5 top tips on setting up a professional virtual meeting

August 17, 2020 | Richard Ellis

As companies shift to remote work arrangements, meetings with teams, clients, candidates, and suppliers are now conducted virtually. How you run your virtual meeting and how you present yourself can have an impact on productivity as well as on people’s impression of your professionalism.

For virtual meetings to run more effectively, here are five basic virtual meeting best practices to consider.

1. Test your equipment ahead of time

To avoid delays and to keep the momentum of the meeting going, make sure that you and all participants have the software installed on your devices and can log in without issue. Using video conferencing makes it feel like a real in-person meeting, so make sure to test your camera. It’s worth investing in a camera with HD video so that you are seen clearly, and it also feels more professional. Use a good microphone and test it beforehand. External microphones typically sound better than built-in computer or laptop microphones, but you can also use earphones.

2. Be in a well-lit room

Aside from using a good camera, make sure to be in a room where there is sufficient lighting to illuminate your face during the virtual meeting. In addition to the room lighting, you may also use desk lamps near your camera directed toward your face. Many people are also using an LED ring light nowadays. It is typically used for photography and video blogging, but may also be used for video calls to cast an even light onto your face to reduce shadows.

3. Be aware of your surroundings

Remember to keep your background professional-looking. While it is understandable for your surroundings to be a bedroom or living room when you are working from home, consider choosing a a spot in your home or workspace that will not be distracting. Indoor plants and bookcases in the background are okay, but the safest choice is a neutral-coloured wall. If the virtual meeting involves confidential matters, remember to use a private location. If this is not possible, don’t be on loudspeaker and use earphones so that non-participants will not be able to hear the discussion. HD cameras may also catch any private or sensitive details in your background. Try to position your camera where it will only capture your face. Some applications also feature background blurring functions that you can use.

4. Put yourself on mute when not speaking

Another basic online meeting etiquette is putting yourself on mute when it’s not your turn to speak. It improves the virtual meeting experience by preventing unnecessary background noises and audio feedback loops. It also prevents you from accidentally broadcasting confidential and sensitive discussions that may be happening around you, especially if you are not in a private location.

5. Go online on time

As with an in-person meeting, it’s also important to be punctual in a virtual meeting. That’s why the preparations mentioned above (testing your equipment and choosing your location and background) should be made beforehand to make sure you are ready to go online well ahead of the scheduled meeting.

While being unable to gather everyone in the same room for a meeting can be a challenge, video conferencing makes it possible to still work together remotely. To make virtual meetings more effective, it’s important to invest in preparedness and take them as seriously as in-person meetings.