Nowadays, there’s no denying that online meetings are the new normal of the everyday workflow. But making sure they’re highly efficient is the ultimate challenge.
If you don’t have a lot of experience with video conferencing, it could take some getting used to, especially while the whole team is operating remotely now. Don’t fall victim to some major meeting faux pas; follow these eight simple virtual meeting etiquette rules and tips to keep yourself on track!
Nothing kills momentum at the start of a meeting like a 15-minute delay because people need to download software, can’t get the video to work, etc. Prior to a virtual meeting, all participants should test the technology and make sure they are comfortable with the major features.
We know one of the best parts about working from home is rolling out of bed and logging on from the couch. But just because you’re home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least throw on a clean shirt and brush your hair. If you are choosing to dress with a suit and tie, check out what each tie color says about you!
Getting ready for the day will also put yourself in the right head-space to be productive. Plus, you never know when your boss will want to conference without warning, and you want to be prepared for that.
Background matters! It’s hard to take someone seriously when there’s a pile of messy clothes or children running around in the background of your meeting, so do your best to find a quiet spot in the house with plenty of light when joining your virtual meetings. If you don’t have time to tidy, consider setting up a virtual background instead.
As a rule of thumb, your mic should be muted when you’re not speaking. Although you’ve tried your best to eliminate all distracting noises, chances are there’s still going to be some background noise. Whether it’s the kids, a barking dog, weed whacking neighbors or an ambulance passing by, noise is inevitable. Muting your microphone when you’re not speaking gives other participants the ability to chime in and share their thoughts without distraction or frustration.
Several video conferencing platforms, including Zoom, offer ‘push to talk’ functionality. This feature keeps your mic turned off by default and only picks up noise when you press a button to turn it on. It’s an easy solution that eliminates most background noise on conference calls and helps everyone stay focused.
On that same note, if you’re gearing up to talk, we recommend waiting for a couple of seconds after the previous speaker stops talking to account for potential lag. This will help you avoid embarrassing situations where you’re inadvertently speaking over your teammates.
Be considerate. No one wants to see you munching on your lunch while discussing important business matters. Try to grab a bite before the meeting as to not distract others.
It’s important to use every tool to reinforce interpersonal relationships when people may be feeling isolated. A participant may have a close friend or relative fighting the virus, so some type of “check in” reiterates concern and compassion from management and colleagues.
When it comes to virtual meetings, you should treat it as an in-person meeting. That means focusing on the task at hand, and try to keep distractions away! Be attentive and engaged during the call. As tempting as it is, try not to do any other work or read articles or send emails.
Although planning can help prevent most of the technological issues related to virtual meetings, sometimes they just can’t be avoided. Poor connections or lack of access to quality equipment could make it difficult for some members of your team to participate in video conferencing.
Elect one or two team members to who will be on the call to take notes during the meeting. That way, if one of them doesn’t catch everything, the other should be able to fill in the gaps. Those two team members should then compile and consolidate their notes and send them out to the rest of the participants.
Being able to participate in meetings from your living room is not an excuse to forget basic etiquette. Preparedness and professionalism will not only make a great impression, it will also ensure you get high-quality work done.
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