. The best practice should be to share that agenda in advance with all participants. If that’s not possible, share your screen and/or review the entire agenda at the beginning of the call so all participants understand what’s to be addressed during the meeting.
- Clearly state the purpose/goals of the meeting at the beginning.
- When you would like to talk, don’t just jump in. Wait for a pause, then say, “This is Rick” and wait for the meeting leader to acknowledge you. If you’re using a video call, you can also use the Raise Hand feature and wait to be acknowledged by the meeting leader before you speak.
- Keep your remarks brief. Don’t repeat what others have said. You can say, “I agree with Beth. Additionally, I think …”.
- If you’re doing other things while on the call, freeze your video frame or turn video off so you aren’t distracting the other meeting participants.
- When the meeting is concluding, the leader should summarize the actions taken and any assignments made. If another call is necessary, plans for scheduling that call should be made.
If you have additional best practices you think are effective, please feel free to add them by replying to this blog posting.