Many people around the globe are working from home for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic. During this time, it is important to stay connected to your colleagues with frequent video meetings and conference calls, but if you are not used to this technology is can be tricky to get it right. Here are our top tips for making your video meetings more effective.
Set an agenda before the meeting
Treat your virtual meeting the same way you would a face-to-face meeting and set a clear agenda beforehand. Be clear what you wish to discuss during the meeting to ensure that you stay on topic, and set a rigid time period for how long the meeting should last.
Designate a leader for the meeting
Video meetings can be tricky, especially when everyone is trying to talk at once. Assign a leader for each meeting, who can dictate whose turn it is to speak to avoid confusion.
You will find it much easier to hear everyone if you wear headphones during the meeting. If you have headphones with a built-in microphone, they will also pick your voice up more clearly, making the meeting easier to hear.
Set up a home office
Don’t be tempted to participate in a video meeting from your dining table or sofa. Set up a temporary home office space where you can sit at a desk in private, in a separate room to anyone else in your household. Keep the door shut and inform your household that you are starting a meeting to avoid pets and children interrupting.
Choose a neutral background
If possible, find a space with a neutral background such as a plain white wall so as not to distract or to seem unprofessional. Avoid setting up your call against backgrounds with wallpaper, colourful paint, mirrors or prints.
Always use your laptop
It can be tempting to use the apps on your phone rather than opening up your laptop, but this will just look unprofessional. If you use your computer to make the call, you also have your hands free to take notes.
Ensure your webcam is at eye level
If you place your laptop straight onto your desk, the camera will be quite awkwardly positioned. It’s worth testing a video call on a friend ahead of an important meeting, balancing your laptop on a pile of books or on top of a box to ensure that you have the right height.
Dress for work
It can be tempting to dress casually or just throw on a shirt with your pyjama bottoms for a video meeting, but that won’t present a professional demeanour. Always dress as you would for work, whether that means smart-casual or wearing a full suit.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.