The Dos and Don’ts of Virtual Meetings
The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has brought about changes to how we work. Working from home is the new normal, and while it brings with it many advantages, there are also certain challenges in maintaining that professionalism that comes in workplaces. Here are a few dos and don’ts for how you carry yourself in virtual meetings. Because while the venue and medium of meetings might have changed, its importance has increased even more for coworkers to stay in the loop.
1) Be presentable: Always give consideration to your appearance. You might not be meeting anyone in person but your appearance is still a big credential to your impression. You might have seen many disastrous videos surfacing of people getting caught with inappropriate attires in virtual meetings and that is not how you would want to be famous! Also always check your equipment to see that you can hear and be heard. This is imperative! Take care of the angle of cameras and lighting in your room, and make sure they flatter you! Being presentable also means taking care that you are in a quiet place and have a reasonably professional background.
2) Don’t be disordered: Working from home can come with a lot of distractions and it is your job to not let it disorder and disorganize you and your schedule. While on virtual meeting it might be very tempting to multitask, as everything is on your computer. But it is important to give your attention to the meeting at hand and not open that next browser. Being prepared is a must even if the meeting is a virtual one. So do your research, know who needs to attend the meeting if you are organizing one, send invitations on time, if you are attending a meeting be on time. It might need more preparation if you are not just attending a simple staff update meeting but meeting a prospective client. You might need an even better pitch. So don’t take the liberty to be disordered just because the meeting is a virtual one!
3) Be mindful of your etiquette: Etiquette matters everywhere. Yes, also in virtual interaction. Be mindful of your posture, your way of speaking, and your overall personality. Working from your home does not give you the slack. Eating messily during meetings is a big no, of course, other than if you are invited to a binge eating meeting, in which case enjoy. Also do not move around too much while you are in a virtual meeting, as it is quite distracting. Mute yourself when you are not talking. Avoid gossiping in the chat sections. In short, do not do anything inappropriate that you would not do in an in-person meeting!
4) Don’t disappear: Have you ever felt tempted to mute yourself, shut off your web camera, and then disappear? Maybe dose off, or Netflix or eat? Don’t! Working from home has various distractions. You might have children to take care of, piles of chores pending, or various other agendas at hand. And as such you might feel like disappearing for a while will not cause any harm. But not only will you look extremely unprofessional if you are called and you don’t reply but you will also miss out on important information. It might start as a harmless act for the first time, but will cost you your time and your reputation. Stay alert!
Meetings become more important than ever when you are working from home, as it is one of the most effective means of sharing updates and information among your colleagues. Take care of your meeting manners. You wouldn’t enter meeting halls with loud background music, with your kids, pets, or other people; you wouldn’t doze off to sleep; you wouldn’t be underdressed; you wouldn’t be watching movies; you wouldn’t be joining in multiple calls or tasks; so don’t do these in virtual meetings either!