These days, working from home is a necessity for many. With platforms like Zoom allowing for conferences, seminars, office hours, and even lectures online, it’s too easy to give off the wrong impression accidentally. (Easy with the hoodie and messy bun, Sabine.) However, knowing how to attend virtual meetings successfully is more important than ever. Whether you’re a student or a full-time company executive, preparation for an excellent virtual meeting is the same. Keep reading for some pointers that will help you understand how to conquer your virtual meetings.
1. Wear a nice-looking shirt from the waist up.
Yes, we can get away with wearing sweatpants during a work meeting, class, or whatever it may be. (Just don’t make the mistake of standing up and revealing this secret to others.)
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about our top halves. Wearing a polished, proper top, blouse, or sweater will give off the impression that you’re serious about the meeting, despite it being online.
Pro-tip: collared necklines and blazers look great on Zoom.
2. Apply some light mascara, lip gloss, and powder/concealer.
Of course, these things are optional – but recommended. With the camera’s focus on your face and neck, a little makeup and jewelry will go a long way towards making you appear more polished and put-together. Now, the key is that less is more.
I’m not advocating for a full face of foundation, contour, eyeshadow, red lipstick, and winged eyeliner for these virtual meetings. After all, you don’t want it to look like you’re wearing makeup at all.
Pro-tip: if you are bothered by the glare from your glasses, try contacts.
3. Know how to work the virtual platform.
Figure out all the tech stuff before the meeting starts. Know how to mute your microphone, turn off your camera, share your screen, etc. It takes only a few extra minutes and your meeting attendees will appreciate it.
Pro-tip: always mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking.
4. Look at the camera to make “eye-contact.”
Eye contact does wonders for the psyche, equating to confidence, trust, engagement, curiosity, respect for yourself and the other person. For example, we are more likely to remember faces with which we’ve experienced mutual gaze, and we consider displays of anger and joy to be more intense when shown by a person making eye contact.”
Since we’re all looking at a screen these days, the new way to make eye contact is to look at the camera.
Pro-tip: hide your “self-view” if you tend to look at yourself and not at the camera.
5. Be mindful of your facial expressions.
With all of the attention focused on, essentially, your face, now is not the time for R.B.F. Be extra mindful of the facial expressions you’re displaying. You may be engaged, and you may be in a pleasant mood, but it’s harder to tell when we’re all behind the screen. Show this with your facial movements and gestures! If you feel bored or uninterested (it happens), make it a point to look otherwise.
Pro-tip: nod now and then; smile periodically.
6. Prepare your background, lighting, and surroundings.
There is no point in following steps 1-5 above if your background is sloppy. Does your current set-up reveal a messy bed? A pile of laundry off to the side? The sound of your kids’ playing with Legos behind you (cute, but not professional)?
Make the setting as non-distracting and professional as possible. The best setup is generally a simple (white) wall next to a window. That way, you’ll get natural lighting from the sun, and your background will not distract from your face.
Remind anyone in the proximity of your upcoming meeting and to keep their noise level as low as possible. (Perhaps invest in noise-proof earbuds.)
Pro-tip: if you are stuck with a messy background, try using a high-quality virtual background instead.
7. Get enough sleep.
Eye bags are a natural part of life, but the best treatment to feel and look well-rested is sleep! People are different, but most generally require 6 to 9 hours of quality sleep.
Make sure to hit the hay early enough the night before your meeting so you can showcase your best self – physically and mentally. Your body will thank you!
Pro-tip: check out this article on self-care.
8. Be present.
Stay off Pinterest, Tumblr, or Buzzfeed during your virtual meeting. I repeat: do NOT take these insanely awesome quizzes while you’re in your discussion. In all seriousness, it really can wait until after the meeting is over.
It’s painfully obvious when someone is on Facebook instead of giving their full attention to the meeting. As far as professionalism is concerned, it’s also not a great look. It can come off as offensive or rude to whoever is speaking at that moment, as well as to your fellow virtual attendees.
Pro-tip: turn off your desktop notifications, and distance yourself from your phone.
If you got this far, you’re definitely on the right track for having the most smooth, productive, and respectful virtual meetings. I wish you the best of luck with all of your endeavors, and remember to stay safe and healthy while working from home.
Thoughts or comments? Leave them down below!
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