Now that we’re all suddenly working, studying and socializing from home, virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom, Google Hangout and Google Meet are the new normal. Here, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia IT Director Robb Quattro offers some pro tips to help you shine online.

Tips For Meeting Participants

Key: Stay engaged throughout the meeting, avoid the urge to multitask and remember to press “MUTE.”

Before the meeting:

  • Make sure you are in a quiet area, with limited background noise (i.e. away from kids, pets, car noise, etc.)
  • Wearing headphones or earbuds that link to your device is a great way to hear and be heard clearly. It’s also a good way to keep the noise level down for anyone in your home who might be working (or napping) nearby.
  • If you’re joining a video chat, take a look at what’s behind you. Make sure your backdrop isn’t a sink full of dirty dishes, an unmade bed or anything else you don’t want seen.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Good lighting helps create a more professional-looking environment. A simple lamp can make a big difference.

During the meeting:

  • Join the meeting on time or a few minutes early.
  • Mute your phone when you are not speaking. Background noise can ruin the sound quality for everyone.
  • Sound delays tend to slow down video chats. When speaking, keep your points clear and concise, and enunciate your words.
  • Maintain body language as though you’re in a physical meeting: Sit up straight and be attentive. No eating — no one wants to see that — and no getting up and wandering away.
  • Try not to let your attention wander, either. Resist the urge do other work, check email or anything else distracting. To guard against temptation, turn your ringer on silent and close any unnecessary tabs and programs.
  • Before the meeting is over, be sure you’re clear on any action items assigned to you.

Tips for Meeting Hosts

Key: Since everyone is remote and sometimes can’t see each other, it’s the host’s responsibility to facilitate the meeting as clearly and effectively as possible.

  • Send out the meeting agenda beforehand. Include the expected goals.
  • If your participants’ identities are unclear when they log on, do a roll call at the beginning of the chat. If a new person joins in after the meeting has started, ask for their name at a good stopping point.
  • Mute noisy participants as needed.
  • If you’re sharing your screen, make sure to share only the desired document. Close any tabs you don’t want seen. And either log off of IM and e-mail or them to Do Not Disturb. Having a message from your spouse pop up in the middle of your presentation could be embarrassing.
  • Keep your attendees engaged and keep the meeting moving.
  • Provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions, so everyone is on the same page. 
  • Review action items and assignments the end of the call.
  • Stick to the schedule: start on time and end on time. Ran out of time? Don’t extend the meeting; schedule another call.

Tips For Everyone: Get Familiar

It never hurts to brush up on your skills with a tutorial. You can access helpful training videos from Zoom by clicking here, and a super-quick Google Meet tutorial right here.

For more Jewish Federation resources on COVID-19, click here.