5 Do's and Don'ts of Virtual Meeting Etiquette
Remember when we all gathered in a conference room for meetings? Fitting as many people as we could at the table, while others grabbed chairs and sat around the outskirts? Feels just like yesterday, doesn’t it? Well, while meetings will always happen, the way we conduct them has changed, perhaps forever.
We are nearly two years into this global pandemic and there are several things that have changed the business world forever, including the use of digital technologies, flexible working environments and virtual meetings.
Virtual or hybrid meetings are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future and the companies that know how to stay productive with remote collaboration will find it easier to thrive.
We’ve all seen the memes or videos of people attending their virtual meetings looking like they just rolled out of bed, or “forgot” to put pants on, and accidentally stood up! Or how about the dogs barking in the background or kids walking into the room to talk to their moms or dads?
Let’s talk about a few things to consider when attending a virtual meeting. Here are 5 Do’s and Don’ts of virtual meeting etiquette:
1. Be on Time
How many times have you been in a meeting where you are waiting on someone pertinent to the discussion? Unfortunately, time management is a huge issue with virtual meetings, as well as in-person meetings. With most meetings scheduled for one hour, if participants are 5-10 minutes late, once the small talk is over, there is minimal time to discuss the important things. And if you run over time, that means the next meeting starts late. It’s a vicious cycle! Consider a meeting application that helps to keep meetings on track, such as Synappx Meeting.
2. Wear Your Pants
Sure, we have all gotten very comfortable with working from home and what’s more comfortable than rolling out of bed and turning on your computer? Although there is nothing wrong with that, if you are going to be on camera, a little bit of effort should be required. And consider wearing pants if you think you might mistakenly get up in the middle of the meeting. Nobody needs to see that!
3. Mute Yourself
Even if you are the only person other than the presenter in the meeting, you should mute yourself when not speaking. Background noise can be easily picked up. Let’s face it, we are all used to everyone being home and dogs barking in the background. Nothing to be embarrassed about but mute yourself so the meeting is not interrupted.
4. You Don’t Always Need to be on Camera
Yes, we have all heard that to really feel the collaboration between your team, you should be able to see each other. But sometimes, it’s okay to turn your camera off. Life happens. If your dog is needy, or the kids are in the background, or maybe you just don’t feel very good and would rather not be the shining star you always are, turn the camera off.
5. Fix Your Background
Whether you use Microsoft Teams or Zoom, you have the ability to change your background. You can always have your normal background if you have a nice home office space. If your workspace is in the kitchen or your bedroom, you can blur your background or choose one of the fancy backgrounds that are preset in your communication platform. Or if you are really talented, you can make your own background!
1. Don’t Multitask
This is especially important when presenting. Have you ever been in a meeting where someone is sharing their screen, and starts opening up emails, chats, personal files or pictures? How embarrassing! Try to stay on task when having a meeting. Listen to what others are saying. We are all busy, but it is important to pay attention.
2. Don’t Eat
There is nothing more disgusting than being on screen and watching someone stuff their face with their breakfast, snack or lunch. Eat beforehand or afterwards. There is no room for food in the virtual meeting.
3. Don’t Interrupt
Everyone on the call should get the chance to speak without interruptions. When brainstorming for instance, all participants are excited to share their ideas. Each person should be given a turn without another talking over them, monopolizing the conversation. It’s like a debate – you’ll get your five minutes. Let the other person get theirs too.
4. Don’t Type
Unless muted, there is nothing more distracting than when someone is speaking, hearing the sounds of someone furiously typing. It is so loud over the microphone. Jot things down in a notebook or invest in a good quality headset.
5. Don’t Invite Unnecessary People
I’m sure we have all been invited to meetings where five minutes in, you’re thinking to yourself, “Why am I here?” Everyone’s time is valuable, so when organizing a meeting, even virtual, be mindful of who adds value to the discussion. Adding people to the invite list, just to have more bodies isn’t productive.