Virtual meetings grew significantly in popularity when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With so many new to the practice, at first, there was no judgment if you showed up in your bathrobe with your kids behind you. Now, as many workplaces transition to permanent work-from-home or hybrid structures, it’s time to revisit your setup and deploy these 15 virtual meeting best practices so you don’t fall behind the professional curve.
9 Virtual Meeting Best Practices For Planning, Inviting, And Hosting
First, we’ll tackle the logistics of setting up and hosting a meeting. (In the next section, we’ll address the physical space and technology you use.) When facilitating virtual meetings, follow these best practices:
- Incorporate a scheduling tool. Avoid back and forth emails and add an air of professionalism with a scheduling tool like Calendly to book meetings.
- Include the meeting link in the invite. Attendees don’t want to have to hunt down a meeting link at the last minute.
- Use a waiting room. If you use Zoom or another similar application, the waiting room feature prevents people from feeling like they’re being thrown straight into the meeting.
- Default to joining without video. To help attendees avoid potential embarrassment, allow them to decide when and if they’re ready to make a visual appearance.
- Announce if you are recording. In some situations, approval and notification of recording may be a legal requirement.
- Turn off all external notifications. If you plan on screen sharing, turn off email, Slack, and other notifications so they don’t pop up during the meeting.
- Streamline screen sharing. Face-to-face interaction is almost always best for engagement, but if you do need to share, have your screen or window ready so the audience doesn’t have to watch you search for the right tab.
- Consider standing. Use a standing desk or similar setup for a boost of energy and better engagement. (But be sure to avoid swaying or pacing, which may be distracting.)
- Keep an eye on your appearance. When you’re listening instead of speaking, make sure you aren’t scowling or giving off negative energy with your posture or expression.
6 Virtual Meeting Best Practices For Lighting, Camera, And Sound
Proper lighting and camera placement can make the difference between looking like you showed up at the last minute vs. looking like a prepared professional ready to engage. Follow these best practices:
- Set the camera at or above eye level. When the camera is too low, not only does it show an unflattering view of your nose hair and jowls, but it creates a disconnect with other meeting attendees. Placing your camera higher makes the virtual interaction feel more natural. Depending on your laptop’s camera placement, you might want to purchase an external webcam for better results. (Our favorite is the Logitech Brio.)
- Create diffuse lighting that is aimed toward you. This effect is easily achieved with a setup that has you facing a wall–simply bounce a brighter light off the wall so that it illuminates your face.
- Focus your eyes near the camera. Place the meeting window and any meeting notes or other materials as close to the camera as possible for better eye contact.
- Avoid echo. If you’re in a sparse room with an echo, acoustic sound panels can minimize the effect. Noise-cancelling headphones can also help, as can certain Zoom plug-ins designed to block background noise.
- Check your internet connection. Conduct an internet speed test to make sure your connection meets the minimum requirements for your meeting type as specified by the software you use. If your connection is poor, consider moving closer to the wireless router or connecting directly through an ethernet cable.
- Determine your sound quality. Make sure your microphone works well by testing it before each meeting for problems with volume or feedback.
What’s behind you? Anyvoo can help.
If you follow these virtual meeting best practices, your setup will likely have you facing a wall for good lighting. However, this means that the camera, in addition to capturing your face, is also capturing whatever is behind you–your piles of laundry, pets, bed, dirty kitchen, or any number of scenes you’d probably prefer not to share with meeting attendees.
Virtual backgrounds can be distracting because the technology isn’t perfect. They can make you seem to vibrate around the edges or even disappear from sight. This is why Anyvoo designed easy-to-use physical webcam backdrops.
Our backdrops provide a professional, clean background for all your virtual meetings. They’re lightweight and simple to set up and take down, so they can travel with you or be easily stored out of the way when not in use. Order a pre-made backdrop or customize your own design today.