The new business world, as we know it, has become much more virtual that we might ever have thought possible.
At the beginning of the surrealism that is Covid, many people were adjusting to their new way of working from home.
With that came many more online or virtual meetings. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, FaceTime, there were many new downloads occurring.
With a new way of working, it has brought less favourable habits that might have been excused at the beginning, while people adapted, but is wearing thin now.
The questions I often ask is whether or not working styles have changed and are people more understanding of what they might not necessarily have been previously?
I am sure that, at some point, we have been guilty of falling into the trap of doing at least one of the following but have we carefully considered the effect of our actions?
1. Get up in the middle of the meeting when the doorbell rings so a delivery can be received
Whether a person excuses themselves or just gets up and goes, it can definitely put a person off when there is suddenly a blank square in place of them leaving.
An iParcelBox allows a delivery to be made securely without needing anyone to answer the door. It even accepts ‘signed for’ deliveries.
2. Turn the video off in the middle of a meeting (or not have it on in the first place)
The question of ‘Why?’ might be on the other attendees’ minds. What was the person doing whilst still listening (or not?)
Unless it is has been pre-agreed that videos shall be turned off (perhaps during a break or webinar) having the video on from the very start and remaining throughout allows the other attendees to feel more connected.
3. Multitask during a meeting to check a phone, work on a different screen or make a note unrelated to the meeting
Other attendees could find it discourteous if an attendee constantly looks down to check a phone or, perhaps worse, pick it up to reply to someone.
Using the ‘Do not disturb’ feature stops the temptation of finding out why a phone has temporarily lit up or ‘dinged’ (the sound should have been muted at the very least).
4. Forget to ‘mute’ if there is background noise and someone is speaking
A presenter is likely to find it challenging if there is background noise and the attendees could get frustrated because they aren’t be able to hear what is said as well.
During a presentation or even when someone is speaking, using the ‘mute’ button ensures any background noise is eliminated.
5. Display a distracting background
Trying to communicate with someone whose head disappears into long grass or a planet in outer space is odd and it is equally distracting to look beyond them into mess, busy artwork or where other people are visible in the background.
Keep it simple. Let attendees focus on what is required with clarity, allowing them to remain undistracted.
6. Don’t introduce people to others at the start of the meeting
Halfway through the meeting, if a person still doesn’t know who ‘Barbara’ is or the person that has been labelled with a company name, they are undoubtedly going to feel uneasy and less communicative.
Just as introductions would be made before an ‘in person’ meeting, they should become a formality before online meetings too.
7. Being unprepared with no agenda. Share necessary paperwork with people so they can review it in advance
By following an agenda with a strict timeline, it reduces digression and keeps the subject and purpose of the meeting at the forefront of people’s minds.
Any material to be reviewed should be circulated in advance and can be shared on screen during the meeting to allow a more focused conversation.
8. Joining late
Running late for an ‘in person’ meeting is often frowned upon so the discipline of logging on just before the online meeting is scheduled to start is good practice.
Online meetings reduce the need for travel but by showing up late, it delays others to get started and can create more frustration as the time during which to ‘chat’ at the beginning is seemingly harder to fill ‘online’ than ‘in person’.
9. Dress inappropriately
The joke about wearing what matters on top and not caring what is worn below the desk is theoretically logical, however, what is worn influences a person’s mood to a large extent.
Dressing for a particular occasion will automatically set a person’s mind to the task in hand.
10. Share more than you intended
Caution should be exercised when sharing screens as well as from the general surroundings.
It is good practice to close down all work that doesn’t relate to that meeting (or Client) so that there is much less chance of accidentally sharing the wrong screen and giving away confidential or sensitive information with others.
Likewise, being aware of the eagle eyed, it is best to keep surrounding areas tidy so that it not only gives a good impression of a tidy and organised workspace but also keeps things confidential that way.
There is no doubt that online meetings are likely to continue to take place, at the current time, in our working lives.
We have adapted our working styles significantly and I believe hybrid working can be positive for all
Online meetings are likely to remain a large part of how we communicate with one another so the question to be answered is whether we set particular expectations, or is this another time in working history in which the workforce relax some standards?
Another shift in culture may be afoot.
Are you ready to be in control of your mailbox rather than it being in control of you?
If I can be that person to help you organise your time before your well-deserved, get in touch to discuss further.