By now, you know the basics of a good online meeting: fast internet, no clutter on camera, good lighting, and no distractions. But as far as you’ve come in the digital realm, video calls still don’t make the same impact as your in-person meetings. The reasons why may surprise you.

Look Them In the “Eye”

It’s tempting to watch the other participants—or yourself—rather than focusing on the tiny lens on your laptop or phone. But when you look at the camera, you make eye contact with others instead of looking down at your screen.

Listen Out Loud

Does something feel missing from the conversation when everyone’s on mute? It could be that you’re looking for active listening responses. Those affirmations and sounds of engagement help the speaker and make the conversation more interactive. Ask everyone to leave the mute button alone.

Add in Social Time

You might want to get right down to business, but remember to include some unstructured small talk at the beginning or end of a meeting. Minutes spent discussing pets or podcasts builds rapport, and those investments can foster loyalty and camaraderie.

Read the (Digital) Room

Pay attention to the faces and body language of your fellow meeting participants. Do they seem engaged? Bored? Distracted? You would be scanning the room during an in-person meeting; make sure to collect this important information in an online setting to gauge when someone wants to chime in, whether people seem confused, and other important cues.

Make the Call

Sometimes the best way to improve your virtual meeting is not to have one. Not all conversations need to be on video. Think about what you’ll discuss and ask yourself if it’s better to talk on the phone.