Tech Tips By Margaret: The Rules for Virtual Meetings That Nobody Taught You

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Many people have had to adjust to their work or school being virtual for over a year now, so they might believe they’ve got it all figured out at this point. Yet the reality is this situation is still very new for everyone, people are still figuring out the rules, and there isn’t a whole lot of training on how to make the virtual adjustment.

That’s why authors Karin Reed and Joe Allen have put together the book Suddenly Virtual: Making Remote Meetings Work. We’ve spent our whole lives learning how to improve our public speaking and presentations for a live audience.

Now that that audience is virtual, it only makes sense you’d need some guidance on how to adapt to those new circumstances. Suddenly Virtual offers advice on how to improve many areas of your online meetings.

Keeping a Professional Virtual Appearance

Sitting in a home office is more relaxed, but you still need to be mindful that you have an audience. Beyond just wearing suitable attire, you also want to take care of all the technical aspects to improve your video.

If you’re relying on an old computer camera your video feed and sound might not be at a good quality for everyone else. Make sure to notice how your feed appears to others.

You might even notice your office doesn’t look how you think on camera, potentially appearing dimly lit to others. Improving your appearance could be as simple as keeping a light on when you do virtual meetings.

Not Everything Has to be a Meeting

Some people might think that switching to virtual means anything that would have been face-to-face interaction has to be substituted with time doing video calls. Zoom is just one of your virtual tools, though.

Suddenly Virtual will help you get better at figuring out what types of conversations require being on video, what’s better done by chat services like Slack, or even a simple email. If you try to turn everything into a meeting people will become burnt out very quickly.

Make Sure Other Voices Get to be Heard

In a normal meeting it wouldn’t be uncommon for there to be tangents in the discussion, people asking questions midway through, or even time for some friendly small talk. Those interactions are healthy and help keep everyone engaged in the conversation.

Expecting everyone to simply sit attentively for an hour while holding all their questions until the end is dull for the listeners and puts all the pressure on the speaker to always be on the ball. If you’re just doing the daily meeting then try to keep the tone open for others to chime in so they can feel involved too.

Suddenly Virtual elaborates on these topics in more detail, as well as many others that could be creating unnecessary difficulties in your virtual environment. If you feel like you could be getting more out of your digital workplace, don’t navigate the problems alone when you can get help.

Karin Reed is an Emmy Award winning former anchorwoman who coaches executives on virtual communication, and Joe Allen is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah as well as the Director for The Center for Meeting Effectiveness.


With over 30 years in business, Haverford Systems Inc. is a GOLD Level Certified Zoom Integration partner and the Delaware Valley’s most experienced audiovisual design and integration company. 

Our teams work with trusted and well-known industry brands to create state-of-the-art systems that help in-office and remote teams collaborate and get more done.

Click here to set up a conversation with Margaret to discuss your next conference room project.

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