Preparing for Virtual Meetings as a Freelancer – tips and advices

03.09.2015

Virtual Meetings are the thing of the future some say, and will regular ones. Others say virtual meetings are the bane of a perfect leader and face-to-face communication is all that really matters.

What you need to know as a freelancer is that virtual meetings are being used at an increased rate, especially when working with international clients, and you will probably have to attend some at certain times in your career. As a remote working freelancer, you have to be prepared for that occasion – that’s why we’ve listed some tips to help you make every virtual meeting count and have your voice heard.

1. Test your equipment
The first step is obvious, but it’s always the little things that we tend to forget. What you should absolutely not forget to do before a virtual meeting is to check and test your equipment. Leave yourself enough time to react accordingly, test the devices the night before and then an hour before the meeting. Having a backup plan might not be the worst idea either. In short, make sure your devices are good to go and you know exactly what to do if they fail you.

2. Express yourself clearly
The second thing to always keep in mind is that you’re not in a regular meeting. Participants will lose focus, because they either can’t see you or can’t resist multitasking while sitting in front of the computer. Speaking loud and clear and expressing yourself as simple and as straightforward as possible is paramount to keeping the participant’s attention and making sure they understand you.

3. Avoid multitasking
When having a virtual meeting, especially when doing it from behind your own four walls, it will be very tempting to multitask. Checking your email, grabbing something for the fridge or talking on the phone is best left aside. Paying attention is of utmost importance when attending your meeting and drifting off during a virtual meeting is easier than in an ordinary one. Be aware of that fact and make some rules for yourself to follow to make sure you give the meeting the attention it deserves.

4. Muting your microphone
Furthermore, always be aware of the background noise you microphone produces. If twenty people attending a meeting all produce background noise, you will have a hard time understanding each other. Whether it is your cat meowing or just the static coming of from your mic, muting it is the best option most of the times. If anyone else mutes theirs too, you can make sure that the one speaking gets understood and actually heard out as well.

5. Make your voice count
Now this last advice is really crucial in any meeting situation, not following it could mean that a meeting was not worth attending at all. You have to make sure you have a planned out agenda when going to meetings and that you know how to express it. As a freelancer, you will, more often than not, have to present your part of a project. Get your message across, try making yourself heard through various channels.  Email notes beforehand or make sure you include details in the presentation. State what you intend to do and make sure everybody understands you.  Keeping those guidelines in mind might not make your virtual meetings more pleasant, but it will help your attendance count.

Hint: When working with clients worldwide, another challenge is to deal with different time zones. Need tips? Learn how to manage different time zones.

Pic: © ArtmannWitte - fotolia.com
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