Online Meeting Tips: 4 Easy Ways to Present Yourself Like a Boss
Virtual meetings… Though they were already becoming more prevalent before COVID-19, meetings via Skype, Slack, Zoom, and Google Hangouts seem like our life now. Online meetings require new considerations that many of us previously haven’t had to deal with — at least not so regularly. Along with simple meeting preparation comes many additional variables to think about, such as technology, clothing, your surroundings, and distractions. Whew! That’s a lot for anyone to conquer, much less multiple times a day, five days a week. Let us be your guide as we navigate these virtual waters together!
Step 1: Figure Out How to “Technology”
Even for those of us who don’t often struggle with technology, online meeting platforms can be finicky. While staying engaged and present in the meeting, you also have to control your computer’s sound, camera, and screen sharing. If you’re technology-averse, online meetings can not only be more difficult but may even cause meeting anxiety.
If you’re having a hard time with technology during online meetings, here are a few things that have helped us:
1. Refresh your knowledge often. Find a video tutorial or blog on the platform’s website showing you exactly how to use the virtual meeting platform ahead of time. Even if you think you have all the controls and buttons down, a quick refresh on the ins and outs can be very helpful! You may even have an opportunity to offer your help to a colleague and emerge a hero 🦸🏻♂️. Here’s a quick link to the Zoom tutorial as an example.
2. Test it out. Ten minutes before the meeting, test your sound, camera, and controls to make sure you’re ready. We find it’s helpful to do this before the meeting starts so you aren’t scrambling when everyone has already joined. You’ll be viewed as more professional if you are in the meeting on time and prepared!
3. Open everything in advance. If you’re planning on screen sharing during the meeting, go ahead and have all of the documents and tabs open that you need. It’s so much easier to have your resources already available versus searching for them mid-meeting. Something this simple can tremendously help your meeting anxiety and impress your peers and team leads.
We can totally relate, Pam. But if you have to jump up to handle a situation unexpectedly, you don’t want to be caught in an outfit that pairs a shirt and tie or dressy blouse with sweatpants.
Even if your office is business casual, consider dressing up a little more on those days when you have online meetings. Dressing professionally will go a long way with your boss and clients.
Step 3: Mind Your Surroundings
It may not seem significant, but choosing where to sit for your meetings is important. Not sure what to look for? Try this:
1. Choose a spot in your home with a lot of natural light so everyone will be able to see your lovely face on the screen! It’ll be easier for clients and fellow employees to be able to tell who’s talking and see your facial expressions.
2. Along with finding natural light, choose a location for the meeting that has a less busy background. It will allow everyone else to focus on you — and not on what’s behind you.
3. It’s important to select a location that’s quiet and doesn’t have too many distractions for both yourself and others in the meeting.
(And if you’re interested in getting more help with arranging a functional and beautiful office space, check out our recent blog, “Four Work-from-Home Must-Haves.”)
Step 4: Identify Potential Distractions
Like we mentioned above, your online meeting will run more smoothly if you can identify distractions ahead of time. Distractions can be your spouse working beside you, your kids distance learning in the next room, or your dog trying to get your attention. Choosing the right location for your virtual meeting should revolve around minimizing distractions. This means going to a room by yourself or having noise-canceling headphones if your house or apartment doesn’t have the extra space. Even simple steps like turning your phone face down and silencing notifications can go a long way in minimizing distractions.
BONUS TIP: Don’t Forget to Give Yourself Some Grace
No matter how hard we all try, there will inevitably be those moments when the dog starts barking at a UPS delivery as soon as you’re given the presenter role in a big meeting or a little one requires urgent attention. Don’t be too hard on yourself — we’re only human. In those moments, apologize for the distraction and ask for a moment to handle the situation. Mute yourself, take a moment to address the need, and come back composed. Remember how you’d adapt to a colleague in the same moment, and offer yourself the same courtesy.
Like the rest of the world, we’re figuring out virtual meetings together. Let us know if we can help you find furniture that can increase your productivity even more, or if you need any additional advice! We’re here to help.