Virtual Rules of Zoom Engagement – Archyde

what you need to know

  • Falling asleep in front of the camera is bad.
  • It’s just as bad to take colleagues with you when you go for a walk.
  • Attending the family dinner table can turn you into a legend in all the wrong ways.

A while ago I attended a mastermind group with a number of speakers, trainers and fellow coaches. We would meet once a month on Zoom and take turns who leads the meeting. We had an agenda, discussed action steps, all that stuff.

One of the members of the group never appeared to be involved in the conversation. She rarely participated unless it was her turn to speak. She always seemed busy, well, hard at work. A couple of times she took us all on a virtual field trip to walk her dog, which lasted the entire time of our scheduled meeting.

A few more mishaps followed, and eventually she was asked to leave the group. We all knew from her behavior that her time with the group was coming to an end.

At this point in the virtual meeting game, I wish virtual rules of engagement and best practices were a given, but they aren’t. And virtual meetings are not going away.

What your colleagues are reading

As my father used to say, common sense isn’t all that common.

My friend Gail Goodman trains financial advisors, brokers, and sales reps on phone skills and prospecting (the best in the business, btw!). Gail touched on some great points about virtual meetings in a recent newsletter that inspired my thoughts below.

Here’s the bottom line!

What impression do you want to make when you attend a virtual meeting?

Follow my lead below (and Gail’s!) and see if you really make the impression you want!

1. Logistics

Remember the days we would email to confirm the date and time of a meeting so we didn’t make the trip for nothing? Well, those days are gone – for the most part. Now we rely on our calendar invites and other calendar management tools. It’s always a nice touch to do the heavy lifting virtually when planning a meeting. This could include communicating with colleagues, prospects, and clients in their time zone (one of my favorite practices) and setting up the calendar invite and zoom link so they don’t have to. Of course, Calendly and other calendar management programs make this process much easier.

Relevant Resources

2. Clothing

When working from home, you are not usually expected to dress like you would for an in-person meeting.

One of my friends and an active member of my networking group wears a Brooks Brothers suit and tie every day even though he works from home. This is nothing new for him. He worked from home years before the pandemic and is always proud to wear a tie.

This may be an extreme case, but it’s important to look neat, clean, and professional.

And good hygiene is important here. Admittedly, I often wear a white t-shirt since it’s branded (you know, the boxing thing). But when I’m at (or leading) a remote networking event or meeting with a prospect or client, I wear an ironed button-down shirt so I’m at least business-casual from the waist up and neck down .

3. Engaged

If you’re in a meeting and you’re multitasking, looking at another screen, shuffling disjointed papers, texting, playing a video game, and not asking questions, you’re probably giving the impression that you’re not all that cares about the meeting.

Of course, this may not be the best time for the meeting if you are busy with other projects and deadlines. If you sense that someone doesn’t seem very involved in the discussion, perhaps recognize that they seem busy and ask if it would help to reschedule the meeting for a better time.

If someone makes eye contact, takes notes, and posts relevant comments in chat, that’s an excellent sign!

4. Body language

Another member of my networking group is a psychiatrist. Since her job is all about listening to others, she exhibits excellent body language that shows she participates in conversations, whether they’re one-on-one or as part of a group. Her behaviors include taking notes, leaning back in her chair, nodding positively, laughing, and making appropriate comments throughout. She is always present and totally committed!

When I was teaching an online class at Rutgers University, one of the students was lying up in bed with a pillow under his head. He fell asleep during a lesson and of course the students saw it.

I just removed his picture from the zoom class and he earned an absence for the day. He was embarrassed when he went to class the following week.

It’s best not to earn an absence for the day in the eyes of your online attendees.

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