First, thinking of you and hoping you are safe.
Second, been on any Zoom calls lately? Or any of the other platforms that are now our new office conference rooms? Yea, me too. Because a lot more of these meetings are taking place, here are seven things to keep in mind as you try to do your best in the virtual meeting world:
If you are on the phone and walking around, turn off your camera:The amount of excess motion a moving participant can cause in a meeting is truly distracting. Use headphones and at least mute the camera, if not both the camera and microphone.
Sit up! Slouching, disinterested body language during a meeting can put you at the top of the layoff list when tough decisions must be made. You are in a meeting! Would you slouch and look bored if you were in the same room with these people?
Be aware of the time zones you are impacting with your meeting: Conferences are being canceled and plans that normally would bring together national or even international teams now are handled with Zoom. Pay attention to the time zone of each participant and if you must intrude on their early morning or late night, at least acknowledge it. And, speaking of different time zones…
Never comment on someone’s appearance: Remember, many of these people are also home-schooling children or caring for an elderly parent these days. Comments about lack of make-up or tired eyes are out of line. It may be the beginning or end of a very long day for them.
Use the tools in the correct way: Be sure you are aware of the call platform tools and use the camera correctly. If more than a few people are on the call and you are the main speaker and need to address them as a group, look directly into the camera. It is the only way you can maintain eye contact with a group in a teleconference setting.
A business meeting is not the place to show off your cute dog:Suddenly switching your camera to show your child/dog/cat/bird is a massive distraction. When possible, get to a space by yourself and focus on the meeting.
Mute your microphone when not actively taking part in the meeting: One never knows when a siren will suddenly start wailing nearby or your pooch will decide to start barking. Scrambling to find ‘mute’ is never a good look for anyone.
We all are being asked to move into spaces that may be unfamiliar to us. We all have questions about what will happen next. All we can control is right now. If you are in one of these meetings, make the best of it and hopefully these reminders can help you put your best foot forward, even from a safe distance.
Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting, www.clear-comm.net, a Phoenix, AZ-based communications consulting firm which is helping people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.