in Misc

Tips for better virtual meetings

Video conferencing is nothing new, but it has never been so integral to so many organisations and workforces all around the world. Virtual meetings are set to become part of the new normal for many of us, with reductions in face-to-face meetings that could as easily be held virtually. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get to grips with the process and make sure you’re doing the basics right to enhance the experience for you and your colleagues. 


Here are some simple but important tips for better virtual meetings.


 Sort your setup 

How often are your virtual meetings delayed by small technical issues? How much time have you and your team wasted because of issues that could have been avoided by a few minutes of preparation? Help things run smoothly by checking the following aspects of your setup in advance of virtual meetings. 


Make sure you are in the best place for a strong internet connection. Ideally, this will be in your office; but if not, consider switching locations for those longer or particularly important calls. If you’re sharing your internet connection with your family or household, ask them to avoid streaming digital content whilst you’re on a call to free up bandwidth.* It’s also advisable to close other non-essential software whilst using your video conferencing platform of choice to free up your computer’s resources.

*Extra tip: sort this in advance of the call so people know when to avoid using the internet if possible. 

Video and Lighting

If your webcam doesn’t look quite right, adjust it until you’re happy: this may require stacking your laptop on some books or investing in a laptop stand. Aim for the camera to be just above eye level for the most flattering angle. If possible, avoid strong backlighting such as a window or ceiling spotlight. Instead, aim for diffused natural light or face a desk light against a nearby wall to deflect light across your face indirectly.

Extra tip: whilst experimenting with your lighting, avoid anything that casts shadows across your face.


Your computer or laptop should have an inbuilt microphone making most setups relatively straightforward. If people are finding it hard to hear you, check there is nothing covering or muffling your microphone. This is easily done as it’s not always clear where a microphone on a laptop is! Alternatively, try using some phone earphones, most of which will have a separate microphone. Reverberant acoustics such as kitchens should also be avoided if possible as this will make it harder for people to hear what you’re saying and magnify any unwanted background noise. 

Upgrade your background

One of the best features of video conferencing software is the virtual background feature. Visit Hello Backgrounds professional background images to check out their range of options from conference rooms to beaches. They’re most useful if you want to hide an untidy backdrop at home or want to maintain your privacy and prevent colleagues and clients from looking in at your private spaces.

Plan your meetings 

Virtual calls generally need more advanced planning than physical meetings to keep them productive and efficient. Meeting agendas are always useful for longer meetings, but consider using them for your shorter calls to help avoid them taking longer than necessary.  

Try using the features of your video conferencing software to circulate points for the meeting with your invitations to avoid more emails than necessary. These ‘pre-reads’ should include:

– the main reason for the meeting
– key areas for discussion
– what desired outcomes are
– a clear agenda

For virtual meetings with lots to talk about, try allocating members of your team to help manage the meeting, just as you might in person. Rotating these roles around your team will help keep things fresh and keep everybody engaged. 


Make the most of the tools

Using video conferencing clients brings a range of useful tools beyond the main functionality. Keeping things varied visually will also help improve engagement in your meetings: for example, try using screen sharing to view and edit documents as a group. Virtual whiteboards are another great way to shake things up and make the most of the technology. 


Record your virtual meetings

Are you struggling to keep people engaged in your virtual meetings? Try using the ‘record’ feature to encourage people to bring their best and contribute actively to the conversation. This can then take the place of, or supplement, your meeting minutes and provide an incontestable record of the meeting. Recording meetings will increase accountability for you and your colleagues, in turn increasing efficiency and transparency. 


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.