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Get the Most Out of a Virtual Meeting

5 January 2021

What is your process when getting ready for an important in-person meeting?

Dress smart, go over some key talking points and ensure that you are focussed and paying attention? While this all sounds very ordinary, when it comes to virtual meetings, we don’t always see the same amount of effort being put in. Thinking through some of these ideas can help you create a virtual meeting experience that adds value for all attending.

Whether you are a fan or not, remote meetings are here to stay (as an option, at least). Although it does seem that there are some new dynamics we are still coming to terms with, the basic principles of a meeting should still apply.

Here are some tips to help keep your future virtual meetings running smoothly:

Prepare your camera and meeting space

Whenever possible, you should aim to have your camera on for virtual meetings. Research estimates that roughly 80% of our perception, learning, cognition, and activities are mediated through vision. We connect visually and seeing a face on the other end of the call helps us to build relationships.

When you are attending a meeting in person, you have to make yourself appear presentable. When you are on video, you are putting a whole space on display. While you can’t always help someone accidentally walking into the room or a dog barking in the background, there are some measures we can take to prepare in advance. Find a neutral wall as a backdrop, avoid cluttered or messy spaces, and avoid rooms that have an echo (carpets help to dampen audio reflections).

Be organised

Just as you would with a physical meeting, you need to ensure that there are no scheduling conflicts – your time should be blocked out for the meeting. Most video conferencing tools like Zoom and Skype have tools which allow you to sync your appointments in your calendar.

Another valuable asset is the meeting outline. You wouldn’t arrive at an in-person meeting without some idea of what you’re going to talk about. For online meetings, it’s even more helpful to have an outline of at least a few bullet points that you want to touch on during the discussion. Having a clear objective is a great way to stay on task and helps make the meeting feel like a success.

Test the tech

While you may be tempted to use a phone or tablet for your meeting, it is preferable to use a computer. Setting your webcam at eye-level will help it feel more natural. And make sure you have whatever documents and programs you might need open on your screen before you begin.

As Murphy would have it, things are bound to go wrong at the last minute. The only thing that we can do to curb this outcome is to test the programs and technology beforehand (although this still isn’t a guarantee). Practise your video call setup with a friend or family member and ensure that your backdrop and audio quality are of the quality that you want them to be. A little bit of testing goes a long way.

Even if you’re socially distancing, we can still meet virtually; this is part of our mission at SFP to make it easy for you to ask the questions you need to ask, and get the advice that will help you make better decisions about your financial future.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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