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Office Space: Setting the Stage

We are all pretty used to virtual meetings at this point but people are still making some common mistakes.

So today, I wanted to offer some guidelines for improving communication and getting things done.

Let People Know the Purpose of the Meeting Before It Begins

Even if you are having an adhoc meeting, a clear framework helps. Knowing the purpose and ultimate goals makes for better prepared people. It also identifies when the attendee list is missing someone or recruiting someone who doesn’t need to be there.

Rehearse the small stuff

I’m not talking about rehearsing every interaction. But if you are presenting or know you will be defending in a conversation — you really need to practice. I mean doing it out loud, preferably recorded, and with some awareness for where it needs your focus the most. The bigger the stakes, the more preparation should go in. Remember isn’t just what you say, it’s how you say it.

Control the parameters whenever possible

Creating a structure will not only make things run better and it will show your leadership skills. Here are some tools you might consider:

  • Do include greetings/personal connection. For longer meetings consider a group stretch — you’ll think better.
  • Let people know how long the meeting will be, if there will be a break, and call expectations about the camera being on/off.
  • Have someone keep time and mind the chat (or turn it off).
  • Remind everyone to mute and decide what method you will use for people to indicate when they want to speak.
  • For smaller team meetings consider asking everyone to change to the gallery view. For presentations and large meetings, speaker view.
  • Look directly at the camera while you are speaking especially at the points where you really need to connect with people. Yes, it feels weird but you only need to do it some of the time for it to be effective.
  • Remember that audio latency is a part of video conferencing which means that you need to make more space for your words to connect and for exchange between one or more speakers. You can’t successfully talk over people, or make effective interruptions in this medium. This can actually be good as you must establish principles for everyone to be heard. It means you have to be mindful that you are not losing voices and points of view in the room.

This Friday at 12:30 pm EDT, Gina will be live on FB. These will be short voice alignment sessions aimed at voice skills building. Watch it on the GROW Voice FB page. I hope to see you there.


Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.

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