The Covid-19 pandemic has presented us with challenges beyond what we could have ever imagined. But it has also provided us with a terrific opportunity to embrace virtual communication and remote work. Whether you’re conducting a business meeting, interviewing for a job, or consulting with a doctor, here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your virtual experience:
1. Create a peaceful setting
Select a quiet, comfortable, and private room for your meeting. Do what you can to keep distractions to a minimum. If needed, communicate to others that you are not to be interrupted.
Ensure that the background is appropriate for your meeting. It should be neutral and free of clutter. You can consider using a virtual background. Zoom, for example, allows you to choose from several pastoral backgrounds.
Check the lighting: the room you’re in should be well-lit and the other party should be able to see you clearly.
Make sure you have the other person’s cell phone number (or another means of contacting them) so that you can communicate in the event that you’re unable to establish contact via your video platform.
Silence your phone once the meeting has begun.
Make sure you have a pen, notepad, and anything else you might need during the meeting.
2. Check your technology ahead of time
Make sure your audio and video are working properly. Many platforms allow you to test these prior to the meeting. If you encounter issues with your audio or video, try logging off and then logging back on, or reboot your device.
Make sure you have a good internet connection. A hardwire connection usually works better than WiFi. If using WiFi, remember that the closer you are to your router, the better your connection will be.
Turn off all notifications. In addition to being distracting, you may not want notifications popping up while you’re sharing your screen.
Clean up your desktop of unnecessary files and close unnecessary web browser tabs and applications.
Become familiar with the platform you’ll be using, and make sure you know how to use features such as the chat function, screen sharing, and recording a session. Review how to mute and unmute yourself, as well as how to turn the video on and off. Consider uploading a photo of yourself that can be displayed if your video is turned off. Many platforms offer webinars, video tutorials, and blogs to help users familiarize themselves with various features.
Security: As spamming has unfortunately become an issue, it’s important to become familiar with your platform’s security features as well. These include setting a password to enter the meeting, and using the waiting room feature so that you can control who is able to enter.
3. Put your best virtual foot forward
Looks shouldn’t count, but they do, in both face-to-face contact and virtual communication. Dress to impress! Select attire that’s comfortable yet professional. Remember that when you look the part, it’s easier to play the part.
Maintain eye contact by looking directly into the camera instead of the screen, your own image, or the image of the person you’re communicating with. Adjust the position of the camera if needed to ensure that it’s capturing your face.
Be aware of your body language. Good posture will communicate confidence, while slouching can give the impression that you’re not interested.
Be a good listener! Maintain eye contact and avoid distractions. Nodding and smiling occasionally will give the speaker the feeling that you’re engaged in the conversation.
Speak confidently and clearly. Don’t mumble, and try not to speak too rapidly.
Is your English accented?
A slight accent is unlikely to interfere with the interaction, but a stronger accent could make it harder for the other party to understand you. Accent reduction training can make a big difference, particularly for people who are proficient in the English language, but still have a heavy accent. With proper American accent training, you can modify your accent and communicate more effectively.
Do you have a strong or a heavy accent?
Contact me today to learn more about accent coaching!