How to prepare virtual meetings and etiquette to follow

In this era of the digital age and the internet virtual meeting have become common. A virtual meeting is held where the participants are in different locations around the globe. This makes them convenient and cuts operational and travel costs. But like all technology online meetings have their own challenges.

The main challenge is people don’t feel like it is a real meeting hence they don’t follow good meeting etiquette. Again if it is your first time preparing and holding an online meeting you may be wondering what should you do to make the virtual meeting effective.

To counter these challenges members should be given the meeting protocols and requirements before the meeting start. This will ensure you have a fruitful meeting with minimal interruptions. We discuss how you can prepare for an effective meeting as a host and what etiquette and rules those who will participate can follow.

How to prepare for an effective online meeting?

Have you ever found yourself required to prepare for a virtual meeting but you don’t even know where to start? You are not alone on this; it can be a tasking issue especially if you have not done it before.

To prepare for an online video conference you can use this checklist to ensure everything is well before the meeting start.

  1. Choose the platform to use.

Currently, there are many platforms that you can choose from as we discussed earlier. The choice of the platform will depend on several issues.

Has the facilitator of the meeting, how well you know how to use the platform?

Other members in the meeting, are they comfortable and familiar with the platform?

Can the platform open from the internet browser or you will need to install it as a separate program? By answering this question you can be able to decide which platform to use.

  1. Schedule the meeting and send the link to members.

Has the organizer of the meeting you will be required to create a link that you send to members on time to ensure they know the day and time of the meeting. Most of the platforms offer a simple click-and-send method of scheduling a meeting.

  1. Choose a co-host and inform them.

A co-host is someone who takes over the meeting in case you are not available online during the meeting. This can be a result of poor internet connection or any other issue that may happen during the meeting.

  1. Ensure your microphone, camera and speaker are working ok.

These are gadgets that will enable communication for audio and visual. You should test to ensure that they are working before the meeting start.

  1. Ensure good internet connection and power supply are available

For power, ensure you use a laptop that is fully charged. If you will be using a desktop ensure you have power backup or UPS. Good internet speed is a must for video conferences.

  1. Prepare the room to look presentable.

Ensure the room where you will conduct the meeting has enough lighting and is presentable. Have a somewhere to note down issues raised by members at the meeting.

  1. Set the platform to ensure that when a user enters the meeting their microphone and video are muted.

The video takes a lot of internet bandwidth which can slow down the connection speed if many users use video at the same time.

  1. Prepare material for the meeting.

Prepare material required for the meeting such as agenda, and previous minutes for the meeting among others. If you will require to do a presentation ensure you have them and test that they are working.

  1. Identify the best method that you will use to record attendance.

Automatically some platform has a way of recording attendance. If using an internet browser some have plug-ins that can help to record attendance automatically.

Virtual meeting etiquette and rules.

For an effective meeting to happen member attending should be able to follow some guidelines to ensure everybody benefits from the meeting. You can always give the rules and etiquette of the meeting in the preliminaries. This makes sure everybody is informed. These are just basic guidelines but it will depend on the type and objective of your virtual meeting.

  1. Always mute your video and audio when you are not using them.

This will reduce distracting sounds coming from different member backgrounds. Sometimes people forget that they are in a meeting and they start doing and saying funny things that should not be heard or seen by other members. By muting audio and video you can avoid embarrassing situations.

  1. Introduction of the presenter to the audience

The meeting organizer should introduce all presenters and if possible on video for other members to have an idea of who is talking. This is especially if the meeting has members who don’t know each other.

  1. Raise your hand when you have a question.

Most platforms have a way of the audience raising their hand (using an emoji) where the presenter can sample who to ask the question.

  1. As a participant test if the platform is working before the meeting starts.

Ensure all is well before the meeting starts. Test the microphone, speaker, and camera. Also, ensure you have the right platform installed on your device.

  1. Check your room condition

Where you will be during the meeting matters. The room should not have background noises and it should also have enough light if you need to use video. Again you don’t what to work from a bedroom or other funny place in case your video camera is left ON by mistake.

  1. Don’t share the screen unless requested to do so by the coordinator of the meeting.

BY sharing the screen you distract the flow of the meeting. Members will tend to focus on your presentation instead of the real content of the meeting.

  1. Meeting recording

If you’re the organizer of the meeting inform the members that you will record the meeting. This detail can also be sent together with the joining link so that when the member joins they already know that the meeting will be recorded.