From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

September 2010
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Meetings, interviews, conferences. Virtual and in-person.
Filed under: Interviewing, First Year on Job, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 9:07 am

With the explosion in costs and desire to be exposed
to insights and information, “virtual meetings, interviews
and conferences” seem to be expanding.

We all have choices to attend these “virtual” meetings.

The first choice is should the meeting be in person, or
can it be virtual.  For me, it seems that it is nice to have
a first meeting, or one of the first meetings,  in
It sets a context for what may follow and
can indicate
a change in context if that seems to follow.

Wherever possible, my preference is in-person meeting
when it is important to any party, distance is not a
significant factor or when the subject matter is known
well enough by meeting participants.

How many people are formally prepared to engage
in a virtual meeting? My contention is that it requires
firm preparation for what you want to get out of them,
a strong presence where you are alert and present an
alertness back to other attendees, and significant
follow-up that often does not occur because of the

There are very important courtesies that can be
forgotten because you are not formally in the presence
of the individual or group.
Eilene Zimmerman penned a nice piece in the
career couch segment of the NYTimes.

 - limited multitasking can be fine, but in
video- don’t engage in personal hygiene or wear
unsuitable clothing (like stripes, or no formal
business attire to legal meetings, etc.)
telecon- (no video) don’t continually interrupt
to have questions or comments repeated or
project undesirable audio to the meeting
(intelligent use of mute button).

 - prepare for the meeting, keeping aware of
time (have a clock handy), involve all of the
relevant participants, keep comments shorter
(by asking specifically if things are clear or if
understanding is sufficient or complete)
 - do sound and video checks at all locations
(it is not the best practice to experiment along
the way)
 - plan to take notes yourself even if there is
a meeting note taker (it is so easy to forget
the important details of virtual engagements)
 - have all the appropriate tools you need
for this meeting and expected follow-up
(calendars, calculators, secondary computers
 - send relevant documents in advance of
meeting, indicating what they are for
(for interviews, for example, resume,
research summary, project summary,

 - develop an agreed listing of action items
or next steps
 - ask for and send relevant documents to aid
in information flow, if not sent in advance
 - summary of meeting should be sent, or
clarification of impacts to you.

This form of meeting will grow in importance
so it is worth observing best practices.

Remember, seeing videos of gorillas in a
room of moving people.
Remember, hearing noises of crunching
potato chips in the audio
Remember, loud drilling noises from
construction going on down the hall.

These can all happen and need to be
“planned out,”

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