Here are 14 Virtual Meeting Tips to Look Professional in 2022, to polish your digital presentation and make a positive impression on clients and prospects. Of the many changes to our professional lives brought on by the pandemic, the area of virtual meetings has been one of the most significant in the workplace.
Even with the easing of restrictions, virtual meetings are still heavily relied upon as a means of communication. But over two years in, many of us are still coming up a little scratchy during our online meetups.
1. PLATFORM PREP
Prepare your client for the meeting by communicating which platform will be used well advance to make clear all expectations. This gives them time to work out how to use the platform of choice. Different clients use different platforms for their meetings. So, you too become familiar with the tools in each. That is, key features like video, mute, and screen share. In the last two weeks, we have held Virtual Workshops on Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans, GoToMeeting, and Skype.
2. WATCH WHERE’S YOUR HEAD AT
Be aware of where your head is place on screen. Don’t be “that person” whose chin or forehead is cut off. There tends to be one in every meeting. Additionally, don’t look left or right. This is very distracting (and annoying). Don’t look off to a second monitor either. Simply look directly into the camera.
Virtual Meeting Tips: the top of your head should be 10% to 15% from the top of your screen. Additionally, remain approximately 60 centimetres, two ruler lengths, from the camera. You don’t want your face to be too small or too big on screen. Think ‘TV news reader’ and adjust your distance accordingly.
3. BE PRESENT, ALWAYS
This is one of the most important tips in this entire list. Keep your eyes on the camera. Don’t check your phone, second screen, or email. Too many people find themselves distracted in their meetings. It’s a major turnoff. Also, don’t turn your video on and off. And as a rule, don’t get up and walk around. If you need to turn the video off, do it as infrequently as possible for as short periods as possible.
4. LET THERE BE LIGHT
Lighting issues are one of the most common when it comes to virtual meetings and video. You often need lighting to be brighter than you think. If you’ve ever done a professional video, news interview, or photoshoot, you will be familiar with the bright lights that are used. Additionally, backlighting (the light source that is behind you) creates dark faces and shadows. Overhead lights often create glare. Test your lighting and be mindful to reduce both.
5. HIGH-QUALITY MICROPHONE
Computer microphones aren’t typically very good. Invest in an external mic or quality headset. Consider your background noise. Some microphones are good at picking up voice only and leaving out ambient sounds.
6. TEST SOUND
Prior to the virtual meetup, do a tech check and test your audio. It is quite a common occurrence we have seen, where people buy and plug in a high-quality external mic, then forget to enable it.
7. TURN OFF ALL NOTIFICATIONS
This is a big one. One of the most common, loud, and jarring annoyances is when someone’s notifications keep dinging loudly. This includes email, meeting notifications, Slack messages, text messages, and pop-ups that might appear on your screen. These alerts and noises are distracting and they bother your clients. Turn them off.
8. TYPING NOISES
It’s okay to type and take notes during your virtual meetings, but when you do so, mute yourself or get a quiet keyboard (yes, these are quite common). Loud typing noises are incredibly distracting and make clients think you are not as engaged.
9. BE MUTE WISE
If you do put yourself on mute, make sure to unmute yourself when it’s time to speak. You want to avoid, “You’re on mute”.
Your background makes a strong statement about you. It’s a big part of your professional and personal brand. Many people don’t notice this until it’s pointed out to them, usually because they need to change something.
Virtual Meeting Tips: as a rule, backgrounds need to be neat, clean, bright, and professional.
Real office settings are the best and most authentic. Curate your look and scene to project your desired brand. However, if you want an authentic home/office view, carefully review your background for professionalism. Clean your bookshelf. Remove boxes and trash. Declutter the area. Prepared home backgrounds are okay if meticulously curated.
Virtual Meeting Tips: Make sure your clothes contrast well against the background. Avoid green with green screens. Avoid black with dark backgrounds (or your head will appear to float).
11. YOU’VE GOT THE LOOK
Prepare your look and dress as if you were in an in-person meeting. If you’re not sure, always dress one level up. Your look is a part of your brand.
Virtual Meeting Tips: avoid busy patterns, clothes with busy patterns can look fuzzy on camera and big patterns can be distracting. Aim for solid colours. Similarly, reflective jewellery can be distracting too.
12. WAIT YOUR TURN
In-person, it’s easy to find the correct time to start talking. Online, some of these cues can be lost in translation. This ultimately leads to people talking over one another. In addition, sound delays can also lead to miscommunication. Pay attention to the flow of conversation and wait for a slightly longer pause to begin speaking again.
13. PROPER POSTURE
Ensure you display a strong posture. Slouching doesn’t look good. Do not let your head bob from rocking in your chair.
Virtual Meeting Tips: if you tend to rock or twist in a chair that moves, switch it out for a stationary chair during your virtual meetings.
14. FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
Some people tend to overdo facial expressions and animations. This gets very distracting. Others don’t move or even flinch at all, which gives an impression of disengagement. Balance your animation. Additionally, avoid touching your face, or hair, too much. Touching your face throughout the meeting suggests that you are nervous. This includes playing with your hair, itching your nose or chewing your lower lip.
Virtual Meeting Tips: what you want to do is raise your eyebrows to show interest and nod your head when you agree with what the person is saying. This shows you are actively listening and engaged.
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