There is no shortage of great articles currently circulating the internet about how to be a better Virtual Meeting Host. My only issue with this is that they all focus on helping those leading the meetings but what about those attending the meetings?

Attendees? ‘Why does it matter to be a better attendee?’ You may ask. Well, because whether in person, on a call or in a webinar, communication is like a tango. It takes two so here are some things we can personally do to improve the conference and make the time more productive for ourselves and our co-workers?

  1. Show Up. PLEASE, take the tape or the post-it off your camera. The jig is up. Everyone gets to snoop into each other’s houses. It’s like MTV’s cribs except we’re not all c-list celebrities. Don’t overthink it. We know you need a haircut and that you’re probably rocking a button up on top and pajama pants on the bottom. You do you, I am not Judge Judy. Just let us see your face! I promise it will help others connect and fully engage with you more naturally. That camera also holds you more accountable and helps you to avoid distractions, keeping you fully present.
  2. Speak Up. I get that we need to mute the mic when we’re not speaking. Otherwise there would be a cacophony of barking dogs, lawn mowers, and endless questions from your curious 4-year-old. However, remaining on mute the whole call or meeting serves no one. I get that it is awkward to chime in virtually, sometimes it feels almost rude, like you are interrupting. (Although if everyone is on camera it is easier to know when to chime in) But interrupting is ok. We are all cutting each other some slack right now. Think of it this way, if you don’t speak up, were you even in the meeting?
  3. Tech Up. Video Conferencing tools are changing almost daily. Updates, Passwords, and Bandwidth, oh my! I guarantee that today’s technology will work differently tomorrow. So, each morning do a quick check for updates to ensure you can join a virtual meeting quickly and seamlessly. Also, coffee. I find caffeination and tech go well together.
  4. Open Up: Join early and stay connected during a break to help you engage socially with other participants. If you know them, great! If you don’t, even better! What a wonderful opportunity to make new connections.  Maybe this time you can have a real conversation with another human being and not your dog. 😉