Coming to a meeting unprepared is the worst.
Whether it’s forgetting what to say in one slide of your PowerPoint presentation or having to jump in and out of a call because of choppy internet, a rough video meeting can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. To top it all off, you end up looking like a fool in front of high-profile clients and your team members that trust you.
Not only is coming to a video call unprepared embarrassing, but it also makes for a frustratingly unproductive meeting. You’ll be wasting everyone’s time instead of actually getting stuff done for your project.
There are plenty of things you can do to ensure your meeting goes smoothly — you just have to remember them. There’s finding the best workspace to conduct your call, dressing well, prepping your notes for presentations, and more. All these allow you to run calls more smoothly to boost productivity.
In this quick guide, Circle Hub will give you a rundown of how to get ready for a video meeting in nine simple steps.
Video Meetings Have Become the Norm for Most Businesses
Why does one need to know how to get ready for a video meeting? The answer is simple: COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic and the “new norm” it has ushered in for professionals is responsible for the biggest change we should expect when it comes to working: the predominance of remote work.
Because of quarantine and travel restrictions all over the world, companies have been left with no choice but to implement work-from-home schemes. Virtual offices and remote coworking spaces are becoming the norm rather than the exception now.
People generally love working remotely, and for good reason. You can sleep in, work from the comfort of your bed or favorite café, and spend more time with family at home. But of course, this means having to adjust to new things too — the biggest of which is holding video calls instead of in-person meetings.
The effect of this new culture was massive. Video conferencing app Zoom used to have 10 million meeting participants per day in 2019. In April 2020, it rose to 300 million. The same company’s profits grew from $21 million in 2019 to a whopping $671 million at the height of the pandemic.
The trend of working remotely doesn’t seem like it’s going away soon, so you should expect that the culture of holding video meetings is here to stay as well. And since it’s going to be the norm from now on, everyone must master how to get ready for a video meeting.
The success of any virtual call lies in whether the people participating in it know how to get ready for a video meeting properly. Here are our nine tips to help you prep the right way for your next one:
1. Find a Work Area That’s Conducive to Meetings
Arguably the most important thing when planning how to get ready for a video meeting is to find an appropriate place to take the call. It should be relatively quiet, never distracting, and comfortable for your sake.
Working from your makeshift office area at home might be great, but background noises like the baby’ screaming or the TV sounds from the next room can disrupt the meeting. The same goes for having a call in a café — coffee machines and people’s chatter might distract you and the people you’re meeting.
If you want a quiet, private, professional area where you can take your video calls, the workspaces at a coworking community like Circle Hub might be up your alley. After all, coworking spaces are the way forward for plenty of freelancers and remote workers now.
Finding the perfect workspace is easy at Circle Hub because you have many options. If you want your own table in the common areas and to be around people working just as hard, you can claim a designated desk and hold video calls all day from there. If you’re looking for something quieter, rent out a private office suite.
And if you’re meeting up with other teammates to take a conference call together, you might want to book a conference room. These spacious, glass-enclosed rooms allow for teams of up to 12 people and are equipped with a TV to stream your video call on.
2. Make Sure All the Necessary Tech is Available to You
One of the biggest risks of switching to video meeting culture is having technical difficulties during the meeting. So, as early as an hour before your scheduled call, ensure that you have all the technology you need for a smooth video meeting.
The most crucial thing you want to check? Your internet. Fast WiFi is a must in any office. But since you’re working remotely, you need to double-check that your internet source at home or outside has enough bandwidth for your video call.
High-speed internet is one of the most important amenities you have to look for in a workspace for taking your video meetings. If not, you risk sounding and looking choppy while trying to discuss something important on your call.
Knock off some of your “competition” for internet bandwidth. For example, ask your roommates not to stream Netflix or heavy content for the next hour or so. Of course, this isn’t exactly ideal when thinking of how to get ready for a video meeting.
Luckily, one of Circle Hub’s main amenities is incredibly fast WiFi anywhere in the coworking space. So, competing for internet speed will never be a problem if you take your video calls at one of our spaces.
Of course, you’ll also want to check for other technical issues with your devices and programs. Make sure your laptop is on a full battery, but have a charger nearby just in case. A few minutes before your meeting, test your mic and camera for audio and video problems, if any.
3. Freshen Up to Look Presentable on Camera
Looking decent and presentable on camera gives people a good impression of you. This is important if you’re trying to be remembered by one of the big bosses, or want to close a deal with a hotshot client. It also says a lot about your personal branding as a freelancer or employee.
