Bringing your own coffee in a virtual meeting room is part of the new normal now. With the corona outbreak, more and more professionals around the world are turning to remote working. From routine scrum calls to intense brainstorming sessions and even major organizational announcements, it’s all happening over video conferences and calls. Nobody could have predicted this major transition in such a short span of time. Yet here we are, members of the digital society, making our way through the big change. As comfortable as it appears, remote working has its unique challenges. What works well among co-workers in a conference room may not translate smoothly on a computer screen. Your presence and your viewpoint – both must make an actual impact even in a virtual meeting room. Here’s how you can engage in video-friendly communication and keep up with your aura even in a virtual space.
To help keep your impact actual in a virtual meeting room, consider these suggestions:
Dress Up Right
Being in the comfort of your home, you might be tempted to dress up casually for the video conference calls with your colleagues. It is quite natural but this is where you need to step up and make a change. The transition from regular office to remote working is a lot about adjusting to new ways of working, without losing the sense of professionalism and demeanor. Dressing up right, just like you would for an in-person meeting, is an integral part of this process. I am confident you would not like to feel embarrassed before your colleagues for showing up in shorts or messy hair. Being in the virtual meeting room is still about being at your best. You got to own the space.
Be Mindful of Your Background
Recently, I was attending a live chat on Instagram where the Managing Partner of an organization started the conversation on a very sour note. Here’s what happened. Not everyone is tech-savvy and that’s okay, we all learn. He did not know how to flip the camera towards his face and the audience ended up witnessing the chaos in his room. It was not a beautiful sight and negative comments started pouring in on the chat. The focus of the whole conversation shifted on the mess in his room rather on the business models. That’s how important is your background. Before a virtual meeting, make sure that your background is clean and organized. Adjust your frame properly so that you are not too far from the screen. These little things will go a long way in defining your take on this transition beyond the crisis.
Maintain a Direct Eye Contact with Your Camera
It is possible that you are not very comfortable with the camera. Even I wasn’t until I actively started interviewing people in the oil and gas industry. With practice, this gets easier. I suggest you practice looking into your camera during the video calls when you speak, even for brief moments. Remember, if you are trying to make a point, maintaining direct eye contact is important. In a virtual meeting room, with all your colleagues smiling, you got to look at the camera while you speak. In a regular conference set-up, we are used to looking at people we are talking to. In a virtual meeting room, this implies looking at your video camera – the dot. It might sound unnatural and challenging to focus on the camera for the entire meeting but remember, the impact of your points is enhanced when you look straight at the video camera.
Communicate in a Strong, Clear Voice
A strong and clear voice is not only audible but also reflects confidence, credibility, and authority. This holds true for both actual and virtual meetings.
Moreover, speaking in a strong, clear voice will help you communicate effectively.
Be Present and Pay Attention
Aren’t we all very mindful of presence in a traditional meeting? However, in a virtual meeting room, when you are on mute and perhaps in your sweat pants, it’s quite easy to forget that you are still being watched – by your manager and teammates. It is possible that you are chopping vegetables while the meeting is on or scrolling your social media feeds. You might just land in trouble if you are caught off-guard and asked a question, all of a sudden. Please avoid this and even if you need not be fully engaged in the meeting, this might hurt your reputation. Remember, you are always on camera. Be present in the situation and pay attention to what’s happening. The best advice here being, consider yourself at your workplace, not at home.
Keep the Distractions Away
In the conventional meeting room, there is hardly any distraction or noise. But when it comes to a virtual meeting room at your home, you can be interrupted by your parents, pets, domestic chores, routine noises or so on. It is important that you have an equal amount of control in the virtual environment. Here, you definitely want to do things the right way.
Make sure that you are on mute when you are not speaking to keep away any distractions from the serious conversation. I also suggest that you turn off your camera if you are doing something that might distract your co-workers on the screen such as, eating or moving to another room. And certainly, when you are chewing!
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Energy Dais.)