Video conferencing, while it is by no means a new thing, until recent events it has never been quite so popular as it is now with no signs of this newfound popularity decreasing any time soon. The benefits of remote work and virtual meetings are plentiful but unfortunately, nothing is perfect and there is a fairly steep learning curve involved for office workers suddenly thrust into the world of virtual meetings. In an effort to make your life easier, here we have provided a few tips on how to enhance the effectiveness of your virtual meetings.
Preparation is essential
Preparing for an online meeting is almost more important than preparing for its physical counterpart due to the things that can go wrong. For example, if your setup has not been tested you may experience technical issues or since people are in the comfort of their own home they may get distracted easier or act unprofessionally. Aside from ensuring everyone tests their equipment, one important thing you should do is prepare an agenda for the meeting. This agenda can be time-sensitive or not, but the most important thing is that it includes the following points.
- The purpose of the meeting
- The topics to wish to discuss
- The decisions that need to be made
- The overall desired outcome of the meeting
Collaboration is key
In an office setting, the typical hierarchy of a manager assigning certain tasks to different members of a team may work fine. When working remotely this can easily cause issues with the sudden lack of communication between co-workers. To avoid this and to keep productivity high, put an emphasis on collaboration, and consider assigning projects to groups of workers rather than individuals.
Watch how long you go
One of the more serious downsides of virtual meets is something that has been dubbed ‘Zoom Fatigue’. This is when a person has been forced to attend too many virtual meetings and becomes fatigued, overworked, and in some cases depressed. To prevent this it is important to not only keep your meetings to a minimum but also to ensure that you avoid having your meetings go on too long. Try to keep any virtual conference to around 30 minutes and avoid going over 45 minutes if possible. We understand that this may not always be possible, however, so in the event that you do need to go over 45 minutes, be sure to take plenty of breaks to help people stay focused and relaxed.
Minimize potential distractions
While the primary means of communication in a virtual conference call is the audio aspect, visual distractions can easily occur and can completely derail a meeting if they are not prevented. Prevent distractions in your background by implementing a Zoom virtual background that will hide anything behind you and allow you to keep a professional appearance regardless of whether you have a messy home, people in the background, or even if you have sensitive information visible. These virtual backgrounds can even be used to add a little humor to your meetings, with the vast selection of options available you can pick a serious background like a city skyline, or something less serious like a spaceship cockpit or a shark-infested seafloor. Whether you use them to remain professional or to get a laugh, Zoom backgrounds are a great tool to help take your virtual meeting to the next level.
Use the technology available
Virtual meetings can, at first glance, seem like a step back from face-to-face interactions. However, when it comes to sharing information this could not be further from the truth. Features like screen sharing and virtual whiteboards allow you to quickly and effectively share information, brainstorm ideas, and discuss topics even easier than if you were in the same room as your co-workers.
Embrace the situation
Being forced to adapt to a new way of living and working can be daunting and is a lot to take in. It is important, especially in this trying time, that you focus on the positives and embrace the change that has inevitably affected you. You cannot change the current way of living so be sure to make the best of not only for your own mental health but also for the sake of your team and co-workers.