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Susan Hoffman

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By Susan Hoffman
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With recent governmental requests to work remotely, holding a virtual meeting to discuss projects with one’s coworkers has become very popular. But like any meeting, there are best practices to follow in order to ensure that the meeting remains efficient and effective.

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To aid businesses whose employees have shifted to a remote work model, American Public University System’s Center for Teaching and Learning team, under the leadership of Associate Provost Dr. Michael Cottam, has created a visual guide. A downloadable version of this virtual meeting guide is available, and the text is reproduced below.

Best Practices for a Virtual Meeting

The best virtual meetings start with paying attention to appearance, sound and engagement.

Appearance

  1. Lighten up your space – Lighting should be in front of you. Backlit spaces will cast shadows over your face.
  2. Check the background – Ensure that the space behind you (what others will see) is tidy and neat. Make sure that you do not have anything offensive, private, or overly personal showing on your webcam. Use a virtual backdrop if necessary.
  3. Get strategic with camera angles – Place your computer so that others see you from the shoulders up. Make sure that you are not “hovering” over others on the webcam or looking up at them from below.

Sound

  1. Quiet, please – Let those who are sharing physical space with you know you have a virtual meeting. Make sure you know how to quickly mute unexpected background noise. Also, quiet other types of distractions, too.
  2. Listen up – Make sure that your internet connection is strong enough to support your virtual meeting. In some cases, if you are experiencing “spotty” audio, it may be helpful to turn off your video – or try calling into the meeting instead of using your computer audio.

Engagement

  1. Bring your energy Even though you are separated by distance, you can still engage with enthusiasm. Make sure that you prepare appropriately for your virtual meeting so your best self shows up. Remember to smile!
  2. Let’s hear from everyone Give everyone online an opportunity to share and contribute. Be cognizant of the time allotted for the meeting and share to add value, leaving space and time for others to do the same.
  3. Just roll with it Remember that, despite our best-laid plans, the unexpected will happen. That’s okay!

Even though virtual meetings have become much more routine in business, that doesn’t mean they can’t be productive as well. Planning ahead and being adaptable go a long way toward creating a successful virtual meeting.