The spread of the vicious COVID-19 has urged businesses to rethink their working habits and strategies. This resulted in the increasing popularity of digital alternatives such as online meetings and task trackers.

As the virus spread abruptly, many businesses were not prepared for this change and are still finding it different to adjust to what may be the new norm. In order to maximize the use of technologies to help us run our businesses as we normally would, we need to retrain our staff on ways to engage effectively in remote meetings and maintain productivity. This can be achieved by making employees feel that they are a valuable part of the team and that in working together, businesses can mitigate the communication mishaps.

There are typically ten mistakes most businesses fall into that can disconnect or out focus their team:

1. Internet Connection

Video lags and irregular sound hinders the efficiency of meetings, develops frustration amongst employees and discourages employees from finishing tasks.

To overcome this, test your internet before the meeting using, place your computer near your router or use a wired connection, and be prepared with a 4G hotspot as a backup.


2. Sound

Sit in a quiet room with no interruptions – you don’t want everyone watching your kids run after each other.
You are not active in a meeting if other employees can’t hear you! Struggling to hear someone and asking them to repeat themselves multiple times is frustrating and disturbs their train of thought and the smoothness of conversations.
Consider a high-quality mic option such as an external mic on a stand or a headset with a mic-arm to keep your hands free and improve the quality of sound.
38% of communication is delivered through your tone of voice; it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it. Misinterpretation can lead to conflict amongst employees, thus it’s important that you maintain a natural tone of voice. Audio can be frustrating but be patient, we are in this together.


3. Camera

55% of all communication is visual. When possible turn on your camera because it helps your colleagues read your emotions and improves their retention rate. It also prevents words from getting in the way of what you’re trying to say.
Drag the meeting window to the top of your screen as near to your camera as possible. This avoids you having to constantly move your eyes or have you staring at the bottom of your screen – it can give the impression that you are doing something else or are not being attentive.
Make sure your camera is positioned at eye level; you don’t want your colleagues or clients staring up your nose for the entire meeting! A simple solution to that is to stack a few books on your worktop until you reach eye level.


4. Lighting

It is pointless to have your camera on if your team cannot see you. For this, you need to have a well-positioned light source or be seated next to natural light.


5. Longer Silences

This is a learning process for us all and it may take some more than others to adjust. In an online meeting, many of the natural cues (body language and posture) are lacking, so people might need extra time to take in what you have said.


6. Encourage Engagement

As technology can be a tricky balance, it is important that employees take turns to speak. This ensures everyone is participating and has a fair chance to voice their ideas. As managers or leaders, try asking questions like “do you have anything to add?” “what are your views on this?” to maximize efficacy.


7. Hand-written Notes

Avoid typing up your notes as it will impact the quality of sound and it prevents you from fully engaging In conversations. Instead, stick to the traditional handwritten notes and type them up later.


8. Share Your Screen

This option is often overlooked. When you refer to a document, webpage or anything on your computer, share your screen with others and use your cursor to point to key elements. Visual elements will help your colleagues follow what you are discussing easily and will enhance their engagement in discussions.


9. Record

A key benefit of online meetings is that they can be recorded and replayed at your convenience. This option helps people go back to what was being said and add to their notes in case they missed a section.
Having a video archive has also proved useful particularly with coaching and team-building sessions which can later be shared with others who were not present.


10. Listening not Hearing

  1. There’s a big difference between hearing and listening; hearing is the sound going through your ears, but listening is taking information in and making sense of it, so LISTEN!
  2. When you’re in an online meeting, it’s easy to assume people can’t see you. Do not check emails, look at your phone or get side-tracked with other tasks. Instead, give your team your full, undivided attention.
  3. Look at your camera rather than at them while they speak because in this case, your camera is their face.
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