We're right alongside you learning to cope with remote working and meeting our clients, colleagues and suppliers online these past few weeks.

Even when the lockdown due to Coronavirus ends, I think most of us will still be using technology to meet people. Here's what we've learned so far on how to make Zoom meetings as productive and professional as possible.

Before you start the meeting - 5 tips

  1. Set up Zoom parameters - In (zoom.us/profile/setting) set all the parameters you want as defaults in the meeting. It's probably best to allow people to join before you but mute them until you get there.
  2. Invite people – make sure all your instructions are clear and invite people to join 5 or 10 minutes before the meeting is due to start, so that they can ensure that the technology is working correctly.
  3. Clean up your computer desktop before starting a virtual meeting. If you are sharing content, you may accidentally expose file names or documents, screen wallpaper etc that you don't want participants to see.
  4. Experiment with the camera height and position. Check your camera to make sure you get a flattering and professional looking angle.
  5. Check your background – a blank wall behind you with no windows or distracting clutter is ideal. Some people like to have an image projected on a green screen. Virtual backgrounds without green screens 'leak' the background and cause distracting shadowing. You might consider a roll-up corporate banner behind you or a green screen and a virtual background which is a plain white image with your organisation's logo on it, but a plain wall is usually fine.

During the meeting - 5 tips

  1. At the outset, show (or remind participants of) the basic controls - raised hands etc.
  2. Have an agenda prepared that you can share on screen, and keep referring back to it as you move through the meeting.
  3. Speak clearly and a little bit more slowly than you would one-to-one. Modulate your voice - make it animated!
  4. Keep people engaged - smile, use stories, bring in others to speak, share content, vary the activities (breakouts, polls, discussion etc), make your movements slow and natural and keep still and focused while others are talking.
  5. Don't interrupt people, it's not great at any time, but with Zoom, if you talk over someone it causes the audio to switch away from that person and cuts them off so no one else in the meeting can hear them.

We'lll be using Zoom to deliver our latest online courses including Leading Strategically.

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