Should you put yourself on mute, dress formally or sit with a well-organised background? Or should you keep the mic on, dress in your T-shirt and use a meadow background for your Zoom call with your boss? If you are always in a fix, fret not. Zoom Chief Operating Officer and Interim Chief Legal Officer Aparna Bawa gave a lowdown on how to conduct yourselves during a virtual meeting at Communication Keynote: The Crisis and Opportunity for Communications address during the Business Today India's Most Powerful Women Awards event.
"When getting on Zoom, we are on and there's a lot of pressure. We struggle to look our best when the boss suddenly reaches out to us. The hack is to remember that it is like your board meeting. Same code of conduct applies in virtual meetings. When not speaking, keep background noise to minimum. Be mindful of background noises when you can't be on mute. Check your settings and use them. Set your web camera at your eye level. Limit distractions by turning off notifications on phone and laptop, avoid multitasking, and prepare material in advance," said Bawa.
She elaborated how virtual communications and collaborations have increased amid the pandemic. Bawa believes that virtual meetings are here to stay and will become a fixture even when the pandemic is over. "Workers are as productive and motivated by efficiencies created by virtual meetings. There's no need to travel. People are now comfortable working online. There will be more digital events, that will enable more penetration. Companies would now be able to hire talents where talent exists," she added.
Bawa called work from home the new normal and said that our lives have changed forever. "Weddings, birthdays, concerts, theatres, filmmaking, comedy shows, graduations, festival celebrations -- people have become comfortable with video meetings," she added.
Bawa also said that just because one is online does not mean one is safe. "Online safety is just as important as real life safety. Cyber crime has significantly risen as people want to leverage that everyone's online and take advantage of the vulnerable," she said. Bawa also offers some solutions. "It is your home, you would lock the door in the house and would ensure you check when someone rang the doorbell. That's the same thing you have to do during a virtual meeting. You should find the door and close it. Try not to use your personal meeting ID for public meetings. Save personal meeting ID for smaller gatherings where you do know everyone who's joining. Require a passcode to join. Allow only registered or domain verified users to join. Enable waiting rooms. Lock the meeting once everyone joins," she said.
Aparna Bawa said that the pandemic has been a wakeup call. "We have also realised the potential of virtual collaborations. Virtual collaborations reduce operational costs, improve employee productivity and efficiency, make you more agile. You are able to respond faster and better, and hire better," she said, adding that we are now looking at a hybrid world where virtual communications and collaborations would be an important part of our lives.