The increasing popularity of online business applications, remote correspondence, and of course, the pressure of cutting costs makes things like online conferences become much more feasible than a one-on-one encounter. And why not embrace online interactions in business? They’re less expensive and require less effort. The fact that you can have twice as many conferences in a day might be amazing to some and quite a headache to others. In terms of maintaining business etiquette, it can be easy to get caught up in all the time you’re trying to save by biting off a little more than you can chew. Here are some tips you can keep in mind for better online meetings:
1. Keep It Short Not being in the same room as another person may make someone more likely to keep rambling on well after the reason for the online meeting has been addressed. If your digital encounter is passing the 60 minute mark, it might be wise to break it up into parts, because chances are the person on the other end has stopped paying attention and/or is checking their Facebook.
2. Set An Agenda And Follow It Without basic structure to a meeting, it can be very easy to deviate from the main path ang go off on unnecessary tangents. Just like in a personal meeting, send an agenda to all online participants beforehand to avoid anything becoming too chaotic. Having an online meeting shouldn’t mean you can skimp out on the professionalism.
3. Choose A Quiet Place There are ways around this but unless you have a pair of headphones, your computer’s mic will pick up every sound around you during an online meeting. Nothing can be more annoying than hearing a dog barking in the background or other loud noises while someone is trying to speak. Take yourself and your technology to somewhere as quiet as possible. If you can, especially at home, inform anyone in the vicinity that you should not be bothered for a while to ensure interruptions are kept to a minimum. Just because you’re not meeting in a designated location doesn’t mean the location you’ve chosen doesn’t matter.
4. Don’t Multi-Task It can be extremely tempting to start checking social media, make restaurant reservations, or responding to emails, an online meeting should not be the opportunity to do these things. Your full and undivided attention should be on the person in your screen. It’s the same thing as blatantly ignoring someone face to face. Distractions also lead to disaster, as crucial information can easily be missed. How professional does it look if you’re caught asking a question in a follow-up email or meeting that was already explicitly addressed in the previous one? Online meetings should be tackled with the same business professionalism that personal meetings entail. If you’re on video, dress appropriately (or at least the top half of you). If you don’t have headphones, turn the TV in the room off. If you’re sharing your screen, remove unwanted tabs and bookmarks from your browser. You get the idea.