Make sure you wear smart casual clothes that look nice but also aren’t distracting. Go for solid colors or neutrals instead of shirts riddled with distracting patterns and plaids.
Wear simple jewelry only — enough to make you feel confident in yourself, but not those giant hoops and beady necklaces. Light makeup would look great, too. If you want to go the extra mile, use a ring light behind your monitor to give your face an extra glow as you speak.
How you present yourself isn’t limited to just your appearance. It’s all about behavior too. Don’t slouch, play games on your phone, or look uninterested in the meeting. Do your best to be engaged 100% of the time, as if you were face-to-face with the people you’re on the call with.
4. Come Prepared with Knowledge on the Meeting’s Topic at Hand
How you look is important on video calls, but it isn’t half as important as knowing what you’re talking about when the meeting begins. Do your homework by studying up on things you need to be knowledgeable about in the meeting to ensure you can contribute thoughts and ideas to the team.
If it’s a discussion on a new project, do a thorough review of the client brief before the call. If you’re working on a brand launch, do a quick sweep on what the competitors are up to, so you know what you’re working against. Research your new client before meeting them. Things like that.
And if you’ve just taken time off work and need to bounce back, ask some workmates to fill you in on what you missed in the last few weeks. Make sure you’re all caught up so you don’t have to use “I was out for a few days,” as an excuse when you can’t answer a question during the call.
5. Make Sure Everyone Involved Has an Invite or Link to the Call
Of course, you can’t just think of yourself. Make sure everyone invited to this video call has a calendar invite and a link to the call itself. This is a must for how to get ready for a video meeting if you’re a team leader.
If you have a meeting agenda, try to send it to everyone who needs it before the call begins. That way, you can save time by being aligned on what will be discussed during the meeting.
6. Double-Check That You Have Everything You Need
Aside from your devices, links, and video call programs, you should also make sure you have all your offline work tools beside you.
If you have notes for the meeting, ensure your planner is right next to you so you don’t have to scramble for it later on. Have paper and pen close by in case you need to jot something down. If you’re doing a presentation, have a bottle of water within reach to hydrate between slides.
It may sound like it’s all too much. But this is how to get ready for a video meeting properly — being ultra-prepared.
7. Set Up an Appropriate Background For People to See
When the pandemic first started, it was funny seeing your coworker’s cat doing something cute in the background, or their collection of Funko Pops in their childhood bedroom. But it’s gotten old, and we’ve already had enough time to adjust and prepare for a more professional background for video calls.
Set up a background with clean, white walls. Make sure you find a space where people won’t be walking around behind you. Take down posters and artwork that might distract others and take away from the meeting’s agenda.
Some video call apps have features that allow you to choose a virtual background, or blur the things behind you to make sure all the attention is on your face when you speak. You can go for those, too.
The easiest way to have a nice background for your video meetings? Working at Circle Hub’s spaces. Our common areas and private rooms are all spacious, professional, and aesthetically pleasing at the same time.
8. Have Enough Energy to Get Through the Entire Meeting
Meetings can go on and on without you realizing it. Calls that are scheduled for an hour can extend by 30 minutes if there are more important topics to talk about as a team. When that happens, you can’t just sit there and look exhausted (even if you really are deep inside).
Prepare with little snacks and drinks to energize you and wake you up during your video meeting, especially if it’s scheduled early in the morning. Have a cup of coffee with you or a piece of candy to munch on when you need it. The free refreshments at Circle Hub are overflowing, so help yourself.
9. Start the Call and Blow Your Clients and Co-Workers Away!
Now for the moment of truth. You’ve done your best with how to get ready for a video meeting, and it’s time for it to pay off. Take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, and come into the meeting early.
Greet everyone a good morning and start laying down the agenda. Make eye contact and refrain from looking at yourself on that little screen. You’ve prepared well for this, so take it away!
There are plenty of benefits to being prepared for your next video meeting. It gives you an air of professionalism while helping your team and clients actually progress in the project pipeline.
Next time you need help on how to get ready for a video meeting, click back to this guide. The nine steps above will get you more than ready to take on the worst technical issues and avoid hiccups, like feeling lost on a certain topic of discussion during the call.
Need a more conducive workspace to hold video meetings than your bedroom or neighborhood café? Take your meetings at one of Circle Hub’s locations today!