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Lessons I’ve Learned about Productive Web Calls: Zoom, Teams, Webex, Blue Jeans…

Lessons I've Learned about Productive Web Calls | Video

Zoom, Teams, Webex, Blue Jeans… We’ve all had to adapt ourselves to making more productive web calls over the last year. And, as a speaker, presenter, coach, and trainer, I’ve had more immersion in remote meetings and web calls than many. So, what are the lessons I’ve learned?

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Six Areas where You can Make Your Web Calls More Productive


  • Prepare just as much as for a ‘real’ meeting or presentation. 
     – Rehearse your delivery.
  • Rehearse your technology. 
     – Get comfortable with all the functions.
  • Liaise with meeting host/organiser to confirm timings and attendees
     – and send out pre-reading or notes.


  • Image matters: 
     – Position in room
     – height of camera (lift laptop onto pile of books)
     – Lighting
     – Background
  • Learn how to adjust your settings.
  • Sound matters more than video. 
     – Use a separate microphone. 
     – Put it close. 
     – Speak clearly.
  • Choose your space and dress your space. 
     – You can blur the background.


  • Your materials need to be highly visual 
     – bold and easy to read.
  • Make your text easy to read
     – Reduce text content 
     – Increase font-size.
  • Create a strong structure 
     – and publish a clear agenda.


  • Dress for the occasion. 
     – Large blocks of colour, rather than detailed design. 
     – Grooming as you would in person.
  • Before the meeting, have to hand: 
     – Water
     – Pen and paper
     – Your notes.
  • Arrive for the meeting early. 
     – Make sure everything works
     – Go full screen to remove distractions
     – Chat with people as they join the meeting.


  • Take your time. 
     – Don’t start presenting until you are ready
     – and so is your audience.
  • Keep your energy levels up 
     – sitting to present gives different feel so you need to work at this
  • Look your audience in the eye. 
     – This means looking at the camera lens.
     – move people images to top of your screen.
  • Check-in with your audience frequently. 
     – Pause for effect and for pacing.
  • Be deliberate with questions
     – Inviting, managing and responding to questions. 
     – Consider using chat and a moderator 
       (but can be distracting to you… and them).
     – or call for questions at specific times.


  • Make notes immediately after the meeting. 
     – Follow-up as soon as you can 
     – and certainly as soon as you promise.
  • Send out copies of notes to attendees.
  • Send thank you notes to meeting organisers.

And One Last Tip for Working Virtually…

Overlay a team routine
…and stick to it
Routine has a calming influence

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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