Okay folks. We’ve been at this videoconferencing for at least a month now. We thought by this point everyone would adopt some basic rules of etiquette, but seeing as how in the past week we’ve been on calls where a participant cleaned their desk and surrounding area during the call (leaving their webcam and microphone on) and another participant showed up in a cutoff top (no lie), we thought we’d compile some of the best videoconference guidelines we’ve read and experienced.
Virtual meetings can be very efficient allowing everyone in the meeting to focus on each other and any shared documents. They will continue to be an integral part of how business gets done after stay-at-home restrictions are lifted. At Thinc Strategy, we believe the best approach is to treat them as you would other in-person professional interactions with a few modifications for the remote environment:
Starting Out Strong
· Start on time. If you’re the meeting host, that means having the meeting room ready a minute or two early.
· Be aware of your surroundings – visual and audio. Don’t make your environment a distraction to others.
· Dress for the meeting. For now, it may be casual Friday office attire. As work returns to office environments, at least business casual. It is never what you wear to the pool.
· Greet the folks in the virtual room. A smile and a hello set a positive tone.
Improving Meeting Productivity
· Have an agenda or at the very minimum a clear purpose and desired outcome for every virtual meeting.
· Schedule breaks in the agenda for meetings that are going beyond one hour
· Do not use cell phones or read emails as the meeting is in progress
· In large group meetings, mute yourself unless you are speaking. Of course, you have to remember to unmute yourself when you start to speak.
· And for the love of everything that is good in this world, if you log into the meeting on your laptop and your mobile phone, mute one of the devices so that you don’t create an echo.
· Rehearse your presentations or have your key points prepared in advance. On-camera (even a web cam) is not a time to wing it.
· Make space for everyone to participate. If you’re a talker (and like me, you know who you are) pause and leave some silent space so others can contribute.If you are not a talker (you know who you are too) come prepared to contribute.
· When you’re presenting to a group, focus on your webcam or the top of your screen as opposed to looking down or around. Create virtual eye contact to build an emotional connection.
· Close with a recap, action items and responsibilities. Ask for commitments from participants and schedule the next videoconference.
· Finish 5-10 minutes early to allow participants a break before their next meeting or call. You will become everyone’s favorite virtual meeting facilitator.
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“Several years ago, Thinc Strategy sold my company for me – handling every aspect from preparing a list for me to accomplish three years before the sale to handling all the issues after the sale. My broker informed me that it was the best deal he had ever seen, all due to Cindy’s expertise, critical thinking, and superb negotiating skills. I welcome the opportunity to talk to anyone that would like to learn more about Thinc Strategy and Cindy’s remarkable abilities.“
“It is so nice to have an advisor that has my company’s best interest in mind. Thinc doesn’t try to “sell” us on anything. Thinc elevates the conversation. They are an integral part of our leadership team.”
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” Vince Lombardi
“You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” Henry Ford
“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” Steven Covey
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Bill Gates
“Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” Sam Walton
“Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.” Tom Landry
“Never make decisions based on money alone.” Cindy Anderson