As businesses grow and expand, with meetings occurring on a regular basis. Businesses are gradually working towards using video conferencing for their meetings, making it a virtual reality instead of face to face meetings.

Virtual meetings are soon going to become a norm in the business world, but one thing that won’t change is the fact that all participants still need to communicate and act professionally.

To get the most out of your video conference, we are providing you with 10 tips to get the best out of it:

1. Dress Appropriatley

Whether you are working from home or from a business, its very important that you dress smartly for a meeting, even if its a video conference. In reality, you are still attending a meeting, dress best for the occasion. Avoid wearing items that are distracting, keep jewellery to a minimum.

2. Remove Any Possible Distractions

Before the video conference begins, make sure that all possible distractions in your home or office environment are either removed or hidden from view.

Turn off your cell phones, close all programs on your computer that you won’t be needing for the meeting.

3. Prior To The Meeting, Send Out A Agenda & Materials

Prior to the meeting occurring,  with the meeting invitation include an agenda informing each participant why they have been invited to the meeting, and what they will need to prepare for the meeting. Send out the required materials that each participant will be using during the meeting, either you can email each participant the relevant material or you can hand out the hard copy versions of the material.

Don’t feel hesitant to share relevant/documents with the participants during the meeting.

4. Introduce Each Participant

Before you begin discussing the agenda for the meeting, introduce each participant by name with a brief description, so that participants know who they will be meeting with. Even if participants know each other, it’s out of respect and its professional.

5. Monitor Your Facial Expressions & Body Language

When you are on video, remember that the expressions and sounds you make, all the participants will see and hear.

Make sure that if you do react to a comment, don’t react like you would to a friend or family member, rather keep it strictly professional. Reacting in an unprofessional manner, especially in a video conference is distracting and can easily offend other participants.

A handy tip to use when participating in a video conference is the self-view feature. Use this feature, to monitor yourself, keep your eyes on the screen. Act professional. A great example is news reporters/anchors, during broadcasting, they keep their eyed on the camera and act professionally.

6. Time Management

You need to respect each participant’s schedules, some participants may be joining the conference from a different time zone than your others have a very busy work schedule. The time that you agreed upon with each participant needs to be on time for your meeting to begin and end. Advise each participant, that they arrive/join the meeting 10-15 minutes prior.

7. Do Not Disturb When A Participant Is Sharing

Especially if you are dealing with participants speaking from other countries be prepared to have an audio delay, rather wait a few seconds for a participant to share their view before speaking, you might interrupt if you are too quick to talk. Another possibility is that there may be a slow internet connection, which can delay all lines.

8. Don’t Forget To Use Mute When Not Speaking

If you are not speaking at the meeting, be safe and rather mute your microphone, just in case there is a distraction entering the same room as you. If you don’t mute it may distract the whole momentum of the meeting.

9.  Ask For Any Additional Comments

In face to face meetings or virtual meetings, you will always find that there will be the very vocal participants that do the most talking in meetings and don’t really give an opportunity to the less vocal participants. Before you move to the next topic, enquire with all the other participants if they wish to share any additional opinions/comments.

10. Debrief

At the end of the meeting, review all the points that were discussed during the meeting. Should there be any tasks to be assigned, assign each participant to the required task, ensure that all participants are in agreement