The pandemic has changed a lot in business reality. The spring lockdown brought our lives to the Internet, and it brought business to… video conferencing. After the summer “relax” we return to the restrictions. Company meetings in the sanitary regime or online conversations with customers are governed by their own laws. It’s good to know the best practice in this area.
The basic rules of an online business meeting are based on the rules of “traditional” business meetings, but that is not all. Here comes the savoir-vivre associated with the communication channel itself. However, an Internet conversation is different from the face-to-face one and you have to keep these differences in mind.
Online business talks – good practices
When preparing a business meeting via the Internet, during which you will not only hear, but also see, for example, the customer or contractor, secure a good quality connection and equipment. Make sure there are no technical problems during an online conversation, that the image is in high enough resolution and the sound is smooth. There’s nothing more frustrating than an interruption in communication.
Make sure you take care of the right “scenery” and acoustic background. Business meetings are events that require appropriate setting and seriousness. The composition of the frame in which you show up does not have to be perfect, but it cannot be accidental. What constitutes the background for such an online conversation is a testimony to you and your attitude towards your interlocutor. The same goes for the sound. You can’t afford interference or accidental noises. Teleconferences are best conducted in an acoustic booth. Then you will end up performing superbly.
Your image and behaviour also matter. Try to keep a neat, neutral look (i.e. the classic business dress code), keep the tone factual and a clear, not too fast but also not too slow way of speaking. Refrain from excessive gesticulation. When talking online with a customer or business partner, do not do anything else – just pay attention to the person you are talking to, maintain appropriate eye contact with them.
Make an appointment a few days in advance for an Internet conversation . The interlocutor must also have a chance to prepare for it. When setting the date of such a business meeting, as in any other case, it is worthwhile to agree, apart from the date, also on its subject and duration.
If more than two people are involved in the conversation, there should be a “moderator” or simply an online meeting organiser who responds/manages the meeting, introduces the participants to the meeting, gives the floor, watches over time and agenda.
And yet, it is seemingly obvious, but it is worth emphasizing it – substantive preparation. For a business conversation over the Internet, just like for the offline one, you have to prepare yourself: know what you’re going to talk about, what you want to say, what you want to ask, what things to discuss. If you need any documents or additional materials, you must have them at hand during a conference call. It is not acceptable to leave the meeting, nervously flip binders or waste time searching the disk. If this happens, it indicates a lack of professionalism.
Online business meetings – faux pas
Not everything always goes as it should, and mistakes happen to everyone, but there are mistakes that are difficult to forgive. So if you’re looking for an important online business conversation, remember…
Don’t be late! Sometimes it is decided by the so-called force majeure, which is difficult to cope with (you can only apologize to the interlocutor, but most often it is due to bad organisation or omissions resulting from poor preparation for an Internet conversation (faulty equipment – not tested well before).
Don’t leave the virtual meeting before it ends – even if you are one of several participants. If the situation really requires it, apologize discreetly – leaving information on chat or on a piece of paper that will be visible to everyone “in your frame”.
Don’t interrupt others and don’t lengthen your speech too much. You have to stick to the rules of savoir-vivre and allotted speaking time. Online communication can be difficult and without it. If more people talk who are not disciplined in this context, chaos arises.
Don’t look flamboyantly or weird. It’s unnecessary, it’s not original, it can be funny, and it certainly distracts the caller (or callers). The best thing to do is to forget about unusual hairstyles, fancy outfits, large, eye-catching jewellery etc.
Don’t make communication difficult with the wrong way of speaking or framing yourself. It’s exhausting for the other side when someone speaks too quietly or unclearly. It is also uncomfortable when someone speaks too loudly, too quickly or, on the contrary, cuts through every word. You have to be natural and neutral and keep healthy proportions by setting up the camera. The optimal frame in such situations includes the face and bust. You mustn’t make too many close-ups, because it can be unesthetic.
Don’t lose touch with the caller. An ongoing online conversation must be in the foreground at all times. You don’t answer the phone calls, don’t open the door on which someone just knocks, don’t have lunch, don’t play with your dog, etc. The caller is the most important.
Watch the booth where you can comfortably and professionally conduct online business talks as well as internal company meetings – hushMeet.L >>. It ensures silence (sounds from outside the both are suppressed to the whisper level) and confidentiality (conversations during a video conference cannot be heard outside the enclosure). It also allows you to plan your frame easily and in accordance with the etiquette, and make sure that no accidental person will make an appearance. At the hushMeet.L you can install a large screen, monitor or TV, and optimally position cameras or microphones for the best possible communication quality.