Although, virtual meetings are nothing new, it gained in popularity in the last one and half years. In other words, the virtual conferences have come up as a useful tool for cutting costs, fostering workplace inclusion, and promoting diversity. It has allowed the decentralized teams to collaborate and stay in touch. These days we are seeing an increasing number of webinars and cloud conferences where leading organizations from the freight forwarding industry participate to touch base with each other and discuss industry defining issues. Furthermore they also help to maintain the much-needed work life balance.
In today’s post we are going to discuss all about virtual meetings and provide you with a few tips to make the best of Globalia’s 2nd Virtual Meeting or any online conference for that matter.
Prerequisites for a virtual meeting
Online conferences hinge on the use of technology. A strong internet connection is the basic prerequisite for an effective virtual meeting. Additionally, all virtual meeting platforms have an audio and video component. This is why it is also important to make use of a good quality headphone, mic and webcam. Once you are equipped with the four basic tools, you are all set to collaborate with your industry peers online. Nevertheless, video-chat platforms like Skype or Zoom are prone to frequent disruptions. This is why many international organizations including Globalia make use of internally developed meeting platform that ensures a seamless conferencing experience. In other words it is the efficacy of the meeting platform that determines the outcome of the meeting. Globalia’s exclusive meeting platform comes with several interactive features that foster engagement among the participants.
A few tips on virtual meeting etiquette
Be mindful of your surroundings
While conducting a professional online meeting with your partners it is very important to be aware of your surroundings. For example a pile of laundry or an unmade bed in the background isn’t going to create a positive impression. This is why it is always suggested that you adjust your work setup before turning on your webcam. By this we mean the elimination of all clutter in the background.
Choose a well-lit place to conduct your meeting from
When having an online meeting it is very important for the attendees to see each other’s faces. For this reason appropriate lighting is crucial for giving a positive impression. If you are having your meeting during daytime it is always suggested that you face a window. Otherwise just sit in a well lit room with your face towards the source of light.
Keep your food aside
Make sure to eat your snack before starting the online meeting. No one wants to see you eating your sandwich while discussing important business issues. It is not only distracting for your partners but it also reduces your focus on the task at hand. Although a drink of water or beverage isn’t going to be as distracting, it is still suggested that you keep it for later. This is precisely why we have short coffee breaks during our meetings. It goes without saying that smoking cigarettes during the meeting is a strict no.
Although virtual meetings don’t entail going to the conference room, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be dressed in a professional attire. Even though you are allowed to chuck the suit or tie, wearing a formal shirt or dress is recommended. Make sure not to turn on the webcam in your t-shirt/nightgown/pyjamas. In other words, online meetings call for good impression. Your attire says a lot about your attitude and work ethic. So make sure to look semi-formal at least.
Look at the camera while speaking
While in an online meeting try not to look down or at your side, your desk or your keyboard. Don’t look anywhere other than the screen when your partner is talking. Looking elsewhere will give the impression that you are not listening even though you might be fully present. Look at the camera from time to time to create the illusion of an in-person meeting. This way your partner will feel that you are more engaged.
Speak clearly in a neutral accent
Do not speak too fast and wait for 2-3 seconds before expecting a response. Online meetings often entail a lag because of the speed of the internet. Moreover, keep in mind that you will be meeting partners from all over the world, many of whom are not so conversant in the English language. Therefore, native English speakers should explain themselves in simple words while making use of a neutral accent. Moreover, the acoustics are not always perfect during remote events. So speaking clearly is an absolute must.
Mute your mic when not speaking
It is a good idea to mute your mic while not speaking since often there is a weird echo sound coming from conflicting mics. In order to prevent this noisy distraction it suggested that you only turn on your mic when its your turn to speak.
Do not multitask
It is bad virtual meeting etiquette to multitask during the meeting time. For example checking your phone during an online meeting should always be avoided. Ideally keep your phone in the mute and away from you. Shut out all distractions by closing all apps and tabs that are not relevant to your meeting.
Get rid of unwanted noise
While having a virtual meeting you need to sit in a quiet corner of your home. The sound of TV in the background or the sound of people or pets can mar the meeting experience. Ideally you need to have your meeting in the quietest room with a Do Not Disturb sign on your door.
Log in before time
You should never wait until the last minute to log in. Signing in a few minutes ahead of time is good virtual meeting etiquette for attendees. Moreover, it gives you some time to test the platform and your equipment before commencing the meeting.
Advantages of Virtual Meeting for the freight forwarding industry
Virtual Meetings are more Cost effective
An in-person meeting of international partners in freight forwarding or any other business for that matter can be an expensive deal. In other words, you need to spend hundreds of dollars on flight fares, hotel reservations, visa fees and additional travel expenses. However, when the meeting is online there is not much expenditure or lost hours of work. You get to attend the meeting from wherever you are. Additionally you can slip back to your daily routine as soon as you log out after the meeting.
Less Formalities and More Decision Making
Online conferences are generally briefer and more efficient. A well-thought-out virtual meeting agenda with allocated time for breaks helps to save time. It makes sure that the none of the participants need to be online for more time than they need to. Most importantly, it allows the delegates to avoid all formalities and instead focus on networking and decision making.
Create a global connection
In a time when traveling is out of question, the virtual meetings are the best way for forwarders to network globally. It allows you to do effective networking with people from every corner of the world. It eliminates the obstacle of distance allowing participants to join from all over. Therefore, it’s got an immense potential for fostering inclusivity within an organization. If you are looking forward to building an international network of logistics partners to make your business grow, then attending Globalia’s Virtual Meeting is your best bet.
Virtual Meetings Are More Inclusive
In the pre-pandemic years most membership organizations conducted yearly gatherings where members from all around the world used to come together in a particular location. However, not always the members have the time or opportunity to travel to a foreign country for attending an in-person meeting. The online nature of the meeting has made it more accessible and inclusive. Additionally, one of the major benefits of virtual meetings is that it allows people with mobility or health issues to take part.
Globalia’s 2nd Virtual Meeting will allow you to network with partners from nearly 200 cities across the world. You will get to touch base with your network partners and discuss the prospects of collaboration without leaving the comforts of your home.
Promotes environmental sustainability
Sustainability in logistics is the order of the day. There is not doubt about the fact that virtual meetings are way more sustainable than in-person gatherings. To begin with you get to reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating all the air travel. Added to this are the wasted papers, wasted food, and massive amount of power consumption. In other others online meetings allow you do your bit for the environment without compromising on your business networking.
Having said that, it needs to be stated in conclusion that despite all its advantages, online meetings don’t leave much space for impromptu chit-chats. Moreover, we all miss the charm of face-to-meeting with all the socializing and group fun. It is not until next year that we can once again participate in our cocktail evenings, gala dinners and day trips. But till then the virtual meeting is the best way to drive inclusion, productivity and diversity into your networking activities. Make sure to register now to get together with your network partners and find many new project opportunities.