Put your best face forward
A lot of things have changed in the past few months, including how staff meets to conduct business—virtual is now the norm. Meetings taking place in a virtual room on a computer does not mean that professionalism and formality are abandoned.
Zoom has a series of recommendations on how to keep meetings professional, friendly and productive.
First, keep in mind the age-old guidelines that apply to meetings whether in-person or virtual: be on time, maintain eye contact, pay attention, dress professionally, avoid eating and drinking, mind your body language, and be respectful to whoever is speaking to maintain a productive business environment.
Additional tips from Zoom include:
1. Make sure to introduce everyone at the beginning.
Just like a real meeting or social event, you wouldn’t initiate a conversation between two acquaintances who haven’t met without introducing them. The same practice applies to a virtual meeting. If there are participants who don’t know each other, make sure to introduce all parties you are hosting at the beginning to create a welcoming environment and stimulate engagement.
2. Ensure that you have a clean, work-appropriate background.
You want your attendees’ focus to be on the meeting content, not your messy office or your amazing art collection. By having a clean setting with work-appropriate art and decorations, you reduce the chance that attendees will get distracted. You should also try to attend the meeting from a quiet area that has minimal background noise and movement. Zoom’s virtual background feature is an easy way to eliminate background distractions when you have to meet in a messy or busy location. Dallas ISD has created virtual backgrounds to be used in meetings. https://www.dallasisd.org/virtualbackgrounds
3. Look into the camera when talking instead of looking at yourself.
If you’re looking at yourself on the screen while you’re talking, it will seem like your attention is elsewhere. Direct eye contact into the camera while speaking gives attendees the impression that you are looking at them rather than off to the side, which creates an environment where everyone feels engaged and present in the conversation. Be sure to position your web camera and monitor at eye level so you can look into the camera and simulate that eye-to-eye connection with other attendees.
4. Eliminate distractions and focus on the agenda.
Notifications from messaging applications, ringtones, and applications running on your desktop can be distracting, which can make your attendees feel disrespected and undervalued. Mitigating these distractions helps keep the meeting focused and free from interruption.
5. Be aware of your audio and video settings.
Check whether your microphone is unmuted and that your camera is on to ensure that all attendees can hear you and see you when you speak.
6. If you’re the host, stick around.
The general rule for meeting hosts: Wait until everyone else has left the meeting before hanging up so attendees can leave at their own pace and get any final words in before disconnecting.
For additional tips from Zoom, visit https://blog.zoom.us/category/how-tos/.