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Making Virtual Team Meetings More Effective

04 January 2022

In 2020, the number of zoom meetings tripled. Why? Because the global pandemic forced us all online as we strived to ‘stay home and stay safe’.

Some people have found online meetings a refreshing and innovative way to communicate. Others have found it challenging and technically frustrating.

Whichever camp you fall into, there are ways you can make your online meetings more effective.

1. Make sure you have the right conferencing equipment

Sometimes, your old laptop simply won’t cut it. Even a small piece of dust sitting inside your microphone and muffling your voice can ruin an entire work meeting. In fact, a recent study cited microphones as one of the biggest barriers to an effective meeting. An unmuted microphone, for example, can open up the meeting to noise distractions (dogs, children, traffic). Similarly, a microphone that is unintentionally muted could mean nobody hears the person speaking. Or, a fault microphone might make it largely impossible to understand the words being spoken. It’s therefore crucial that you have decent conferencing equipment including:

  • A large screen laptop
  • A working microphone, either built into the laptop or attached
  • A high res webcam
  • A strong internet connection

2. Set up appropriate work from home conditions

A child wandering into the background of a zoom meeting is not unheard of. As funny and adorable as it can sometimes be, any home distraction will cause disruption to the meeting. Make sure you have a quiet room, preferably with a locked door, and focus all of your attention towards the meeting. If you have parcels being delivered or similar distractions, ask someone else to deal with them or ignore them. If you have a dog, ensure that he is fed and happy before the meeting takes place, or put into a separate room and unlikely to disturb the meeting by barking. If you have any family photos on your walls, consider moving these if they are in the webcam’s view.

Another way to set up appropriate home conditions is to create a home office space with all the appropriate office furniture. This helps to keep your head in the game during a meeting. You can find a range of home office furniture by clicking here.

3. Be comfortable

If you are fidgeting, uncomfortable or have an aching body, your entire meeting will suffer. Make sure you’re sitting in an ergonomic chair, up against a good quality desk, at a safe distance from your monitor. Ensure that you are wearing smart but comfortable clothing and shoes. If your feet tire easily, you can get a foot mat to help reduce swelling and discomfort. Take breaks when needed (and when appropriate during the meeting). If it is someone else’s turn to talk, and you know that you have a while before you contribute, you can do some stretches at your desk to relieve muscle pain.

4. Know the ground rules

At a face to face meeting, ground rules (also known as ‘housekeeping’) are established at the beginning of the meeting. These rules might include when to break, the length of the meeting, the meeting agenda, how the meeting will be structured and what should and shouldn’t happen. It’s easy when going online to get sucked into the novelty of the situation and forget to establish the ground rules. Make sure that you don’t make this mistake. Ground rules help to keep the meeting flowing.

5. Be presentable

It’s easy to fall into the habit of wearing your casual clothes when working from home. But if you know you are attending a face to face meeting, it’s important that you wear whatever you would normally wear at the office. You need to give your colleagues, clients, partners and customers an impression that you are alert and ready for work - not lazing in front of your TV. Your appearance is half the battle. Wear a smart outfit, comb your hair, make sure you are washed and clean, and brush your teeth. Even though you aren’t physically sat in the meeting room with them, you want to ensure they continue to respect and look up to you as a professional in your field.

 

Not only should your clothing be acceptable and appropriate, but your environment too. Sitting on your bed is not going to give your colleagues a professional impression. Sitting in a home office will help them to see that you’re taking your job seriously and have put effort in to maintaining your professionalism. A home office needn’t be overly sophisticated. All you need is a good ergonomic chair, a high quality desk, office storage, a couple of office accessories and a laptop, phone and any other electronic equipment relevant to your role. You can find a huge range of office furniture to meet your home office needs on our website.