Resource Center / Small Business

Virtual Meeting Tips for Small Business Owners

Written by Live Oak Bank

Female small business owner sitting at her laptop using virtual meeting tips

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During the pandemic, virtual meetings became a crucial part of how many businesses function. While many companies have made the return to the office, the demand for virtual meetings is only growing. In fact 79% of working professionals find virtual meetings just as productive, if not more, than in-person meetings. One thing is clear, virtual meetings aren’t going away anytime soon. In this article we offer some virtual meeting best practices for small business owners.

Using virtual meetings vs. in-person

Virtual meetings can be a great low-cost way to stay connected with customers, coworkers and industry partners. They allow you to have “face-to-face” meetings while delivering a personalized message and more effective collaboration than emails or phone calls. Virtual meetings can decrease commute time and increase overall productivity.


Choose the right platform for your business

If you are meeting with people outside of your organization or hosting larger groups, Zoom or Google Meet may be the best platform for you. With the free versions, you can have up to 100 meeting participants. Teams and Slack are great platforms for smaller meetings with internal teams to collaborate via video calls, voice calls, and chat groups. Check out this Forbes article for several different video conferencing tools to choose from based on your company's needs.


Follow online meeting etiquette

Have you ever been on a call where there was a barking dog, lawnmower or background chatter throughout the entire call? While disruptions can and will happen, it’s important to try and minimize them. Use noise-canceling headphones if there is background noise and mute yourself when you are not speaking. If you are the host, you can mute all participants on certain platforms, such as Zoom. Jumping on and off the call can also be disruptive to others. Ensure you are somewhere with reliable Wi-Fi, so you do not have to rejoin and have others wait for you.


Reduce background clutter and maintain eye contact

Take a look behind you. Is there clutter or anything that does not look professional? There are plenty of backgrounds that virtual meeting platforms will provide for you to use, from office spaces to tropical vacations. Other ideas are to use a company logo (Canva has a free Zoom virtual background maker) or blur your background so you are the video's focus. To give the appearance of maintaining eye contact, look directly at the camera rather than your computer screen.


Create an agenda and stick to it

We've all joined a few meetings that could have been an email. Send out an agenda prior to the meeting. This ensures that participants can come prepared and allows them to determine if this is a necessary meeting. Sometimes, the meeting can be resolved by a response to the meeting's agenda. A meeting without a plan can waste valuable time for you and your business. After the meeting, send an email recapping the meeting and a to-do list with any action items involved. You must ensure everyone knows who is responsible for the next steps.


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