Practicing good video meeting etiquette is critical to ensuring that your meetings are professional, efficient, and valuable.
As An Attendee
- Mute your microphone, unless you are speaking
Make sure your microphone is muted at all times, unless you are speaking. It is the #1 rule of video conferencing etiquette, as it is the most distracting and inconsiderate behavior to listen to you shuffling in your chair, adjusting the position of your phone or laptop, hearing your dog barking, etc. Keep that cursor near the microphone mute button and keep the conversation flowing!
Tip: In Zoom meetings you can press and hold the ‘Space’ bar on your keyboard to speak. This is a great option if you are adding your 2¢ or making short comments.
Make sure you are properly lit for the call. Add a desk lamp and point it down at your desk or another near surface to bounce light onto your face. Don’t point it directly at yourself, as you want soft light, not direct harsh light. Make sure there are no windows or other bright sources of lights behind you. Backlit scenes are only good for witness protection programs.
- Make sure you are in clean, presentable environment
Keep it professional and presentable. Dress appropriately. Clean your room. Don’t present from the bedroom. Or use a virtual background. Here is an easy one for you to grab and use (right below this list).
- Announce yourself and speak up
Announce yourself when you join or enter a room. It can be awkward to hear the “someone-just-joined” ding followed by silence. When you hop on the meeting, introduce yourself and say hi – just make sure not to interrupt someone mid-sentence. Then when it is your turn to speak, use your voice. Project, and make sure you are easily heard.
- Stay seated and stay present
Leave the keyboard alone. No food allowed. Don’t work on other tasks (like checking email or your phone) during the virtual meeting. You are in a meeting for the people there. You might miss out on key information or an opportunity to give input. Use attentive body language: sit up straight, don’t make big extraneous movements, and don’t let your eyes wander too much.
- Eliminate distractions and focus on the agenda.
Notifications from messaging applications, ringtones, and applications running on your desktop can be distracting, which can make your attendees feel disrespected and undervalued. Mitigating these distractions helps keep the meeting focused and free from interruption.
As An Organizer
- Test all technology (including camera/video, Wi-Fi, and screen sharing) before the meeting
- Make sure to introduce everyone at the beginning.
Just like a real meeting or social event, you wouldn’t initiate a conversation between two acquaintances who haven’t met without introducing them. The same practice applies to a virtual meeting. Be sure to introduce all parties you are hosting at the beginning to create a welcoming environment and stimulate engagement.
- Make time for casual conversation
A few minutes of friendly interaction before diving into a meeting can really build the necessary rapport for a successful sit-down—and keep the team engaged when the conversation jumps to business talk.
Spend a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting checking in with everyone, catching up, or just having small talk about what’s going on in the office. Not only will it boost engagement, but it can also strengthen culture and deepen your relationship with your team.
- Only invite meeting participants who need to be there.
Inviting co-workers who don’t need to participate or make decisions can be detrimental to the quality of the meeting. Because you can send other stakeholders a summary of the meeting via Chat, you can limit the attendee list and keep the meeting streamlined. As an invitee, make sure to review any meeting invites you receive to determine whether you actually need to attend. If not, request a recording of the meeting or a summary to get the info you need.
- Include introverts during remote meetings
It’s important to keep everyone engaged during remote meetings, including the team members who might not be the most vocal or outspoken.
If there are people in the meeting who are less comfortable speaking up, structure the meeting in a way that gives everyone equal opportunity for their voices to be heard, like a round-robin-style discussion, where everyone gets five minutes to share an insight or experience they’ve had around the meeting topic.
- If you’re the host, stick around.
The general rule for meeting hosts: Wait until everyone else has left the meeting before hanging up, so attendees can leave at their own pace and get any final words in before disconnecting. A host leaving everyone else in the meeting is much like bailing on your own party.
- Online meeting follow-ups
In order for a meeting to be effective, every person needs to walk out with a clear objective. The key things everyone needs to know are:
- Deliverables and next steps
- Who’s responsible for following up on each item or task
- When those deliverables are due
- When the next meeting or check-in will be
And if you were the host, don’t forget that an important part of meeting follow-up is checking in with attendees about how well the meeting went, whether you choose to do so through a casual one-on-one conversation or by sending out a simple and anonymous feedback survey. Hearing from attendees may just give you ample ideas on how you can make future meetings even more inclusive and efficient for everyone involved.
Run virtual meetings with distributed teams like a pro
Successfully running a virtual meeting can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. When you follow this step-by-step guide, it doesn’t matter if you’re working with a team of two or a team of 10, whether team members are five miles away or 5,000— you’ll have everything you need to confidently run a productive remote meeting.