[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We understand it is difficult to not see the people you may encounter on a daily basis. We all have had to learn how to navigate virtual video conferences, but we have found it easier to handle with these great computer-based meetings tips. If you are a participant, your job is pretty easy, make sure you can get into the meeting and it is similar to a meeting in person. The presenter role can be a bit more challenging. How do you conduct your online meeting?      

Whether you are the participant or presenter, some great tips include:

  • Arrive early – many people have meetings on the hour so sometimes it can be difficult to be on time if you try right at 10 A.M.. If you cannot make the meeting at 9:55 A.M., scheduling the time at 10:15 A.M. or 10:30 A.M. would generally work better so you can make sure you are a few minutes early.
  • Test your equipment. Make sure your camera and microphone are working…and get familiar with muting yourself so if the dog barks or children are playing, it will not distract other participants from getting as much out of the meeting as possible. This is one of the most important parts of a meeting, if you can see and hear everyone and they cannot see and/or hear you, you will not easily get your point across.
  • Keep your background simple. It’s great if you can demonstrate your attention to detail and flare for decor if you have your computer in a corner facing out to the room behind you. If you are stuck in a spare bedroom office, a blank wall or one simple picture is great. You want coworkers and business associates to see that you are professional at all times.

If you are the presenter you will want to make sure that you follow these additional great computer-based meetings tips:

  • Introduce all of the participants that may not know each other. It makes everyone a little more comfortable as opposed to digging right in. Be sure to not overdo the intros, everyone’s time is valuable. 
  • Know how to share your screen  and make sure other files are closed to ensure you can find what you need when you need it. 
  • Be prepared with everything you want to cover during the meeting. Have paper and pen handy so you can jot notes, suggest the participants do as well- if applicable.
  • Frequently look at your camera. This is a hard one. People can see my screen and I use my mouse to point, however, this makes it seem like my eyes are closed and it can be difficult to make participants feel engaged.
  • Keep track of time! All of the free versions have a strict 40-minute limit. This is great for productivity. Instead of meetings droning on for an hour and a half, you need to get to the point and let everyone go. If you want time for Q&A, make your presentation brief. Make sure whoever is on the meeting has your contact information in case a question comes to mind.
  • If you do need to extend your time, make sure you have purchased the full version or make sure you can quickly get new meeting information to the group.
  • Check and (check again)  that password security is turned on. Unfortunately, hackers have used this time to grab a hold of anything they can.
  • Finally, be relaxed. If you are tense, it will show. Practicing meetings with family members will help alleviate stress. Know that glitches happen. Your group will forgive you. They’ll probably be grateful that you were the presenter instead of them.