In the first part of this series, we discussed best practices around the scheduling and setup of remote meetings based on my experience at a digital marketing agency. Remote work is becoming more and more popular and has really been found to be a great way for companies to grow their marketing team. Let’s dive in, so you’ve successfully scheduled a meeting. Now let’s discuss etiquette. Just because you’re in your home office, doesn’t mean you get to show up in a bathrobe (I’m not being facetious...this happened in a meeting last week).
If it’s not immediately clear, start with introductions. Each attendee should introduce themselves and perhaps a quick line about their relevance to the meeting’s goals. As per the agenda we discussed in part 1, you’ve sent it out in advance but this is also the time to quickly remind everyone why you’ve come together.
IGNORE YOUR PHONE (AND YOUR SECOND SCREEN)
There are so many screens in our world that provide easy distractions. I shake my fist at push notifications but so far have yet to turn them off. Not sure where I stand on that particular issue to be honest.
If you are going to work while you’re on a call, at least have the courtesy of doing it on the same screen as your camera so you’re not looking off-camera for the whole call.
But really, just pay attention.
TRY NOT TO INTERRUPT
Video calls offer the visual cues to avoid interruptions you don’t get on a traditional conference call. But you’re not in the same room as each other and sometimes technology has opinions, so it’s bound to happen. You don’t need to raise your hand (though I’ve been known to do so) but you can give visual cues to indicate that you’d like to speak next.
One challenge we face is that the US team of our digital marketing agency is entirely remote but we often have meetings with the folks in our Israeli headquarters who will be sitting around a conference room table. If there is a mixed situation like this, make sure it’s clear to all in attendance (especially those in the same physical space) that you are present and prepared for this meeting as well. I tend to be more introverted and quiet than some of my Israeli counterparts, and Israelis often see interrupting as an Olympic sport, but video has helped tremendously in ensuring that I continue to be a part of these discussions even when I’m the only remote attendee.
The best way to level the playing field in this situation is to have everyone bring their laptops to the conference room and log into the meeting’s video as well. With the audio muted for all but one person, this set up allows everyone to identify the video platform as the location of the meeting and prevents side conversations and faceless voices.
TEST THE TECHNOLOGY
Particularly if it’s not a meeting you’ve set up, make sure the technology works in advance. Still looking at you, 452nd GoToMeeting download! There is nothing worse than having everyone sit around for 5 minutes while one or more people are trying to get the program to work (sound/video/network connection).
TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
I am the first to be guilty of this. My Slack notification says “hummus” whenever I get a message. It’s a setting on slack and it makes me laugh when I get a notification. Everyone’s day needs a little bit of irreverence.
Sorry, tangent. Okay back on track. When you’re in a meeting, snooze those notifications. Slack is great because it will tell you what came in while you were unavailable. But really, any notifications should be silenced so you can be 100% present in the meeting. You’ll be more effective and the meeting will end faster if everyone is focused. Maybe even keep your phone in your bag, or the other room so the temptation is gone.
To this note, make sure that you are in a quiet space free of distractions. I understand the appeal of working from a coffee shop (good coffee, pastries, change of scenery) but if you have an important meeting, perhaps put the coffee shop off for another time.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
- Make sure your laptop or camera is at the appropriate angle.
- If using your laptop camera, consider a stand (or box/phone book/ream of paper) to raise it to the appropriate, and flattering, level. You shouldn’t be looking down at it. No one wants to look at your nose hairs.
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- Standing up is another great option to getting a good angle (with your laptop on a shelf) and will energize you for the meeting.
- Sit in a well-lit room facing a light source.
- Mute the microphone whenever you’re not talking.
- Eye contact is important, even when you’re just talking to the camera.
- I know it’s great to work in your pajamas but a client meeting is still a client meeting. Few clients today need you in a blazer or tie but a clean, tidy, professional look is important for setting the appropriate impression (did I mention the guy in the bathrobe?).
- This may be remote work but it’s serious work and we’re not messing around.
- That doesn’t mean we don’t have our slippers on. We 100% have our slippers on.
Is there anything this post is missing? Let us know!
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