It seems some of us have lapsed into habits that are not conducive to a professional look and to be honest, this puts me off and is very irritating.

Are the meetings you attend structured and have a clear purpose and desired outcome?

Here are some of my recent observations of what I am often still seeing and experiencing at virtual meetings.

  • People not being central to the screen.
  • Bad lighting, too dark, too bright, or even flickering lights or lots of glare from ring lights back into the glasses they are wearing.
  • Fidgeting, being distracted and not looking at the person you are speaking to.
  • Interrupting!!! MY PET HATE.
  • Droaning on about yourself and SELLING!
  • Slumped back in the chair like you are not very interested and generally bad body language.
  • Distractions of answering the door, seeing to a child or pet.
  • Constantly arriving late for a meeting.
  • Being MUTED !!! that old excuse.
  • Some attendees are ignored or the conversation is dominated by certain people and hence people’s attention lapses.
  • Lack of interaction- meeting lurkers and not contributing.

Before the meeting, all the settings on your computer need to be checked and any backgrounds set correctly, sound working, and the camera on. This is SO important if this is the first time you are meeting with someone as first impressions really count. Believe me, despite the three years of us all doing this people are still doing many of the above!

We all spend so many hours in different types of meetings whether in person or online and hence we should always be considering how we can maximise these meeting opportunities with our connections, and this includes how we are perceived by others.

So ask yourself;

Am I guilty of any of the above and what can I change?

How effective are these meetings? 

Do meetings drain the life out of me or am I energised afterwards?

Was that meeting necessary or indeed did I need to be there or was it meeting bloat?

Also, it is vital that the person running the meeting controls it and

  • Does not let others dominate.
  • Has got the right attendees there?
  • Does not interrupt unless really necessary.
  • Support others if they are quiet or new to the meeting.
  • Opens with clear instructions for the meeting so people know what to expect and concludes with the next steps and actions at the end.

Virtual Meetings still command huge attention to the way you look and the obvious challenges of internet connections.

So do make sure of the points above but also to

  • Dress appropriately
  • Stand out with colours but don’t clash with a background you have set or clothes that are too bright.
  • Don’t speak too loudly or softly and make sure your diction is clear, so your message gets across.

Before your next meeting just take 10 minutes to check some of the above and you will be surprised what positive effects this will have.