Virtual Meeting Basics

If you have ever attended an online meeting, teleconference or video conference with one of your coworkers, you may be wondering what preparations are needed into giving a virtual meeting. Fortunately, the basics of a digital or virtual meeting are not difficult at all to understand. It takes is just a little preparation and dedication to having a successful conference.

Have a Specific Topic in Mind

But the first thing that you must know about virtual meetings is that they are usually centered on a specific topic. For example, people who are interested in cats may form a virtual meeting that is aimed to discuss all the creative ways to play with your cat or some issues surrounding the health of their cats. Once you have your topic then the next step is to figure out how you want to set the meeting up. In other words, what types of things do you want to cover?  Just as cat lovers are able to cover health and play topics, so should you have some sub-topics in mind when creating your virtual meeting.

You can jot your headlines or short notes so you don’t forget anything you would like to cover in the meeting.

Decide the Type of Virtual Meeting

One of the more interesting things surrounding the virtual meetings is the variety of ways that they can be held. For example, the traditional teleconference is conducted over the phone with multiple people listening in. This concept is very simple, but what happens when you move the meeting to the internet? People still use teleconference today as well as have video meetings.

Don’t Be Late for Your Virtual Meeting

Since you’re hosting your virtual meeting, you want to remember that first impressions count. In other words, the participants don’t want to attend a meeting where the host of the presentation isn’t even there yet. In addition, there are other unspoken rules of etiquette that the host should be aware of.

Virtual Meeting Etiquette

Mute your phones and notifications. For starters, hosts of online or phone meetings want to make sure that they never leave their audience stranded for any reason, including pausing to answer your cell phone! Please don’t forget to mute your phones to avoid the interruption of sounds from a ringing phone or text messages.

Please NO Eating while you are on a virtual meeting.  Just because you may be attending an online meeting from your home, doesn’t mean all business rules goes out of the window.  Just like when you attend a meeting at a physical office and sit at a conference table, you don’t usually bring your plate of food to that meeting do you? I hope not, unless it’s a lunch provided by the company and you are all eating at the same time. Otherwise, please don’t eat at your virtual meeting. It’s okay to have your drinks such as coffee or water nearby.

Dress appropriately.  Again, just because you are attending your video meeting from home, doesn’t mean you can appear on camera with your worn-out shirt, old sweatshirts, hair not combed.  Please appear on video as if you were appearing in your physical office meeting. You don’t roll into that meeting with your hair not combed and in old t-shirts.  I’ve been in virtual meetings where some of the women, looked like they just got out of bed. Please fix your hair, and if you wear makeup, put it on. Don’t appear on camera with your robes on.

Mute Yourself. Keep your mic on mute when you are not speaking.  Too many times, we hear people in the background, kids making noise, dogs barking, doorbells ringing throughout the whole meeting time.

Lighting. Ensure everyone can see your face. You can buy desktop O-ring from Amazon or move your lamp next to your computer.

Start and End on time. Additionally, participants of your meeting usually want to start on time and end on time. Do not get off track or off topic for any reason. Don’t start to talk about how your dog is running around looking silly right now.  Keep focused on your topic and stay as professional and business-like.  These are actually fairly easy and expectations.

One last thing that you should know about your teleconference or virtual meeting is how you will end it.

  • Will you be giving out your private or business phone number or your email address to those who want to discuss private matters?
  • Will you set up a date and time for the next teleconference or virtual meeting?

All of these things are issues that one needs to think about before starting their teleconference or virtual meeting. But after you figure out all of this then it will definitely be ready on time to get the show on the road and finally present your meeting to the world!

Here are some resources for your virtual or teleconference meetings:

Video Conference Services

Zoom (US version) – Free for 40 minutes, you will need to download their software

Skype – Free, just sign up with Skype, you now have the option to download their software or not

Google Meet – Free, you need to have a Gmail account, use while logged into Google. You can have up to 3 participants for a 1-hour meeting. Google also has paid services

TeleConference Services

These are great if you must be on the phone with a client, or coaching client. You can avoid passing out your personal cell phone number by signing up with one of the services below:

Free Conference Call – Free, just sign up. Excellent for coaches or those doing online and don’t want to provide your cell phone number. Everyone will need to call in the teleconference number, enter the meeting pin

Free Conference .Com – Free, sign up with a free account They have free and paid service, again everyone calls in, including you and gets on the same call

Uber Conference – Free, sign up and no need for pin numbers. The free version can have up to 10 people join the call

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