Since much of the world is currently working remotely and COVID-19 has put the kibosh on meeting in person, there has been an increase in web conferencing to fill the communications void. All standard events have gone virtual, nightly talk show hosts are now webcast from their homes, and Saturday Night Live has even parodied corporate pitfalls. adapt to digital office meetings. A startup co-founder is already to lament publicly the rise of home meetings (MFH) and now there is such a thing as Zoom fatigue.
But like it or not, web meetings are here to stay.
Taking the stress out of this now common practice seems like something anyone could use these days. Here’s a quick rundown of what you do and don’t need to web conference like a boss.
Most modern PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones have microphone and camera technology built into the device.
Unless you’re streaming and recording for regular professional TV appearances or hosting your own podcast, you really don’t need to invest in buying a new webcam or XLR microphone. . If you have the material, use it by all means, but it is not essential for MFH. Headphones or headphones equipped with a microphone paired with your device are a nice accessory, especially if you are participating from outdoors or anywhere with a risk of annoying background noise.
Make sure to test your web conferencing application before the appointed time and follow the security / privacy standards guidelines.
Download all updates. If you want to share screen documents, give it a try to make sure you can launch and browse them in the app. Some web meeting apps issue frequent updates in the background that may reset your preferences and permissions. This means that you may not be able to view your PowerPoint slides during this week’s staff meeting without restarting, even though they performed well last week.
Check the permissions and settings for the microphone and video (make sure they are enabled) and test the sound and volume.
Position your computer or device so that the web camera is at eye level or slightly higher (stack your laptop on a few pounds if necessary) and make sure you are not against the light. Close the blinds if you’re sitting in front of a window, and dim any important light sources from behind if you can – or place a lamp in front of you to light up your face.
Tips for virtual meetings
Try to look directly into the camera as much as possible. It’s the equivalent of maintaining eye contact in person.
If you’re in a large web conference or meeting, turn off your microphone when you’re not speaking.
Try not to interrupt – wait for a speaker to finish before asking questions.
Unless you are giving a presentation, don’t monopolize the conversation – give others a chance to participate.
If you are giving a presentation, be sure to take frequent breaks and ask if there are any questions before continuing.
Save fun virtual backgrounds and filters for informal virtual gatherings. If you professionally represent your employer, MFH as Cosmic Cat Head is not appropriate.
If your physical location isn’t something you want to broadcast during a web conference, a standard virtual desktop background is fine.
Note that the virtual background feature in Zoom and similar web meeting applications depend on specific bandwidth, processor, and / or green screen requirements. But there are free apps (like Instant camera) that can help you work around these limitations on many devices and operating systems.
And it might sound cliché, but remember to be yourself and try to take the opportunity to virtually leave your home.
Getting together online for web meetings and conferences doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a great way to stay engaged, connect with each other, and collectively keep morale up during these times of isolation.