How to make digital meetings run smoothly
Rules of video call, virtual meeting, and webinar etiquette do’s and don’ts
Webinar Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts
Find out about the mistakes that you didn’t know you were making when in front of the video whether you are doing an office meet or online training or coaching.
Virtual meeting facilitators, hosts, and participants are bracing themselves up to the new normal of work-from-home and virtual meetings. There are undeniable differences between face-to-face meetings and their audio/video equivalents. Video conferencing or webinar etiquette in a way are geared to different aspects of webinar media.
Webinar Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts: Tips on how to present yourself before you switch on the camera.
Virtual environment. Choose a simple backdrop/background that is pleasant and neat.
Background noise. See that there are no disturbances like background noises or people moving around to avoid distractions.
Tools, gadgets and internet. Test equipment: laptop, mic, and speakers before joining the meeting. Choose a spot with unlimited and strong internet connection. Using a laptop would be preferred over a mobile phone. Use headphones or earphones to reduce the background noise. Sit in a well lit and noise free room.
Log in on time. Join every session or meeting 10 minutes early for setup. Value other people’s time.
Profile/Display Name. Choose a suitable profile picture. Name yourself formally the way you would want to present yourself in an actual meeting. Or you may yourself as the company you are representing. Identify yourself when you speak.
Mute your mic. Always mute yourself while you are not speaking. Unmute yourself and speak only when it is your chance to speak. BE POLITE, DO NOT INTERRUPT. If you wish to speak or have any points or motion to raise, RAISE YOUR HAND. The facilitator/host will recognize you and allow you to speak.
Video on/off. Some virtual meetings are required to keep the video on at all times. You can switch off the video if you face bandwidth issues. It is rude to switch off your video in a webinar when you toggle your webcam between on/off switches. The person conducting the webinar feels like talking to an empty room. You might as well have a tele-conference meeting then. While some meetings required turning off the cam until they are instructed to share.
Q&A. Questions or queries to resource persons, facilitators or fellow participants should be sent using the CHAT option. Keep your question minimal and on the topic. As a webinar participant, this is the best time to show RESPECT FOR PEOPLE’S TIME. Be straightforward and time conscious.
Dress appropriately. Make yourself presentable for online meetings. It would be preferable to wear something comfortable where you feel good and the others will be interested in you. The way you present yourself also indicates professionalism.
- Avoid V-necks. Wear mandarin collared shirt as it gently frames your face and allows the viewer to keep focus on your face.
- Choose cool hues like blue or green as they are calming and soothing. Bright colors tend to appear blur on videos.
- Keep a minimal style. Bold and patterned prints can be quite overwhelming and can over power your facial expression.
- Wear minimal accessories. Avoid chunky necklaces and earrings.
- Don’t choose sheer fabric tops, tank top straps can be distracting.
Mind your body language and voice of opinion. Be attentive and a careful observer, you will be in direct sight of everyone. Contribute useful, engaging, and helpful comments in the chat box relative to the presentation or topic of discussion. Come in with additional insights to add value to the conversation.
Be prepared for technical difficulties. In case of voice issues, leave the meeting and join again by call/dial into the meeting platform for audio clarity.
Don’t leave the meeting without informing the host. Thank the facilitator/host/speaker before leaving the meeting.
For Presenters, Facilitators, and Host
Presenters and facilitators of webinars should set up and test hardware/software early.
Use data visualization. Use graphics to illustrate your points. The best practice for presentation should provide simple slides with illustrations, graphics, and bullet points to complement the discussion. The brain stores audio information differently than visuals. When developing visual slides, think more visuals, less words. Visual representation helps retain information.
As part of your organization and presenter’s visual branding, incorporate your business logo and match your brand style to your fonts, colors, and visual elements. These are essentials in creating a cohesive experience for webinar attendees.
Slow down. The tone of the voice and slowing down the speech rate and taking distinctive pauses between demonstration, and repeating the lines are normally what attendees prefer. It works best for them so they can follow along. Watching a webinar is different from actual conversations or meetings. Likewise, when taking and answering questions try to identify the person who asked and repeat the question or comment before replying.
Choose the right webinar platform. To ensure a professional-looking stream, use the right software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Google Meet, and Slack.
Designate a facilitator. The host will have full control of the virtual room, can greet attendees, monitor charts, launch polls, and keep the event proper on time. Write a killer script, just like in any other podcast or live event, well-written scripts can do wonders as your road map. Likewise, don’t be afraid to go off script.
Optimize your presenter’s virtual setting. Reach out to your speakers ahead of time to discuss the webinar settings. Don’t assume your speakers are tech-savvy, if necessary provide hardware to produce a seamless presentation consistent with the webinar agenda. Unless the presenter is an experienced remote-worker, it is likely that they have a professional setup in their home.
Eliminate distracting noise. Inspect your room for anything that produces noise such as the sound (wind) from the electric fan, the space should be inaccessible to children and pets. Mute other devices that are not needed for the webinar and close applications running on your computer dashboard.
Practice, rehearse, and repeat. Conduct a dry run to identify presentation flow to technology glitches. Test every aspect of the presentation including microphones, lighting, and A/V controls.
Have a back-up plan. In case of technical glitches, be prepared to cover unforeseen events that could happen and identify solutions should things go south.
Webinar kick-off. When the virtual session is about to start, avoid awkward silences or uncut personal conversations. Create a landing page with subtle background music to fill the void as people filter into the webinar. An ideal landing page should include: welcome slides, a brief information about your company, and social media channels.
Use social media. Create a medium of sharing by generating an event hashtag for social media platforms. Conversations among attendees/participants are most likely to take place, leading the way to encourage your presenters, speakers, and attendees to use it.
Engage your audience. Stimulate audience attention with the use of a well-designed slide deck to summarize key points. Ramp up engagement by routinely interacting with the participants by leveraging automation tools such as audience polls, quizzes, feedback captures, and in between live Q&A sessions. “Think of the webinar as a tutoring session, not a lecture.” (Rockman, M. 2020)
Try to invite attendees to submit questions or suggestions ahead of the session, and then address the submitted questions as the webinar comes to an end. Participants who ask questions are far more likely to stick around to hear them answered.
Offer a Call to Action. Follow up your audience. Provide attendees or participants with post-presentation in PDF or a recorded presentation. Include the links to information the resource speaker referenced. Establish discussion or any form of idea-sharing on the webinar topic and ask for honest feedback about the webinar for continuous improvement. This will also be an opportunity to informally survey the audience for future topics they would find useful.
How do you conduct yourself during webinar?
The era of webinars is here… whether for work purposes, business development, entrepreneurial endeavor, academic pursuits, school projects, interviews, social engagement, meetings, medical care, parties, domestic issues, professional discourse, team building or relationship economics.
Learn the rules of engagement! Webinar etiquette is a must-have and have engrafted in our everyday lives and has become the one-stop solution provider.
Rockman, M. (2020, June 15). Retrieved August 14, 2020, from Weidert: http;//www.weidert.com/blog/hosting-webinar-best-practices/
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