Digital era: how to hold online meetings?
My name is Nataliia and last week I had several meetings and training on Zoom, an online marathon on YouTube, and we congratulated a friend on his birthday on Skype. We had several problems at each stage and with each program, but the people in the team and the organizers were willing to cooperate, so almost everything was overcome. So, I gonna share with you some useful tips on how to organize online meetings in the best way not only for you but for others. But there are points that are not critical to effectiveness: they are more about whether you go out after a meeting with the main character, whether you start avoiding your colleagues, because they start to annoy you and whether you feel confident in the role of those who organize meetings.
It is a well-known fact that we are living in the digital era. Especially now, in Corona realities, online meetings replaced usual ones. So, we can hold as many online meetings a day as possible, because we don't have to go to a meeting, to be even more effective. From my perspective, it's sometimes very exhausting. So next - how to use online so that it was just a change in the format of the dialogue and did not add stress and misunderstanding in the team.
Perfect preparation for a call organizer
If you are organizing a meeting, you need to solve several tasks. The first is to choose a platform that fits your goals. There are many of them, at first glance they have similar functionality, but differ quite significantly. One of the programs allows you to make learning very convenient, even with the division of people into subgroups. Another allows you to make several rooms for the organization of simultaneous translation, which work simultaneously. Some of these programs are available for free but do not meet corporate security standards. And others are expensive and you don't know right away if they will be useful to you. This is a management decision and you are responsible for it. The only advice you can use is to try several different platforms to find the right one for your team.
Basic questions to be answered when choosing a platform for calls (in fact, this list can be larger and deeper):
- On which devices is it installed?
- Does it support video?
- What allows and does not allow us to make the free version?
- Is it possible for the organizer to mute audio and video in others?
- Is it possible to demonstrate the screen?
So, as the person organizing the meeting, you need to decide on the time - be sure to highlight not only when the online meeting starts, but also when it ends, so that everyone can plan their time after it. It is also best to give 15 extra minutes before the start so that the team can test their devices and control the platform.
In addition to the link to enter the meeting, it is also good to make brief instructions for participants if you have certain rules or requests for them. For example, "Please install the program on a working laptop, register in advance, fill in the registration in the format" Name, Surname "without third-party nicknames, be sure to attach a photo."
But more interesting is when we start talking about ordinary members of online circles. You, the team, do the work. It is you who now need protection from the stress of remote work, and it is up to you to feel in the mood at the meeting. Why from you? Because if you want, you can very effectively spoil this mood)) In order not to do such damage unintentionally, here are some tips for "new etiquette" for online meetings.
During the meeting
Are online meetings the same as offline? Yes and no. People are the same, the issues you address are the same, and the content of communication depends on the same people as before. With all the bad and good features of a particular person - if someone could not express their opinion briefly and clearly, in online circles, this problem will be even more noticeable. If the person moderating the meeting does not know how to keep the rules of the time, online it will irritate everyone even more. During online circles, the position of the camera relative to the image is such that you (actually your brain) do not understand that someone is looking you in the eye. You do not feel the impact, you do not understand who is talking to whom. What can be done about it? When you address someone, in particular, call him or her by name and wait for the answer "yes, I'm listening to you"; make sure that everything works for the person and you can be heard. Try to amplify emotions, say them where in normal communication you would have enough to "look out loud" or nod your head when you listen carefully.
What to do when you receive an invitation letter
How to prepare? Start with a reminder. This will help you to keep in touch when you need to get in touch. Remote work disrupts the rhythms of life and sometimes you can forget what day of the week it is, so you don't have to neglect the primitive setting of reminders in the calendar.
Place. The most important thing in the place where you will communicate is a quality connection. If you need to sit on the floor near the Wi-Fi amplifier, then it happens (until you get bored and you do not solve the problem to sit in meetings more comfortably).
Appearance. It is better to overcome the temptation to stay in bed under a blanket and find a place where you will look in a "working" active form. via GIPHY It will be more convenient for you to communicate with colleagues if everyone will look on the screen most similar to your usual communication. How to do it? Put the laptop or phone at eye level. Sit so that your whole face is visible, and when you talk, then your hand movements - it adds life to your words, takes away the artificiality of communication with the monitor. Backgrounds. In some applications, you can choose different options for the background - "blur" (blur) the background that you have, choose virtual backgrounds (some companies have sets of their own corporate backgrounds from real offices), or leave everything as it is. The more minimalist the background, the less headaches you will leave behind in your interlocutors.
Lighting. If you make a call during the day, try to sit by the window so that the light falls on you at an angle. If it's night, turn on an extra lamp, again so that the light falls at an angle, or point the lamp in the mirror so that it is scattered through it. As it should not be. If you want to break the "anti-bingo", then here are some real-life tips. You need to sit with your back to the window so that your face is not visible at all. Bookshelves are even better. No one will see the names of your lovingly selected publications and their authors, but with each movement, you will see a flicker that can cause real, not virtual, nausea.
Clothing. Yes, yes, we have all become a few TV presenters, so you can use the already used "life hacks" - do not wear striped, too bright, with sequins and shimmer. It's all very distracting from the face we all try to look at and read on the lips when the connection gets bad.
Video verification. You may even use antiseptic to wipe your computer more often, which can leave stains on your laptop camera. Wipe the camera. You'll laugh, but I have a lot of acquaintances who are amazed at how well the camera shows after wiping dust or grease out of it (if it's the front camera of a smartphone). It's best to go online a few minutes early to check how the camera is showing, and most importantly how to keep it from showing. Why? It depends on your internal rules and the number of people present at the meeting. Some organizers ask everyone to stay with the cameras on, but it's less exhausting when only those people who are currently talking in the frame turn on the video. If you have a job, and the device from which you go to an online meeting (to which you are called, which means that you are an important person), then please buy yourself quality headphones with a microphone. I'm sure you can afford it. This is not about professional equipment with a pop filter. You also need to check the sound before you talk, and learn to turn it off later. And do it on the first phrase from colleagues: "who blows his nose into the microphone again so that no one can hear?". Don't talk - microphone "on mute".
At some meetings, it happens that someone does not have headphones and manages to use only a built-in laptop microphone. Most often it will look like this - you lean closer and closer to the microphone, and only your nostrils and upper lip will be visible on the entire screen. Everyone present will feel either in the role of a dentist in front of you, or as if they are looking into your nostrils while kneeling in front of you. This will not give you an advantage in negotiations, but will only cause the feeling that the conversation with you should somehow just endure.
All in all, online meetings will not disappear after the end of restrictive measures, because many people are already accustomed to working remotely. We need to get used to doing this with empathy and respect for others. In conclusion, just now instead of "kisses to all in this chat!" it is better to use other signs of respect.