Before virtual meetings, remember when we had a meeting in our diary, where we had to travel to meet someone? I dressed smartly to meet a potential new client or associate, allocating time in my diary to prep ahead of the meeting and travel to the location. The address was in my GPS, and off I headed. Time was precious, and I was keen to have a good conversation before heading to the next meeting. Arriving early was always part of my agenda, to prepare my thoughts, check my phone for any urgent messages, initiate airplane mode and then off I went…..
Then along came the Covid-19 pandemic and things became very different, increasingly baffled at how some people arrived late for a virtual meeting or had to leave early, not notifying the host ahead of time at the start. These were business meetings, after all!
I got used to checking my technology – could I hear and be heard? Did the lighting wash me out or leave me in the dark covered in shadows? I dressed for business, even though my choice of attire was a little more relaxed but still smart. I always checked I looked fresh and presentable, adding 10 minutes between calls to freshen up, take a comfort break and make a cuppa.
Hydration became more important as I was astounded at how thirsty I was! Furthermore, my one water bottle grew into two, always topped up to quench my thirst. Above all, my overall etiquette has not changed. I still arrived a few minutes early, joining the waiting room, clearing my mind and ready to tune in to new conversations. Just as important, my mobile is still set to airplane mode even though I haven’t even left the house! I feel it would appear rude to my meeting colleagues if it were set to anything else.
Our quick guide to virtual meetings
- A freshly made cuppa or water refill ready to go
- Know your agenda
- What is your meeting topic, outcomes and timescales?
- Who are you?
- Introduce yourself and ask others to do the same if you don’t know them.
- I’m on mute!
- Pop yourself on mute when you are not speaking, so you don’t accidentally interrupt someone
- Lights, Camera….Test – before Action!
- Does your camera, mic and internet work? Are you sitting in a good light? What is in your background? Do you need to tidy up?
- Look the part
- Dress well with a paired down version of what you would wear in an office
- Stay in the moment
- Focus on people and what is being said. Don’t be tempted to check your inbox, as we can all tell what you are doing!
- Sign off well
- Summarise the points of discussion, any actions and follow up with an email to all participants
- Sitting still for too long is no good, so we stretch between meetings!
Zoom fatigue stats – did you know?
Here are just a few Zoom virtual meeting stats taken from the Finances Online review.
- Zoom fatigue affects 14% of women vs 5.5% of men
- A 1.2 second delay in a person’s response makes the other people perceive them to be unfriendly or unfocussed
- The amount of eye gaze on Zoom is eight times higher compared to a physical conference
- The platform has recorded over 45 billion annual webinar minutes
- Video conferencing requires less than 10% of the energy needed for an in-person meeting
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