This article is part of our ‘Covid-19 & the Job Market’ resource pack. View more here.

Having a 9am meeting no longer means having to battle traffic and an extended commute. That’s one good thing out of COVID-19. However, this means changing your mindset from ‘home’ mode to ‘work’ mode just as the clock starts ticking. There is a whole new set of etiquette to be learned. The best part is – most of us are learning and getting acquainted with online meetings now and at the same pace. It also takes more effort to get the message across.

Although it is more often than not a question of common sense – there are a few things we might forego or not think as important. Whilst in a usual meeting some things may go unnoticed, on a Zoom/ Skype/ Google Meet meeting everything is amplified since you’re constantly being seen. Here are a few tips we’ve picked up in our research.

Make sure your tech is set up

Do a test call beforehand and try to keep the same spot from one meeting to the next – that will avoid any connection issues due to walls being in the way and your set up is predictable from one call to the next. This also includes getting acquainted with the software. Know where the mute, video and screen share buttons are. Once the green light is on, you need to be set and ready for the meeting.

Focus on the camera

Although it may be tempting to look at your colleagues or yourself when in a virtual meeting, to maintain eye contact with your colleagues, the trick is to look at the camera instead. It’s not something which comes naturally to anyone as human beings, of course, as we are used to speaking to faces not a dark dot at the top of our screen. Remember, that looking directly at the camera is the virtual meeting’s way of maintaining eye contact. You will not look confident if you’ve been looking at the floor in real life. Looking directly at the camera helps get your message across. Practise makes perfect. Make sure to include the occasional blink too – you don’t want to get your eyes watery from staring too much. Just think of the camera as a human person’s eyes.

When speaking don’t look away

The connection is never totally perfect, and hearing someone’s message completely is already a miracle in itself. Don’t make it worse, by looking away or muffling your speakers. Speak a bit louder than usual, and work on your diction. This is not your normal meeting, so new rules apply here. Using a louder voice also prevents you from speaking too quickly.

Get that background sorted

Make sure you’re sitting in front of a serene background. A busy background is distracting, pulls attention away from you and also makes you seem disorganised. It is also wise to frame yourself wisely. Ideally your head and top of your shoulders should be within the screen. If part of your head is cut off, you must be too close, if your whole torso is showing, you’re too far away. Pick your location wisely and check yourself before going live. Much like we’ve mentioned in our remote hiring post – similar rules apply. Avoid being distracted by other members of the household. Sort out your space before you go live.

Do not multitask in a meeting

You may be tempted to check your emails, or look at your phone, but avoid looking distracted. Remember you’re always on camera. If a newscaster had to do something similar when live everyone would notice – this is a similar situation.

Have any tips? Feel free to share. Let’s keep the conversation going, and spread the word, not the virus.

Tag a friend or colleague who needs to read this.

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