In the past year, many companies have focused much of their efforts to make remote working a reality. Often times, we are asked to assist our customers with strategies pertaining to making WFH more efficient, secure, comfortable, and pleasant. Most of our customers tell us that half of their day or more can consist of Teams, Zoom, or other methods of virtually meeting face to face. When virtual meetings become your primary in-person meeting method, it is very important to make lasting impressions with applying some virtual meeting etiquette. Below are some of the standards that we see many customers put in place.
Don't Wait Until the Meeting Start Time to Join
If at all possible (we realize this can’t happen every time), try to log into your meeting around 5 minutes ahead of time. This will allow you to work out any bugs, speakers, microphone or camera issues.
Mute When Not Talking, but be Ready at a Moments Notice to Unmute
Nearly every call involves one of these two items:
- Background noise because you are unmuted when you can be muted
- Someone is talking to the group, but nobody can hear them as they are unknowingly muted
You will not wear out the mute button. In a virtual meeting, you should find yourself hovering over it almost constantly to mute and unmute yourself. Additionally, we recommend a free application called KRISP. KRISP will mute out many of the background noises automatically.
Not only could you miss important information, but if you find yourself multitasking, do you really need to be on the call? Consider making some rules around this for your organization. Even when you have your camera off, people can sometimes tell if you are paying attention or working on another project.
Send an Email Follow Up, Recapping the Meeting
You should make sure and designate someone ahead of time (maybe this is you?) to send out a written follow up to the participants of your meeting. This has many obvious benefits besides proper etiquette.
Know Where Your Camera Is – and Look Into It
It’s tricky to get used to, but can be done with a little habitual training. I have been on a few calls where the other person is talking to me and their camera is off to the side, or not strategically placed near their monitor. To the other person, it looks like your meeting partner is talking to their computer screen – not the other participant. Sure, you can see this person, but there is little eye to eye contact, which can really make a meeting shallow.
Appearance is Important
Oh, the stories we have heard! A messy room, unmade bed in the background, dressing in the same shirt you just mowed the lawn in, uncombed hair, standing in front of a bright window…we’d like to say we have seen it all, but we haven’t. It is important to look proficient across the virtual airwaves with your meeting partner(s). Businesses need to play the part by making sure the same professionalism that is practiced in an office meeting is also practiced for a remote meeting.
Embrace the Private Aspects of your Meeting Partner
For some, embracing relationships beyond just “business” is a positive aspect of all of this. Before the onset of so many virtual meetings, it was rare for you to see or know some of the personal or private aspects of your meeting partners. Virtual meetings allow a deeper glimpse into the life of this person. You get to see their home and home office. Maybe you get a chance to meet their kids, spouse, or dog. A great way to break the ice is to put something of interest (and appropriate) in the background so that people can instantly small talk about your love for fishing, or how you got that golf trophy. Yes, business is business, but we all have private lives as well – many of which are willing to share.