Step-it-up in online meetings –

A few weeks ago I was participating in an online meeting, actually a “Communicating with Confidence” presentation to an organization via Zoom.  During the Q&A at the end, a young, ambitious manager asked me,

“As a junior person who isn’t leading meetings, I have limited opportunities to be heard in online meetings.  What can I do to maximize my confidence and my effectiveness when I have a rare chance to contribute?”

WOW – What a fantastic question, right?

This got me thinking: these online meetings aren’t going away.   It’s time for ALL OF US to step it up a notch!

So here are 3 hacks to help you confidently and effectively contribute in online meetings.


(Yes, I do all of these things myself!)



The Context: 

Do you ever sign-in to an online meeting, then realize that you forgot to print the agenda? Or you get a tickle in your throat and you forgot your glass of water? 


The Advice:

tips for your next online meeting (image Unsplash @ markuswinkler)
image: Unsplash @ markuswinkler

Create a LIST of what you need to do in advance of an important online meeting so you don’t forget anything.  You can re-use this list every time you have a meeting.  It will help you be prepared and you will feel more confident!


Andrea’s Hack:

I keep my “Meeting Prep List” on my phone. You are welcome to copy my list:

  1. agenda printed, pen (I like to hand-write meeting notes on the agenda page during meetings)
  2. water glass (on another table in case it spills!)
  3. bio break(!)
  4. phone on silent mode
  5. computer: close all other windows and turn OFF notifications (it’s annoying and distracting to hear other people’s notifications!)
  6. set up ring light (more on that below)
  7. cheat-sheets taped outside monitor (ditto – more on that below…)



The Context:

We’ve all read a million articles about how to rock-it in online meetings, right?  Look at the camera, camera at eye-level, light-source in front of you (not behind you) and of course, wear pants… Well, it’s time to step it up a notch! Is your physical space set up for success?

what not to do in online meetings
image: Unsplash @ vheath
Tell me this isn’t you?!?

The Advice:

Set yourself up physically so you look professional and feel productive:

  • Desk & chair – You certainly don’t need to buy a fancy executive desk and chair.  But resting your laptop on your lap while you lean back on your sofa is not ideal. You need to sit up straight in a proper chair and have a desk or table for your computer and papers. 
  • Invest in two pieces of tech hardware that will help you immensely: corded earphones with a mic and a ring light.

Andrea’s Hack:

This stuff doesn’t have to be expensive!

  • You might have to move some furniture, but your kitchen table and chair might be perfect!
  • Corded earphones with a mic are inexpensive these days…
  • Here’s the $30 ring light I bought for important meetings. The flexible cable is stable, and you can adjust the light level and the colour. (I usually use the brightest setting and the warm-red light.)
ring light for online meetings
This ring light is a game-changer!



The Context:

Of course, you need to stay away from email and social media when you’re in an online meeting. But this isn’t just about avoiding distractions.  This is about proactively focusing on the main points and the key people in the meeting.

focus in your online meetings
image: Unsplash @ rvignes

The Advice: 

Before the meeting, remind yourself of two things:

  1. What are the main points that will be discussed? Is there a framework or a process that will be referenced? What points need to be top-of-mind?
  2. Who are the key participants in this meeting? This is particularly important if you’re meeting with clients or other external stakeholders and you’re less familiar with their names.


Andrea’s Hack:


hack for online meetings - write notes
image: Unsplash @ kellysikkema

I like to step it up a notch by writing the main points and key names.  If I’m giving an online workshop where I’m teaching a framework, I write the framework on a recipe card (so it stays flat) and tape it on the outside edge of my monitor, right beside the camera.  That way I stay focused on the framework, I never lose my words, and I’m looking at the camera! ???


Did you notice I made these 3 online meeting hacks easy for you to remember? 


Yes, I do all of these 3P’s myself when I’m going into an important meeting or presentation.  They definitely help me feel and appear more confident and capable. 

I hope this helps you too!

we got this

Here are more Talk About Talk resources to help you communicate with confidence and rock-it in online meetings:

Please forward this mail to your friends
who might like to step-it-up-a-notch in their online meetings. Thank you!

Happy online meetings!

Have a great week,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki - headshotDr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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