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A normal, in-person meeting can be challenging; it needs to be engaging, interactive, and stay on topic. However, a remote meeting can be even more complicated. As a result of COVID-19, many companies have temporarily switched to a remote working model, which means video conferencing etiquette is pivotal to your success.

Remote meetings can be disjointed as participants dip in and out of the conversation due to poor connectivity. They can inhibit a natural flow of conversation when people talk over one another or accidentally leave the mute button on. And attendees may pay less attention than they would in a face-to-face meeting, often multitasking instead of concentrating on the conversation.

The good thing is, video conferencing technology has improved significantly in recent years, making it much easier for business leaders to facilitate a productive remote meeting. Below are 8 Must Do’s for your next video conference.

  1. Headsets are a must! The best ones filter background noise and have a microphone that lets you be heard clearly. A webcam with a built-in microphone can also be effective.
  2. Give time for breaks. Back-to-back meetings do not help our bodies. Schedule meetings with a gap or make them 10 minutes shorter on purpose to give people time to stretch and to take a bathroom break. For example, instead of an hour long meeting, make it 50 minutes.
  3. Create a sign for others in your household to know you are in a meeting. It’s often difficult to tell when people are in a virtual meeting. Make a simple sign posted near your work area to let them know that you are on a call and would appreciate quiet with limited distractions.
  4. Use that mute button. When you aren’t talking, please put yourself on mute so others can hear the speaker clearly. We all love our dogs, but they can be loud.
  5. Pause before beginning to speak. It’s difficult to see social cues in virtual meetings, whether video or audio-only, especially the ones where someone is about to speak. To avoid speaking over or interrupting others, take a pause before you begin talking, and when on video, establish a visual way to signal that you would like to speak.
  6. Be punctual. It can be easy to get lost in a project, only to look up and see that your meeting started five minutes ago. And for some reason, being a few minutes late to an online meeting just feels longer than when it happens in person.
  7. Be secure. Ensure that your devices have all the necessary security protocols in place. You may even want to consider using a virtual private network (VPN), particularly if you’re using open Wi-Fi networks. If you are talking about sensitive information, be sure to conduct the meeting in a private place where you can’t be heard.
  8. Be honest.Now is not the time to be stoic. If you are having difficulty keeping up for whatever reason, please explain it to your manager. They may be able to help you with additional training and other resources to make it work.

We hope these tips provide some useful best practices for your organization, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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