Become a Virtual Meeting Shujaa!

Become a Virtual Meeting Shujaa!

To many of those who regularly use Nairobi’s Waiyaki Way today, the name of that road might not mean anything much.  However, Waiyaki wa Hinga, the man after whom one of the country’s busiest roads was named after, is said in many history books to have been killed by the colonial government officers at Kibwezi in 1892. The muthamaki had been arrested and sentenced to detention in Kibwezi after a scuffle between him and an officer of the colonial government called Purkiss at Fort Smith in present-day Kiambu County. Some accounts have it that Waiyaki was buried alive, in an upside-down position, in revenge after Mau Mau subjected a settler to similar treatment in Nyeri.

Yesterday we remembered Waiyaki and countless Mashujaas’ who sacrificed life and family for a better country.

Mashujaa day used to be called Kenyatta day, until the government decided otherwise. Back then, while growing up, we used to gather in front of our small TV to watch the live proceedings. From very early in the morning till around 6 in the evening. I remember our neighbors coming to our house to especially watch the presidents’ speech. Good times those ones! We played together the whole day as our elders watched the proceedings. I used to be very excited because there was no school and we used to cook chapatti to celebrate the day. What stood out for me then were the choirs. They were smooth and enjoyable. Then the skits specially by the likes of Mzee Ojwang were so hilariously refreshing.

Lately, the ceremony is not what it used to be. I can’t say it is boring but I won’t say it is interesting either. During last years’ ceremony, coupled with the covid-19 pandemic, I had to do a conference call with a client from home. I don’t think I was alone. Most people are relying on the virtual video calling for meetings with their clients. To me, I am celebrating this as well: mankind’s adoption and evolution of virtual conferences: the human spirit is a shujaa.

How can you be a heroic virtual meeting participant and presenter?

Here are some suggestions.

  1. Lighting.

Ensure your lighting is correct. This is a very important aspect in a virtual call. If it is during the day, set your machine where there is enough light so that the people you will be in the meeting with, will see you clearly. If it is at night, then ensure the lighting is very good.

  • Background.

If you are having a business meeting, then you may want to have to set your station in a background that speaks business. Imagine having a business meeting in the balcony where your neighbor is throwing a party! Or in a room that is cluttered, what image are you putting across? You can play with the backdrop according to the kind of meeting that you are having.

  • Angling the camera.

There is one trick that everyone who holds virtual meetings should learn; looking at the camera. This will make the people you are in the meeting with feel like you are looking them in the eye. This needs a little practice to get it right. Otherwise, a lot of people look at the screen of the device that you are using. Ensure that your eyes are on level with the camera. If you do not have a high place to set your device, then you consider standing.

  • Self-positioning.

Do a little practice before the meeting starts. Know where to position yourself so that you are not so close to the screen and also, not so far from the screen. Knowing the right position to sit will make you look more focused, and a professional.

  • Sound.

This is very important. Check your sound settings before the meeting begins, otherwise you may be talking to yourself the whole time. Test the sound and make the necessary adjustments before you settle down to star the meeting.

  • Preparations.

Just because you are not in a physical meeting does not mean you can slack off. Prepare well before the meeting starts. Put your presentation in order. Relax and be yourself while presenting and most importantly, make the presentation lively.

There’s a price to pay to be a hero, endless sacrifices and a lot of determination. You are a hero!


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