Communicating in the virtual workspace – 5 top tips
Until a few months ago, an online conference call may have been a rare occurrence for many businesses. Now virtual meetings are probably a regular schedule in your online calendar, as the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to adapt our way of working and communicating. In many ways, social distancing has led us to work more ‘closely’ and collaboratively with colleagues and clients than ever before. So how we can make the most of these new connections? We share our top five tips:
- Test the system
Allow time to set up before the meeting. Some customers may use a virtual system that you’re not familiar with, so test and launch the online platform in advance and check that your video and microphone are working, and the volume is at a suitable level.
- Create the right impression
Always position your laptop against a neutral background, so people aren’t distracted during the meeting by your choice of furniture and fittings. Check that the lighting is suitable and that you are sitting at a suitable distance and angle from the screen. Think about creating a permanent home workspace, so you don’t have to keep moving things around.
Make sure that you are dressed smartly, whether you are talking with colleagues or customers, to ensure you look professional. If possible, make sure that children and pets can be supervised, as the chances are, they could make a surprise appearance at any moment!
- Plan ahead
Have an outline agenda and keep virtual meetings focused on clear objectives. This will help to ensure that you obtain relevant information and that you don’t consume too much of people’s day. Make sure meetings are scheduled in advance with your team or customers and agree a time that works for everyone involved, taking into account that they may have additional responsibilities such as childcare, or share their space with others.
- Check in regularly
Working from home can be isolating; and it’s important that people keep connected and are kept up to date with business developments and feel part of the wider team. It’s also essential that you keep in regular contact with customers and that you are aware of their changing business requirements, so that you can adapt your services accordingly.
- Allow time for feedback
Ensure that your virtual meetings enable two-way communication structures, allowing for questions, comments, and suggestions from everyone involved. Mute your audio when someone else is speaking to prevent background noise from coming through your microphone and so that everyone isn’t speaking at once.
This is a new way of working for many of us, so reflect on what’s successful and what isn’t and make improvements where needed. Remember also that we’re all going through a difficult time. The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on our lives and on our mental health. Check how everyone is feeling, ask them how things are going generally and make sure they know you are there to support them when needed.
If some good can come out of these challenging times, it is that we are finding new ways of adapting and connecting with each other, bringing out the best in one another and building our businesses together. If you need support with any of your communications activity, please get in touch