6 Tips to improve communication during virtual meetings.


Virtual meetings have become our new reality. This form of communication is likely here to stay, even post covid.

Unlike in-person communication, virtual communication requires more effort and thought, especially from those who are new to remote working. You have to be intentional about how you communicate during virtual meetings for your message to be compelling.

The biggest mistake that people often make when communicating virtually is to ignore non-verbal cues. They focus on what they say and not how they say it. Body language, context and tone of voice are imperative, and there’s no exception when using virtual channels.

The following tips will help you maintain your professionalism and credibility when communicating online.

Be well prepared

If you’re the host of the meeting, you must prepare in advance. People sit in online meetings all day and won’t take kindly to a disorganised meeting.

Be deliberate about your objectives, and try to set an agenda for the meeting ahead of time. This will set expectations for your audience and the action required from them to participate.

During the meeting, be clear and concise. Always reserve a few minutes at the end of the session for any questions and to avoid your meeting running over.


Be visible and audible

To be an effective communicator, you have to been seen and heard. In a virtual context, this means looking at the camera, showing your head, shoulders, and gestures when speaking, and being well lit.

Looking directly into the webcam reinforces your point and helps build connections with your audience. To increase authority and confidence, use a firm voice or invest in a microphone, so your voice is well projected.

Lighting also plays an important role. If your audience cannot see you properly, they may lose interest and focus on other things. Face the window to maximise natural lighting, or use a desk lamp or a ring light, so you’re visible and well lit.


Be a participator, not a spectator

Being an audience member requires just as much effort as the speaker. Learn to show up as a participator to increase your chances of being recognised – your career goals may depend on it.

To show that you’re present and engaged, listen attentively, ask questions and get clarity on objectives.

Avoid multitasking as you may miss out on valuable information. Furthermore, multitasking is risky because you may be caught unprepared if asked a sudden question.

Remember that a virtual meeting is just as important as any other meeting. Show up, be present and engaged to increase effectiveness and leave a lasting impression.

Prepare your workspace

Working from home comes with comfort perks. But, be careful not to get too comfortable. A great way to strike a balance is to create a professional environment or workspace in your home.

The number one principle is a neutral background. A cluttered environment will pull attention away from you and make you seem disorganised. Find a background that reflects professionalism without turning to virtual backgrounds. A virtual background may distort you and cut off your gestures when speaking.

Where possible, ensure you’re close to your router, as this will impact the quality of your video and audio.


Dress appropriately

A virtual meeting is still a meeting. Always be camera-ready by looking professional and well-groomed. When you put an effort, the person or people on the other side of the screen will see that you care about what you’re communicating.


Be on time

Respect other people’s time by showing up on time for your online meetings. If you need a comfort break or to make a cup of coffee, ask politely. Generally, people are considerate and empathetic when you ask.

Remember that a virtual meeting is just as important as any other meeting. Show up, be present and engaged to increase effectiveness and leave a lasting impression.

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