Remote work

10 rules to live by to make videoconferencing run smoothly

With everyone spending their days in video meetings, Baltimore offers tips on getting the right setup and staying engaged.

A Zoom panel hosted by in March. (Screenshot)

With stay-at-home orders in place, the way we see each other is now on Zoom, Google Meet or whichever videoconferencing software you prefer.

Over the last few weeks, that’s spread to encompass activities like happy hours, workouts and Seders.

In a time when we can’t even shake hands, much less hug, a bit of face-to-face contact is one of the best chances to connect. Yet as with any human endeavor, there are norms and even etiquette to apply so we don’t all end up talking over one another.

Plenty of remote teams were already using these platforms for meetings before last month, but let’s be honest: Things changed a lot lately and we’re all learning together.

So, we put out the call for the rules folks are living by as they come together, while apart. Here’s a look at the rules to live by of some folks in Baltimore with experience organizing meetings and events.

Let’s start from the beginning. First you’ve got to get the right setup.

And make sure the room is secure from any diversions, even cuteness.

Then it’s time to make sure everything’s working right. That means the getting the sound right, and quality matters. After all, you want to deliver your point clearly.

But remember to get out of the way.

Appearance matters, too. Remember, someone is sharing their time with you. So drink some coffee and freshen up.

There’s background to consider, too. While tried and true advice is to find a white wall to look professional, remember that your setting is also a chance to communicate something about you.

Or, just opt out.

To make the meeting productive, there are plenty of habits that translate well from IRL meetings, like showing up early and being welcoming.

Then it’s important to stay engaged. Once the meeting gets going, there are tools to keep everyone in view.

It’s easy to get distracted. So eliminate all temptation.

With full teams going remote during the pandemic, Mindgrub CEO Todd Marks said his team is bringing the all-team meeting into videoconferencing mode. The Locust Point-based tech and marketing agency had a meeting with more than 100 people, and Marks said the team shifted to a panel-style format, where a group of executives presented and took questions. When it gets to that number of people, Zoom has tools that automatically mute folks, and allow moderators to unmute them.

And remember that you can still have a little fun. On a call with a client in Idaho, some Mindgrub team members found a Snapchat filter that transformed them into potatoes.

What did the client think? “They loved it,” Marks said.

Mindgrubbers went full potato. (Courtesy photo)

Mindgrubbers went full potato. (Courtesy photo)

Companies: Mindgrub / SmartLogic
Series: How to Work Remotely
People: Shervonne Cherry

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