Online meetings — A friendly reminder

We can all probably agree that we didn’t expect the pandemic to be affecting our professional and personal lives as we near the beginning of 2022. While businesses try to establish their new sense of normalcy, they are turning to hybrid work dynamics to serve their teams best. While most people are familiar with leveraging technology for meetings and conferences, here is a quick refresh on how to be on your best behavior when leveraging a video conferencing platform.

Be timely 

Just like you wouldn’t want to barge into a meeting five minutes late in person, you also don’t want to do that online. Most platforms have a waiting room that attendees are automatically put into until the meeting host lets you in. Not only could you possibly miss out on important announcements that kick off the meeting due to being tardy, but you might also disrupt the presenter. If the presenter must keep pausing what they say to allow late attendees into the meeting, it’s bound to disrupt their thought process and information flow. Be on time for your benefit and your colleagues.

Be professional 

Working remotely allows for a lot of luxuries when it comes to comfort. It’s easy to work in your pajamas, in your bed, with the TV on, and in different locations. While it’s important to operate in a way that will serve your productivity best, it’s also important to present yourself professionally when it involves other people. Just like you would dress appropriately and behave professionally for an in-person meeting, the same should apply to video conferencing. Make sure you’re in a quiet environment that allows you to focus and speak without background noise if called on. Take time to properly groom before the meeting just like you would if you were going into the office. If possible, avoid taking meetings while on the road to avoid any camera shaking and connectivity issues.

Be mindful of colleagues 

If you’re in an in-person meeting and a colleague is presenting, you probably wouldn’t be eating a meal or having a side conversation. The same should apply to video conferencing. Even if you mute your mic, it’s important to remember you are still on screen and can be a distraction. Be mindful to remain engaged and maintain eye contact with the screen while others share. Many people struggle with public speaking, and your colleagues may still be feeling the fear, even from the comfort of their home. By staying engaged with the speaker(s) during the meeting, not only are you being polite and professional, but you may be helping ease any public speaking anxiety they may be feeling.

It’s important to remember that every person’s hybrid or remote situation will look different, and grace needs to be applied where it fits. The tips above are general guidelines that will help you and others as we continue to adhere to a new normal. But as with all things people-related, working in the shades of grey will be critical to leadership.

“So, let’s obey the golden rule, and give unto others what we would have others give unto us.” — Dale Carnegie

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