Fuel For Thought


It’s Not Just “The Brady Bunch” Video Squares 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our daily work routines have changed, and for many of us that means working from home. As remote meetings have become the norm, we have had to adapt.

Thanks to video communication platforms like Skype, Zoom, Google Meet and many more, we have fulfilled “The Jetsons” prophesy of ubiquitous video calls . How can you be highly productive while working from home with these video conferences? Here are a few tips for conducting professional virtual meetings.

Build in more notice than you might otherwise for regular phone calls.

 If you are the meeting organizer, plan ahead as much as you can. This gives your guests/attendees time to be prepared physically and mentally for the meeting.  Things are a lot more out in the open via video than just teleconference, so try to keep that in mind.

Prepare an agenda.

Here at Gardner Automotive Communications we make a plan even for the most rudimentary of meeting topics.  If you aim for nothing, you hit nothing. In addition to it being professional, having an agenda will optimize everyone’s time and productivity while staying focused and on-point.

Make sure everything is working properly.

Test your Internet connection to ensure a high-quality video call before trying to join a meeting. Also make sure to check your video and audio settings before the call begins. Depending on your computer’s settings, your camera, microphone, or speakers may not function properly. Also remember to peel back your shade or tape if you’ve covered your camera.

Dress appropriately.

Working from home under quarantine, many of us have opted to wear sweatpants, PJs or the same clothes for 3 days. Don’t forget you are still working. Be professional and wear something more work appropriate. Presentation matters!  And also remember that how you dress also has an effect on how you feel, so there’s a mental benefit to being just a wee-bit less lounge lizard.

Remember you’re not on “Candid Camera.” 

Everyone can see you.  It’s easy to forget since when we are on a telephone call, we can do just about anything, and no one will be the wiser.  Not so here, so now’s not the time to pick your nose or constantly look around behind you to see what the dog is doing.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Think ahead to where your meeting will be carried out in your home. A neutral background, with good lighting and minimal noise will reduce distractions and keep the focus on you and your presentation.

Mute your microphone when you're not talking.

On a standard teleconference, it’s truly bad etiquette to be in noisy environment without your mic on mute.  That goes double for a video conference meeting with a lot of people It’s distracting and annoying to hear each individual guest’s background sounds (kids running around, dog barking, your home phone rigging, your significant other yelling, etc.) It is courteous to mute your microphone if you are not talking. Respect the other guests!

Speak up. ... 

The current world and work environment is new for just about everyone. We can’t sit together in a room with creative energy flowing, but we still need to collaborate and ideate. If you have an idea or suggestion that can improve productivity while working from home, share it. For that matter, if you have ideas about anything, speak up.  Innovation and adaptation are more critical than ever.  Set an example for what you want from others instead of just waiting for someone else to engage. 

Video conferencing has come a long way.  Who would have thought it would, by necessity, become an essential daily part of life.  One day soon, we’ll hopefully join each other in any number of glorious “real” conference rooms. In the meantime, stay safe, remain healthy and enjoy the new video conferencing norm!




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