Ace Your Next Virtual Meeting with these Pro Tips

March 28, 2024
Peri Plantenberg
Ace Your Next Virtual Meeting with these Pro Tips

I spoke with public relations connoisseurs during PRSA SV’s Marketing team meeting to garner key insights on how to best run and attend virtual external meetings, company gatherings, and client get-togethers. Now, I’m excited to share their wisdom. Here’s a screen grab of our February meeting.

PRSA SV Marketing meeting participants offered tips for this story during the February meeting. I took a screen grab. Not pictured: Jeannie Entin who was on an airplane, and Max Morgan. Member Laura Tarbox Desmarais was a meeting guest. Meghan Fintland is the PRSA SV president.

1: Announce cameras on or off

Particularly for internal meetings, the day before the meeting, provide a heads up on whether cameras should be turned on or off. That way, a remote employee does not get their hair done or iron their best blouse, often time-consuming tasks, for nothing. — Michelle McIntyre 

2: Reveal casual or formal

In a similar vein, before a meeting, let attendees know if the meeting will be casual or formal. Dress code matters for online meetings, even if the view is only from the waist upward. — Nicole Ting

3: Understand your audience

Understand your audience’s needs for the meeting. For instance, some cultures or companies mandate cameras off. Know your audience and their goal. — Laura Tarbox Desmarais, meeting guest

4: Avoid multitasking

Don’t multitask. People in the meeting know when someone is writing an email, or texting. This isn’t to say that you can’t use your device to look things up, but you want to make the attendees aware by letting them know beforehand. This heads-up can be a simple, "That’s a new one! I’m going to look that up." Staying focused and keeping everyone on the same page tells attendees their time is important to you. — Camille Clark

5: Avoid eating on camera

Eat before or after a meeting. However, if you can’t avoid meeting-time eating, eat with your camera off and inform attendees, "I’m going to turn off my camera to eat." — Camille Clark

6: Tips for press conferences

Personalize the email invitations, follow up to confirm attendance the day of; check the technology; and do a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) session with speakers the same day. Practice answers as late as possible because often reporters want to ask about something that happened that day. — Michelle McIntyre

7: Lighting Tips

Make sure the camera is slightly above or at eye-level. Books can do the trick if you're working with a laptop. Ensure the lighting is pointed at your face, not above or below. Ideally, you're facing a window during the day as natural light is best. If that's not possible, you can get a ring light or other portable light and point it directly at your face. The idea is to not have pronounced shadows under your eyes, nose, or chin, and to avoid raking light — which is when the light source comes from the side and casts sideway shadows. Dial up the touch-up my appearance setting in Zoom and it will also help adjust for unflattering lighting. Dial into an empty video chat to test things out beforehand. — Jeannie Entin 

8: Attire Tips

In terms of attire, the same tips for TV apply to virtual meetings: avoid patterns, black, or white. A bold, solid-color top that contrasts with and complements your skin, hair, chair, and backdrop is a great choice. Dress for the job you want applies here. Expressing your culture and personality with accessories or clothing is always in style. I tend to choose solid sweaters or layer on a jacket over a shirt for more business-y meetings or virtual conferences. — Meghan Fintland.

Utilizing any or all of these wise meeting practices will lead to a happier, more engaged group. There may be better attendance at your next meeting as a result. 


‍Peri Plantenberg, a member of PRSA Silicon Valley's Marketing Team, is a second-year UC Berkeley student and a former sales, marketing, and business development intern at Unlocking Growth. Before that, Peri co-led the nonprofit Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action.

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