Online meetings have become the new normal. Whether you work from home or your company’s clients are in another state, we’ve all gotten used to making those final adjustments to look presentable when joining a Zoom meeting. Even so, people are still making web conferencing mistakes. And while some of them make for hilarious viral videos, it doesn’t mean you want it to happen to you. Fortunately, most common mistakes have easy solutions. You just need to be aware of them and know how to avoid them.
Disregarding Etiquette Rules
First and foremost, it’s important to know about online meeting etiquette rules. For example, no one wants to see your dirty laundry in the frame or listen to the background noises happening around you. So, make sure that you’re ready for a seamless virtual meeting without interruptions.
Web conferencing etiquette also includes how to properly behave when attending an online meeting. Trying to speak over your team members is a big no-no, and you should always dress for the occasion. Fortunately, web conferencing software like Microsoft Teams offers features that help to mitigate these mistakes, such as blurring your background or allowing you to test everything out before joining a meeting.
No Meeting Plan
Like in-person meetings, online web conferences shouldn’t be longer than they need to be. Why spend an hour on a subject that could have easily been solved with an email? That’s why the host should share a meeting agenda with the participants, containing the topics to be discussed and their schedule. This way, everyone is on the same page and knows what they need to do to prepare for the meeting. Plus, team members will also tell you when a particular problem doesn’t require an online meeting to be solved. Of course, all attendees are responsible for ensuring that the web conference stays on topic and doesn’t go on too long.
Although this is one of the rules of online meeting etiquette, it deserves a special mention. That’s because many people get distracted while attending virtual meetings. It really doesn’t matter if you just want to send a quick work email or check your Facebook notifications. When you’re attending an online meeting, you should never do other tasks simultaneously.
If you’re attending a meeting where you feel that your input isn’t necessary, discuss the issue with the meeting planner and ask to be excused from it. It’s better than whoever’s speaking noticing that you’re typing or looking away from the screen. Of course, taking notes is OK. But why distract yourself when web conferencing software, such as GoToMeeting, records meetings and writes transcripts that you can go through later?
Not Telling Other People You’re in a Meeting
Some of the funniest online meeting stories are when you see someone in the background only wearing their underpants or, even worse, completely butt naked. It’s understandable when your kids interrupt your meeting because they don’t understand the importance of a web conference. But it’s another story when a grown adult gets in the frame wearing less clothes than they should. This is easily solved by warning anyone who lives with you that you’re starting a meeting in a few minutes. When possible, we also recommend locking the door just to be sure that you don’t end up in a compilation of funny online meeting fails somewhere on YouTube.
Forgetting About Body Language
It’s easy to forget about body language when you’re on camera. Still, it’s one of the most important parts of hosting successful online meetings. That’s because people will have a better time remembering what you’re saying if they see any kind of body language. If you end up sounding and moving like a robot, people will quickly tune out and forget about the crucial takeaways you’re sharing. Virtual body language isn’t that different from in-person meetings. However, it’s essential that you properly set up your camera and microphone so that participants can see your body movements and hear when your tone changes.
Overlooking Web Conferencing Features
Did you know Microsoft Teams offers a ‘hands-up’ button to let everyone know you want to speak? Or that BlueJeans comes with a whiteboard to help you get your ideas across? Web conferencing software can be too comprehensive for its own good, and it’s easy to miss out on all these helpful features that will improve your meeting’s productivity. Be sure to take some time to research what you can do with the software your company uses. You might be surprised by all the handy features available that will make your life so much easier.
Getting Nervous After a Mistake
Mistakes happen. Everyone and their cousin have had someone accidentally popping into frame because they didn’t realize a meeting was happening. If your kid ends up barging into the room where you’re hosting a web conference, get them to sit in your lap and say ‘hi’ to everyone. We guarantee that participants will be completely fine with it (and will be won over by your kid’s cuteness). So, when a mistake happens, laugh about it and move on! Before you know it, you could be the subject of the next viral web conference mishap, and you want to look your best if you do.
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