Since the Covid-19 lockdown, virtual meetings have become a new norm for employees and companies all over the world. Zoom app being downloaded 485 million times in 2020 alone. Despite becoming a regular fixture, virtual meetings are still seen as inferior compared to in-person meetings. While virtual meetings might not solve the productive problems of meeting culture, they surely offer several advantages over in-office meetings like -
- Saving money on traveling to the office
- Being in control of own time
- Reduce small talk
- Ease of declining or saying “no”
- The directness of communication and enhanced collaboration
To make productive use of everyone's time during these virtual meetings there are some virtual meeting etiquettes that must be followed. Proper meeting etiquettes in 2022 have little to do with how you dress and speak. It’s about how you prepare, treat others, and focus to make these meetings a productive use of time.
Here are 14 virtual meeting etiquettes that might help you next time you have a zoom call to attend:
1. Respect everyone's time on the call
Join the meeting a few minutes prior to its start so no one is waiting and end the call on time that way everyone can jump on the next call in time. It’s also important to not get carried away with the topic and to keep a track of time.
Source: iStock by Getty Images
It's always good to have the agenda of the call ready before starting the meeting. However, if you're invited to a meeting without an agenda, it is a good virtual meeting etiquette to push back and ask for one. Being forced to go to meetings without a plan is like someone stealing your most precious resource - your time.
If the agenda is known, come prepared for the call. Do your homework on the agenda and be ready with the points you’d like to share or discuss during the meeting. You can do your part to make the meeting more effective if you can jump into the discussion time as soon as possible. Sit with a physical or virtual notepad to take notes.
Avoid diverting from the agenda. Signal everyone physically and virtually that you're in a meeting. Turn off all chat applications and notifications. If you share space with others, let them know you are getting on a meeting. Make it clear if it’s ok to interrupt you if they can’t find the scissors to open a parcel.
5. Look presentable
Even if you’re working from home wearing sweatpants, you should show up looking presentable with clean clothes preferably bright colors, and combed hair.
Source: Associations Now
Join the meetings with the video on. The camera should parallel to the face or slightly upward so others can see your head and shoulder. It’s a powerful way to maintain human connection during a virtual meeting. Starting a call with a bunch of blank screens is pretty cold and impersonal. If connectivity or bandwidth is a problem, let everyone know that you are going to turn your video off after saying hi.
Source: Tom’s Guide
Select a nice and neutral background in your room with good lighting. If you are uncomfortable sharing your background, select a professional virtual background preferably with your company name and logo.
Source: Design Milk
It is good online meeting etiquette to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking so that your background noise does not disturb the speakers. This way you can avoid embarrassing situations where your clients or co-workers hear you (or your family members) say something inappropriate.
Record the meetings only with the permission of everyone present in the room. During a virtual meeting, a lot of confidential information might be shared and it’s a best practice to give others a heads up or ask for their consent before recording the conversation.
Source: Elegant Themes
10. Speak slowly
Be aware of non-native speakers on the call. Many rely on watching your face or reading lips to get the full context. Without those signals, they need you to slow down to make sure they catch what you say.
Source: Corporate Speech Solutions
11. Leaving the room
Before leaving the meetings, make sure you either inform or take the permission of others. If something urgent comes up, such as signing for delivery at the door, leave a chat message to say you will be right back. This also prevents the awkwardness of being called on during the meeting and not answering.
12. Don't talk over people
In a virtual meeting, it’s hard to know exactly who spoke first. Be ready to let the other person speak ahead of you. If you need to complete a statement, say something like, “Neha, I just want to finish this thought, and then I want to hear what you have to say.”
13. Resist the urge to do other work
Doing other work while on a meeting means you won’t be focused on either and both will suffer.
14. Minutes of the meeting
It’s important to note the discussion pointers and share them with the participants after the call along with the agenda of the follow-up call/next meeting.
Source: Hendrix.ai blog
When the participants are aware of these 14 virtual meeting etiquette, meetings can be conducted more efficiently and productively. There’s an additional responsibility to conduct a successful virtual meeting that’ll be learning the software controls. If you’re hosting the virtual meeting, you’ll need to know how to perform the tasks such as screen sharing, admitting participants to the meeting, removing participants, setting up breakout rooms, lowering all hands, and muting all mics. However, what is most important is that you be fully present at every meeting irrespective of whether you’re muted or not.