Virtual meetings have been something everyone has had to adjust to in recent years. While they’re great for connecting with employees all over the world and can be a bit more relaxed than in-person office meetings, there are some general rules of virtual meeting etiquette that everyone should follow. We’ll cover the top 24 rules of virtual meeting etiquette that anyone working in the remote world should know.
Virtual meeting etiquette is so important because it allows you to still be seen as professional while in a setting outside of your office. It can make your colleagues feel comfortable getting on a call when they know everyone will behave in a professional and respectful manner. By doing this, you and your team will in turn be more productive and will be able to achieve more in your virtual meeting!
<span class="mid-size-title">1. Prevent distractions, but plan for them to happen</span>
When you’re in a setting outside of your working office, distractions are inevitable. Whether you work from home and are surrounded by family and pets or join from a coffee shop where there are others chatting around you, distractions can be everywhere. Prevent the distractions that you have control over, like muting your phone and making sure your area is private enough so you can be heard clearly.
<span class="mid-size-title">2. Limit side conversations from the attendees</span>
As your meeting starts and people are waiting for others to join the meeting room, some colleagues may participate in small side conversations. This is fine - and even encouraged to get people chatting and excited for the meeting - but make sure it stops once everyone is present and ready to start the meeting. If side conversations cut into the meeting time, suggest that those colleagues message each other separately about it after the meeting or meet with each other at a later time.
<span class="mid-size-title">3. Come prepared and on time</span>
Like any other in-person meeting, showing up prepared is a must. Once you know the timing of your meeting, set aside some time beforehand to prepare by gathering any materials or information you’ll need for that particular meeting. This will prevent the meeting from getting delayed after waiting for you to collect your materials.
<span class="mid-size-title">4. Opt for Shorter Meetings</span>
The longer a meeting goes on, the chances of distractions and losing your member's attention increase. To prevent both from happening, aim for a meeting that lasts 15 minutes and adjust if your meeting goes past that time.
<span class="mid-size-title">5. Turn Your Video Off if You Need to Get Up</span>
When you’re working remotely and joining a meeting virtually from your home, things will naturally happen that may need your attention. If this is the case and you need to step away from your meeting for a brief moment, make sure to turn your video off and turn your sound on mute. Doing these actions will keep other meeting members from being distracted by your screen. Once you’re back at your computer and settled, you can turn your camera on again.
<span class="mid-size-title">6. Keep Your Background Clean and Professional</span>
Virtual meetings let everyone get a small glimpse into what your surrounding home area is like. If possible, have a blank wall as your background or add some artwork to the wall to keep it clean and simple. If you can’t utilize a blank wall, make sure that the space you’re showing is clean and professional, as this will reflect back on you. Some virtual meeting platforms even have the option of blurring the screen behind you to keep the focus just on you, which we recommend!
<span class="mid-size-title">7. Use a Good Microphone</span>
Sometimes, the built-in microphones that many laptops, phones, and tablets come equipped with are not the best quality. To ensure you’re being heard loud and clear throughout your entire meeting, consider investing in a quality microphone. Many places sell great microphones at affordable prices, so consider using one or even a headset for the best audio quality for team meetings.
<span class="mid-size-title">8. Be Aware of Your Surroundings</span>
As you make yourself camera ready, make sure your surroundings are, too. If your camera picks up the room you’re joining in from, make sure you present it well. Clean the area and don’t leave anything in the frame that you wouldn’t want your colleagues to see. Make sure your lighting is good, as well; set your computer up near a window for natural lighting, or turn a lamp or overhead light on wherever you sit.
<span class="mid-size-title">9. Mute Your Microphone When You’re Not Talking</span>
Before you join your meeting, mute your microphone to prevent any extra noise from disrupting your meeting. When it’s your turn to speak, unmute your mic and present what you’re going to say.
<span class="mid-size-title">10. Learn the Software Controls</span>
While there are many similarities between each virtual meeting platform, learning about the different interfaces may take some time. Take time to familiarize yourself with where all the different buttons are and learn different keyboard shortcuts. You should know how to do certain actions like joining a meeting, turning your camera and mic on and off, leaving a meeting, and raising your hand.
<span class="mid-size-title">11. Silence Phones and Other Noises</span>
One of the biggest distractions while working remotely can be phones, especially during virtual meetings! Putting phones and any other electronic device on mute will keep distractions to a minimum for you and your team. Do your best to prevent any distracting noises to maintain great virtual meeting etiquette.
