8 Ways to Stand Out in Your Next Virtual Meeting
It doesn’t seem that long ago that virtual meetings using video technologies like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc. were still kind of a novelty.
Not any more.
For a huge amount of workplaces now, particularly work-from-home workplaces, virtual meetings have become the norm. The technology, when you think about it, is actually pretty awesome. Virtual meetings are accessible for anyone with a reasonable internet connection, and most of the services don’t present a gigantic learning curve.
We’ve all seen the Zoom fails
But (there’s always a “but”), there’s a difference between being a part of a virtual meeting, and doing it well. By now most of us have witnessed (or made) at least one embarrassing event. The naked toddler running back and forth behind the oblivious WFH dad. People making inappropriate comments, only to discover too late that they weren’t muted. The person who’s videocam is directed on the top of his forehead for the entire meeting.
At one level, its kind of fun – and human – and we all deserve our share of mulligans. But on another level, it is also very important that you manage perceptions. You want people to view you as intelligent, competent and confident at the very least.
8 BASICS TO REMEMBER
Here are eight of the very basics to remember for your next Zoom (or other virtual meeting) call:
1. Shower, shave, do your hair, get dressed
Approach your virtual meeting as you would any other meeting – like a professional. Stay away from the ‘relaxed casual’ look. It is always better to err on the side of being over-dressed. Chances are, nobody really wants to see you in that vintage Meatloaf t-shirt anyway.
2. Set up a simple, clean background
You don’t want anything to distract from you when you are talking, so make sure that there is no clutter around you. (Bookshelves are popular.)
3. Free up your bandwidth
There’s nothing worse than your audio/video going all wonky when you are trying to make a point. Remember that every device in your home (if you are in your home), and every browser window you have on chews up a little bit of your internet power. So, for the meeting, make sure that your cell phones, tablets and streaming TV services are all turned off.
4. Be prepared
Have everything you need within easy reaching distance.
5. Use an external webcam
If you want to stand out, be more than just a talking head. Get a good quality external webcam, and set it so that people can see more than just that zit on your cheek. Now you have the advantage of a little body language when you are talking.
6. Look at the camera!
Whatever camera you use, remember that its lens is its “eye.” When you are speaking or listening, look at the lens. it gives the impression that you are making direct eye-contact. When you start looking at your computer screen, keyboard or the fly that just started to crawl on the table, people see that, and it sends Bad Messages.
7. Work your voice
Virtual technologies really butcher your vocal quality – and can severely impact your ability to get your message across with credibility. At the very least, do some vocal warm-ups before your call. If you are serious about ensuring how people perceive your credibility, get hold of something like Belding Training’s Voice Mastery elearning program. They payoff is huge.
8. DON'T be late - ever
Seriously. There is very little you can do that will hurt your credibility more!
There is a lot more on this topic, of course, but these are the essentials. I’ll try to do a follow-up soon!