Professional woman smiling and engaged during her video meetings

Still struggling with video meetings? Read these tips

Due to the pandemic, many of us have now logged months of working from home and participating in video meetings.

We’ve spruced up our backgrounds. We’ve figured out where to place our cameras. We’re trying to remember not to eat while we’re on video.

One would think we’d all gotten the hang of participating in virtual meetings by now. Think again.

Just last week I listened to a webinar where two panelists, both in the pharmaceuticals industry, lamented that many people still do not have the hang of video meetings. Their comments ranged from body language and tone to what meeting moderators and virtual presenters could do to improve.

In short, they wanted their colleagues and industry leaders to be more professional during video meetings. And they’re right. Because every single time we give a virtual presentation or simply participate in a video meeting, we make an impression on colleagues, managers, clients, and even friends.

Here are 4 tips for making a good impression in video meetings.

1. Watch your speed and enunciation. You’ve likely been on a video meeting where some of the speakers, including yourself, cut in and out due to poor network quality. While you may not be able to improve your connection, paying close attention to how quickly you speak and how well you enunciate will help others understand what you say.

If you speak quickly, delays in video or a poor Internet connection can cause people to miss part of what you said. When you speak more slowly, it’s easier for listeners to fill in any gaps.

Another issue that can come up is enunciation, especially with letters that sound nearly the same. I was on a meeting this week where an attendee was talking about DevOps. Since I wasn’t familiar with his company yet, I kept hearing “BevOps” and wondering what it was. As soon as he said, “with a d as in dog,” everything clicked.

If you’re speaking and listeners can’t understand you, spell it out or give an example rather than repeating a hard-to-understand word or phrase several times.

2. Be aware of your body language. By now most of us can at least remember we’re on camera. So we can avoid standing up where people might see the sweatpants paired with that nice top. But those are just movements that can annoy or distract your colleagues.

To make the most of your video meetings, in addition to paying attention with your ears, pay attention with the rest of your body. Lean forward when someone else is speaking so they can see you’re truly engaged.

Look in the camera frequently, instead of checking your email, so you can engage with others. And if you have unconscious habits, such as furrowing your brow or clenching your teeth, see them and become aware of when you’re doing – then relax.

Professional woman staring off into space during her video meetings.
Failure to look at the camera during video meetings can send the wrong signal to your colleagues.

3. Be considerate of others. While we have gotten better at not eating while on video, I’m surprised at how many of my clients still complain about loud typing, people forgetting to go on mute while they call out to someone else in their household, and people still saying, “Could you repeat that? I wasn’t paying attention.”

Following the simple rule of treating others how you would like to be treated goes a long way in building better relationships with colleagues.

Pay attention when others speak. Mute yourself if you’re typing or in a loud location.

4. Above all, be professional. Everything you say and do in a video meeting reflects on your reputation and the image others have of you. While you may know your coworkers well and feel you can be casual with them, you never know when one of them may become your boss, or what they are saying to others about you.

Dress and act professionally. If you’re giving a virtual presentation, make and use a Message Map to ensure you deliver a clear, consistent story.

And those funny backgrounds some people like to use? Keep in mind that not everyone may find them funny. Always use a tasteful background, and think about other ways you can show your personality without annoying or distracting others.

Participating in video meetings can be challenging as it gets harder to engage and stay engaged, particularly if your entire day is full of virtual meetings. But by being aware of how you sound and look, and by being considerate of others, you can protect your image and set an example for others to follow.

Need to coach your team on how to communicate and present effectively via videoconference? We can help. Email us today.

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