Since the pandemic began, virtual meetings have become a part of everyday life. We have five practical tips for how you can get prepared for an online workshop or presentation!
Do you have an important meeting coming up? Are you about to give a presentation that will determine whether your team gets an important contract? Would you like to start offering a workshop online?
We’ll show you what you need to keep in mind to ensure everything runs smoothly at your next virtual event!
1. Get technically prepared
In an online meeting, it’s not just what you say that counts. Tech requirements are also important! To get your technology in order, ask yourself the following questions…
Which device do I use for my meeting?
If you use a company laptop, it should be well equipped. If not, request a better device from your employer! Essential: Your device should not have a loud cooling system or fan. This is sure to disrupt the meeting. Make sure your tech is all charged up!
It’s also worth considering if you want to use headphones (or not). Do you have to type during your meeting? Avoid typing on the same device you’re presenting with, because typing noises can be annoying. Alternatively, you can ask someone to take notes during the meeting!
Is my Wi-Fi network enough?
We are ALL in home office. An infinite number of devices are connecting to an infinite number of Wi-Fi devices. Maybe you’ve already noticed it: Your Wi-Fi keeps failing or the connection stalls. There are two solutions for this:
- Get yourself a 5 Ghz-capable router
- Connect your device via cable to your router.
Which digital meeting provider can I use?
There are many meeting tools available, some are paid and others are free. Here are our recommendations:
- Zoom – with a free version, your meeting will last a maximum of 40 minutes.
- Microsoft Teams – MS program for collaboration integrated, costs
- Jitsi – open source software with good privacy protection
- Skype – the classic, only usable as an app, not in the browser
- Google Hangouts – participants have to be invited
Once you’ve decided on a solution, we recommend sticking with it if there’s nothing stopping you. Especially with repetitive meetings, it’s good if a routine can settle in. Which brings us to the next point …
2. Instructions for participants
Sure, we live in a digital world. But as recently as 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference with Barack Obama: “The Internet is new territory for all of us.” This video shows that our digital literacy has improved only sluggishly since then:
But how do you prepare the Merkels on your attendee list for the meeting? Send your invitation as an email and tell them how to prepare. Simple instructions or “meeting rules” usually do the trick. Here’s an example for a Zoom meeting:
- Please check before the meeting if you can dial into the Zoom meeting
- Check video and sound
- Put yourself on “mute” when you are not speaking
- Use the “announce” function and speak only when the moderator calls on you
- Don’t forget to turn on your microphone when you want to speak
- If you are interrupted, please turn off the sound and camera so that the meeting can continue undisturbed.
If you’re hosting a conference or paid workshop, we recommend adding some exciting messages leading up to the digital meeting. This way you highlight what your brand has to offer and motivate the participants in a special way. Our tip: Tie up a package with documents, and an itinerary. Maybe consider adding, for example, create a mug printed with the event logo.
At the conference, participants can use the mug for their coffee. You’ll kill two birds with one stone, because our third tip is…
3. Show off your brand
Whether it’s a workshop, conference or presentation – you can also cleverly position your brand in online meetings. You can do this with a virtual background or by customizing a shirt with your logo and wearing it!
4. Put yourself in the right light (literally)
Your brand is not the only thing that should make a professional impression in the meeting. These are our tips:
- Make sure you have adequate lighting
- Cool white light is better than warm white light.
- Make sure you are far enough away from your screen, use a larger screen if necessary.
- The light should shine on you from the front, i.e. from behind your screen
- Natural light is better than artificial light – sit in front of a window.
- Dress properly – and not only on the top!
5. Offer variety
Online meetings are exhausting. We all sit in front of the screen all day long. And now we have to meet in front of a screen, too!
Design your meeting to be as engaging as possible. If you give an hour-long presentation with thousands of slides, you’ll lose most of the participants along the way. Since they are sitting in front of their laptops at home, they can just surf the net, watch YouTube videos or simply go for a walk during the meantime.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, here are a few tips:
- Start your meeting with a game.
- Add in small breaks.
- Let the participants enter into small “coffee chats” during the breaks.
- Ask for feedback.
- Keep your presentations short and crisp and add funny pictures, videos or jokes.
Those were our five tips for virtual meetings. We hope that you were able to take something away from them. Do you have any tips that we’ve forgotten? Let us know in the comments!