Moving from in-person meetings to virtual meetings feels like an easy task until you realize that there are a few more tiny details that need to be remembered in lieu of the normal office meetings you’re used to. Virtual meetings fall in the field of our expertise, so we want to help our community convert those in-person meetings into virtual ones with this simple how-to.
First Things First – The Calendar Invite
You’ll want to send a calendar invite to the team you’re meeting with. The calendar invite is particularly important in this case, because not only will it display the date and time of the meeting, but this is also where you can input your conference room logistics as an easy point of reference for the team. They can access the meeting room logistics right from their calendars!
Oftentimes, the invites that online conference rooms offer are incredibly detailed and hard to follow. See the below example of a cleaned up Zoom invite:
Join by Computer: [conference room link goes here]
Password: [conference room password goes here]
Join by Computer Using Phone as Audio:
Click the link – [conference room link goes here]
mute yourself on the computer
Dial [dial-in phone number goes here], input the Meeting ID [Meeting ID goes here], and password.
Join by Phone Only – Join with phone only by calling the number above and inputting the Meeting ID & Password
Visit Zoom’s Download Center to download the app on your smartphone.
Be sure to include all attendees in the calendar invite so that everyone gets the information needed to successfully join the meeting.
Pre-Meeting Prep Work
Send an email to all meeting attendees instructing them to download Zoom (or the video conference room platform of choice) ahead of time, so that logging in on the day of the meeting is seamless.
Next, you’ll want to offer to schedule a quick virtual meeting with the attendees to test out the online conference room features, answer questions, and ensure that everyone is comfortable with the chosen platform. You and the attendees can also use this time to check the computer’s microphone and audio settings so that it’s all set up and ready to go on the day of the meeting.
Be sure you advise the meeting attendees to be prepared to join the meeting with their cameras on. This enhances the in-person feel and effectiveness of the meeting.
If there are any documents that will be needed for the meeting, request those documents be emailed to you 48 hours before the scheduled meeting. By receiving documents ahead of time, you’ll have more time to prepare for the meeting.
The Day of the Meeting
You’ll want to choose a well-lit area of your home for the meeting. You’ll also want to choose a place that doesn’t have a lot of clutter behind you. Remember, everyone can see what’s behind you, so we wouldn’t recommend setting up in your bedroom with an unmade bed in the background.
To stay focused during the meeting, close out any tabs in your browser window that don’t pertain to the subject matter of the meeting. By neglecting this step, you’ll be tempted to check your email while Jane Doe is giving important information that you don’t need to miss.
Keep your cell phone silenced during the meeting. Brownie points if you put your phone out of sight. Trust us, it can be more of a distraction than one might realize.
Plan to arrive at the meeting at least 15 minutes prior to the designated start time. This way, you give yourself plenty of time to ensure that you are ready to go!
Come to the meeting prepared with the documents needed and paper/pens for taking notes; just as you would for an in-person meeting.
For all-day meetings, have snacks, lunch, and drinks nearby. When prepared in this area, attendees can take advantage of breaks and chat together on non-work items.
It’s important to remember that interruptions and distractions will happen. You’re working from home now, and the chances of children, pets, and even spouses interrupting are high. It’s okay. We’re all living this virtual life right now.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Keep yourself muted when not speaking. This will help to drown out any background noises like dogs barking, children running amuck, etc. Just don’t forget to unmute yourself when it’s time to talk again.
Come to the meeting dressed as though you were attending the meeting in the office. Yes, this means you’ll need to wear pants.
If you need to leave your computer at any time during the meeting, turn your camera off. Leaving the meeting attendees to stare at your unoccupied space can be distracting.
If you are working from multiple screens, be sure you have Zoom opened on the screen that houses your camera. If you don’t go this route, the meeting attendees will be forced to interact with the side of your face.
Don’t fret. We’re in this together! If you have additional questions or need additional support, we would love to help you in any way that we can. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll respond promptly, ready to jump in and support you.