Virtual Meeting Tips: Part One

Work From Home (WFH) Series No.10

Prior to working from home, there once was a stigma that video conferencing meetings weren't quite as effective as face to face meetings, it seemed as though many valued face to face time with one another. Since remote work has become our reality for the majority of 2020, how can we make the most out of our virtual meetings in order to make them as close to face to face as we can? How can making these changes serve us?

1. Turn on your video!

I know it can feel uncomfortable, but by turning video on, it has shown to increase engagement in meetings [1]. Not only will it help the group stay more engaged, but turning your video on can also work to your advantage. Turning your video on shows others that you are confident in yourself, and what you are doing [2]. Not only will it show others that you are confident, but it will also tell you more about other people- when we speak in person you may not even realize it, but you are picking up on people's non-verbal cues. The ability to see these cues can make conversations more productive and honest, by allowing you to be more of an active listener rather than disengaging from the conversation to multitask!  

2. Avoid using mute as much as possible...whilst still being respectful.

Many view the mute button as a courtesy to not be a distraction from what is being talked about in the meeting- and this is fine! Chances are, people don't want to hear your cough, sneeze, eat or drink. However, having a mute button doesn't give you a pass to take other calls, clean your kitchen, or multitask. Keeping yourself unmuted holds you accountable to that [3]. Ask yourself, if you were having this meeting in person- would you be doing what you are doing now in front of your colleagues? If everyone in the meeting is disengaged, chances are you won't be having the conversations you need to be having during the meeting, and therefore, aren't using anyone's time effectively.

3. Motivate and encourage others to participate

As mentioned before, it's super easy for people to disengage from virtual meetings- with the mute function and not turning video on, someone could check out of a meeting altogether! Tips #1 and #2 are quick and easy fixes to run better meetings, but this one might be a bit more challenging. The wording of this tip is intentional. 'Calling on people' or 'calling people out' can often rub people the wrong way, especially if you do so aggressively and end up putting people on the spot. The difference here is to create an environment that invites others to participate [4]. By creating a safe space, you will see more people feeling empowered to collaborate and engage in meetings. The way you create this safe space will depend on your organization, but it will likely be by making people feel comfortable and ensuring everyone is prepared for the meeting that is to take place!  

Stayed tuned for our next blog post for more Virtual Meeting tips!


[1] What it Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting

[2] 4 Simple Reasons Why You Should Turn Your Video On In A Conference Call

[3] How to Run a Great Virtual Meeting

[4] 13 Best Practices for Virtual Meeting Engagement

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