<span class="mid-size-title">12. No Food Allowed</span>
Eating during a virtual meeting is strongly advised against. Other meeting members will not want to join a meeting where you’re too busy chewing that you can’t talk and contribute anything to the conversation! Have a snack before your meeting if you get hungry so you won’t make others uncomfortable while you eat during the meeting.
<span class="mid-size-title">13. Stay Seated and Stay Present</span>
While it can be tempting during your virtual meeting to switch over tabs and start working on other things, staying present during your meeting is key! Being present allows you to contribute to the topic at hand and will keep you from missing any valuable information.
<span class="mid-size-title">14. Wear Professional Attire</span>
Even though you may be joining your meeting from the comfort of your home, you still want to look professional! A good rule of thumb is to avoid presenting yourself in a way you wouldn’t present yourself in an office; this goes for the clothes you wear and how you look.
<span class="mid-size-title">15. Test Your Connection, Screen, and Equipment</span>
The last thing you want is to find out that your computer or internet connection isn’t working properly before a big meeting. To avoid slowing down your meeting and bothering your colleagues, check ahead of time that everything is working as it should. Check your microphone quality, your WiFi, and your camera quality all before your meeting starts.
<span class="mid-size-title">16. Choose the Right Software</span>
The software you choose for a virtual meeting can have a big impact on how everything goes. Do your research to select a platform that meets your meeting goals and is one that everyone on your team can use. Platforms like Hubilo offer a number of features to make virtual meetings more collaborative and engaging for everyone involved.
<span class="mid-size-title">17. Keep Your Hands off the Keyboard</span>
When you’re in a virtual meeting, it can be tempting to do things like type out notes or points while you talk. However, respect your colleagues by keeping your typing to a minimum while you’re on the call. Or, for moments when typing something is necessary, mute your microphone so no one can hear the keyboard.
<span class="mid-size-title">18. Look at the Camera and Speak Clearly</span>
While you’re in a virtual meeting, it can be tempting to look at yourself as you’re talking on screen. However, to make everyone feel more connected, look into the camera as if you’re looking at everyone there. Speak as though you’re presenting in front of everyone in a regular office space and avoid any mumbling.
<span class="mid-size-title">19. Give Your Full Attention</span>
It can be easy to attend to other matters while on a virtual call. However, we recommend putting your phone away and exiting other browsers to focus on the present meeting you are currently in. Other meeting members are giving you their time and attention, so you should too!
<span class="mid-size-title">20. Set Goals and Agendas</span>
As with any other event, setting goals and creating an agenda should be a high priority for a virtual meeting. Goals will help guide your virtual meeting and will be helpful when creating your meeting agenda. Both of these will prevent the meeting from going off track and running over time.
<span class="mid-size-title">21. Introduce Each Member of the Team</span>
A general rule of thumb for virtual meetings is to introduce everyone who joins, just as you would for an in-person meeting. If you’ve got a new client joining or different department members, they won’t always be familiar with one another. Making introductions at the beginning of your virtual meeting will get everyone feeling more comfortable discussing the topic at hand.
<span class="mid-size-title">22. Summarize the Meeting</span>
Before your virtual meeting is over, run through everything you talked about before everyone departs. Highlight the key takeaways and any tasks that were discussed for your team. This will give everyone clear direction once your meeting is over!
<span class="mid-size-title">23. Keep Track of Time</span>
Your virtual meeting members lead busy professional lives, so it’s important to respect their time by sticking to the planned time of your meeting. Use your agenda as a schedule with allotted times for each topic you discuss.
<span class="mid-size-title">24. Breaks for Lengthy Meetings</span>
The best way to keep everyone focused during a lengthy meeting is by taking breaks if necessary. If your meeting is longer than one hour, plan ahead to incorporate breaks into the meeting to let everyone take a mental break from their hard work. This will help everyone focus and be more engaged in the long run!
The transition of in-person meetings to virtual is never an easy process, but they’re quickly becoming the new normal. One of the best ways to embrace this change is to use the same etiquette practices as you would for in-person meetings, as highlighted above. Joining in from home certainly has its own set of challenges, but with thorough planning and organization, virtual meetings can be successful for everyone!
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