Dos and don’ts of virtual meeting etiquette
Etiquettes are not a set of old-fashioned rules that used to be followed by royal family members, even in today’s modern world, online environment presenters should have strong, social skills.
Etiquette in the context of virtual meetings is a set of rules and socially acceptable behaviours that are quite flexible and mostly depend on the cultural, social, and business background of your audience.
However, there are some universal rules that will help you improve your skills.
Following etiquette is a must not only on fancy parties but also refers to the world of online communication.
Follow these simple dos and don’ts and master your webinar’s knowledge!
If you are presenting
Test the software early. It’s frustrating for everyone if the presenter needs to pause the webinar to load an app to let them screen share or update slides, or to mess with their mic because of feedback. Take time before the webinar to test out the tools.
Practice, rehearse & repeat
Using live webinar software requires public speaking skills, a lot of cold blood, but most importantly – tones of practice. Even if you’ve run several webinars and you think you could conduct training with your eyes closed, don’t overestimate your skills. Regardless of your experience, there can be things that will slip out of control.
Before starting, create a checklist and test literally everything – from your equipment to each presented item. If you’re a webinar newbie, you might even want to rehearse the whole webinar scenario, preferably in front of a real audience.
Watching a webinar is different from the conversation, especially if you are using slides and the listeners don’t have physical cues to follow your conversations. Slow your speaking speed if you naturally speak fast. If you are doing a demo, pause between steps to allow for the lag time your viewers may have.
Do not read your slides
Slides should be simple, with bullet points and graphics that support your lecture. Slides that are overly wordy distract the viewer from what you are saying; alternately, reading your slides makes your webinar no more effective than simply sending out a report.
Use graphics to illustrate your points
The brain stores audio information differently than visual. Therefore, if you can use images such as pie charts, rather than a lot of words, you give your audience visual cues to help them retain information.”
If, in addition to the webinar broadcast, you are in front of a live audience and take questions or comments from the audience, do not assume your online viewers can hear them. Repeat the question or comment before replying.
Stick to the time frames
Imagine that you’ve reserved a specific amount of time for an appointment and put on hold all your tasks, but when the meeting hour strikes… no ones there. And then – bam! – A couple of minutes later, hoofing and puffing the presenter arrives… No matter how apologetic or convincing he might be, the first impression has been already ruined.
That’s why you should always keep an eye on the clock and make sure you not only start but also finish on time. Otherwise, even the most devoted participants might lose interest or (even worse) trust in you as a professional, which is extremely difficult to rebuild. If you’re the type of “oh I’m so sorry for being late” person, make sure you set up multiple reminders that will help you hit the time.
Mind your body language
Body language is a vital part of the online meeting etiquette. Even if your speech is impeccable and your presentation is flawless, your facial expression, posture, and overall looks say way more than your words.
Nonverbal communication is even more important during online events than on face to face meetings, as your recipients receive only a small amount of information. And this can work either against or in your favour, because the audience will detect even the slightest expression of boredom or nervousness on your face.
Be a careful observer
This is the number one rule of good communication! Whether you’re conducting a training gathering hundreds of people or just meeting with a couple of participants, you should carefully observe your audience’s reactions. Being flexible and willing to read your recipients’ needs and intentions is the key!
Remember when your teacher allowed you to leave the class a few minutes before the bell rang because he could see that your minds are already wondering towards the recess? Bring that feeling back to your webinar room!
Engage all your senses and master your observation skills until you really step in your audience’s shoes. Being knowledgeable is all about doing and saying the right things at the right time, and you can’t do so without carefully watching your audience.
And the final thought: online meeting etiquette works quite similar to webinar software. At first, you may need some time to figure it out, but once you learn it, you’ll be impressed by how it can improve your communication.
Culled from livewebinar.com