5 tips: How to maintain a good meeting culture online
COVID-19 has changed our work culture significantly, and even though we are no longer necessarily working from a home office, we still have to expect many online meetings
COVID-19 has changed our work culture significantly, and even though we are no longer necessarily working from a home office, we still have to expect many online meetings.
#1 Always use your camera
Many people prefer physical encounters, and this is partly due to the fact that it is much easier to read people and their body language when you can see the other person. Although video meetings may only reveal the upper body and head, facial expressions can still provide a great deal of information to other participants in the meeting.
At the same time, you will simply appear more professional; if you aren’t using your camera, others will wonder why; is it because you have ‘morning hair’? Are you topless? Or is it because there is something in your surroundings that no-one should see? Even if none of these scenarios are the case, not having your camera on can very quickly send the wrong signals, so always make sure, as far as it is possible, to turn on your camera when having a video conference.
If it is not possible for you to turn on your camera, you should immediately explain why before the meeting starts, so that people won’t speculate. You don’t want them to believe that it is a habit for you to attend meetings without a video camera.
#2 Give an extra second to allow others to finish talking
We have all experienced video conferences with poor connectivity. Not only is it a bad experience to look at someone’s face in 32 pixels, but it also often happens that there is a delay in speech as well.
To avoid talking over each other, therefore, you should always allow an extra second or two before talking when the other person is about to finish their sentence; they might still be talking without their point of view having been transferred to your end yet.
#3 Use your mute function
If you are not sitting in a private space, or if you have a ‘home day’ with children or pets running around in the background, then you must sit with your finger on your mute button. If there are a lot of people participating in a call, it quickly becomes incredibly disruptive when one or more people are constantly making noises when others are talking.
Unless the dialogue calls for constant exchange and sparring, you should keep your microphone on mute until it is your turn to speak.
#4 Raise your hand and respect the voice queue
In both physical meetings and online meetings, it is important to respect the ‘voice queue’ that is being set. But it is extra important during video meetings, because if you just start talking and there happens to be a little delay, you will almost always talk over each other.
Therefore, indicate that you want speaking time by raising your hand. The moderator will then note that you would like to say something. Just remember, however, that your hand must be within the camera frame so that people can actually see that you want to say something.
#5 Follow and keep eye contact
If you have ever spoken to a group of people, you will know that it is hugely frustrating when they don’t focus on you when you speak. You feel powerless and uninteresting, but at the same time, you do not want to point it out.
The same is true during video conferencing. Whilst it may seem like a perfect opportunity to quickly check your emails, people can very easily see if you type on the keyboard and look elsewhere on your camera. Therefore, show respect to the other participants by listening and paying full attention when you attend a video meeting.