At the beginning of 2020, the world was rocked by a pandemic that many did not initially take seriously. Now, over halfway through the year, many of us are still locked down and forced to work from home instead of returning to our offices. Fortunately, workers like freelancers have been doing this for years so we know how to handle the sudden remote work life. Below are a few tips to help you get ready for virtual meetings.
Test your setup
One of the most important factors of working from home and attending virtual meetings is to make sure your setup has been tested thoroughly to avoid any issues right before or during a meeting. In the past, an IT team would likely have taken care of this for you but since you will now need to do it alone, be sure to check the following things well before your meeting begins.
Be sure to test your internet connection so that you are confident that your broadband can handle a virtual meeting. It is also important to remember that the more people attending the meeting, the more your connection will be strained due to the additional video feeds coming through.
Camera and Microphone
Next up you will need to check your camera and microphone, these can both be checked offline by searching them in your computer’s start menu so make sure your camera is clear and your voice is being picked up. It is also a good idea to use headphones with a built-in mic when attending a meeting, not only to keep your voice clear but also to avoid any echoes that your speakers may transmit to the other members in the call.
The software you’ll be using
Finally, you will need to test out the software you plan to use. One of the most popular options available at the moment is Zoom so make sure you download the app ahead of time and make a quick test call with someone you know. This test call will also serve to confirm whether your connection, camera, and microphone are all working correctly as your partner will be able to give you feedback on how you look and sound.
Be aware of your surroundings
To ensure a clear video and sound, you will need to find an area in your home to broadcast from that has good lighting and is preferably away from loud noises.
These noises can be anything from road work outside to a housemate using a blender nearby. It is also important to take your background into account, whether you have sensitive information behind you if you just want to avoid distractions from people walking around in the background, or even if you simply have an untidy room you can use virtual backgrounds.
Find out more about how virtual backgrounds can help to prevent distractions and keep your personal space private and away from prying eyes at Hello Backgrounds. These virtual backgrounds are a great tool that is almost essential to working from home as they can help you to maintain a professional appearance without having to scramble and clean up your house beforehand.
Just like in a regular, face to face meeting, be sure to avoid unnecessary distractions such as phone calls and computer notifications. This one sounds obvious but you would be surprised how easy it is to forget these things when you are in the comfort of your own home. If you have children or housemates, it may also be a good idea to ensure that they know you are in a meeting and to shut yourself away for its duration.
Review the meeting’s agenda
If available, you should always try to look over the meeting’s agenda so you have an idea of what will be covered and see if they have included any ground rules in said agenda. This will not only help you to understand and prepare, but it will also help to streamline the meeting if all the attendees have an overview of what to expect.
Remember good video conferencing etiquette
Just like with face to face interaction, you want to be polite and friendly, this can, however, be challenging when in a virtual conference call. To provide the best experience for both yourself and the other members of the meeting, try to follow the tips below:
- Mute yourself when you’re not speaking
- Try to be in a quiet area
- Remove pets and children from the room
- Speak as clearly as possible
- Look directly into the camera
- Avoid multitasking