If you’ve received embarrassing Whats App forwards with work colleagues doing things that can safely be labelled as ‘embarrassing,’ welcome to the club.
While these unfortunate instances may momentarily seem funny, from a professional standpoint, they are down-right unprofessional and unpleasant for all sides involved. Granted, most organizations and employees have never had to work-from-home for such prolonged periods, and hence, adhering to this ‘new normal’ might seem like a difficult and unfamiliar affair.
So to keep the meetings immensely productive and strictly professional, follow these nine virtual meeting rules and tips listed below.
9 Video Meeting Etiquette Tips to Keep in Mind
A. Best-Practices for the Meeting Organizer
1. Introduction & Announcements:
This might sound like common sense, but if you’re conducting ten meetings a day, it can become difficult to maintain a certain flow. Whatever be the case, always start the meeting by introducing yourself and stating the agenda; and conclude the meeting by thanking everyone for their time.
You could also include the agenda in the meeting invite so that everyone is better prepared. It helps to get everyone into the right frame of mind, in addition to clearly setting the meeting expectations and goals. Additionally, once the meeting is over, send across a quick M-O-M highlighting the action steps agreed upon so that everyone is on the same page and know what the next steps ought to be.
You can also send the link of the conference recording so that any afterthoughts from the participant’s end can be addressed then and there.
2. Test your Internet Connectivity:
This point is applicable for both the participants as well as the employees. Testing your Internet, speakerphone, microphone, and the headset can save you from a lot of grief later on when you suddenly disappear, or the screen comes to a screeching, awkward halt. No one likes tardiness to this extent, and late-comers are a no-no – whether in office or on the screen.
3. Send Detailed Video Invites & Protect Sensitive Information:
It goes without saying that your meeting invite should have all the necessary details for the participants to seamlessly join the call. From the meeting password (which is a must-have for added security) to the time zone differences, all factors should be clearly accounted for. If using the screen-sharing feature,
make sure to close all unnecessary tabs from your browser/apps before sharing your screen.
4. Question the Need for a Video Call & the Participants:
Sometimes, after all that set up to do a video call, the meeting ends in two minutes. Nod if you’ve been there. Simply, ask yourself if you truly need a video call to address the topic/issue at hand. If not, emails and Slack channels work just fine.
Plus, it also helps to see if all the participants you’ve invited actually need to be there for the meeting. After all, video meetings are time-consuming and unhelpful for those who are not required to be on a video call.
B. Best Practices for the Meeting Participant
5. Dress Formal & Maintain a Professional Posture:
First things first, always and I repeat, always dress appropriately for your virtual meetings. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the productivity genes set in and how quickly you dive into the “work mode” once you’re in your work attire.
It’s almost as if clothes have memories as well! While the idea of sitting in your jammies/boxers/shorts might seem tempting, but one (unintentional) push in the laptop’s alignment is all it takes to leave you exposed and red-faced with embarrassment (pun intended).
6. Pick the Right Spot:
Everyone wants to feel comfortable while working from home. And the idea of conducting a meeting while plopped on your bed might even work if we were living in an ideal world.
But sadly, those pile of dirty clothes, spouses/children running around, the sound of dishes clinking, etc. hardly call for a formal environment. So, when it comes to video meetings, it is best to create a “work spot” that’s noise-free and looks formal.
Sit at your work desk, surround yourself with some lively green plants, and a strong cup of Joe; and you’re good to go! And despite all honest attempts, if you still cannot pick the right spot, go for a virtual app background or blurry backgrounds to spare your work colleagues the mess! (pun intended).
Here’s an ingenious (and hilarious) example of a WFH mom who created a poster to keep her kids from disturbing her:
7. Good Lighting & Neutral Background:
There’s no point of having video meetings if it looks like you’re sitting in a bat cave with dogs sounds in the background. After all, the whole point of having video meetings is for your colleagues to hear you properly and see you clearly.
So, pick a spot where there’s enough sunlight, next to a window or your balcony; and make sure that the background is neutral.
8. Go on Mute:
Circling back to the point of ambient noise, it certainly helps to put yourself on mute if you’re not speaking. That said, you need to be mindfully present with an attentive body language. Make sure you are not seen as ‘disrespectful’ by checking on emails, texting friends, rolling your eyes, or slouching on your chair.
“When people communicate face to face, there’s a whole bunch of information being transferred that isn’t even verbal. The way you hold your body shapes your confidence, your eye contact indicates whether you look careless, creepy, or cool.” – Drake Baer, Fast Company
The following meme, although funny, is a complete no-go:
On a serious note, if you do have questions about the content being presented (which you will have), opt for the chat option for any side questions and ask away!
C. Best-Practice for Embracing Virtual Meetings
9. Choose the Right Tools:
Without a shadow of a doubt, choosing the wrong tools for remote meetings can make or break the game or in this case, your concentration. Imagine trying to understand what the speaker is saying when your screen keeps freezing, or the software keeps restarting.
Simply, you need a one-stop video meeting tool such as Viewup that offers a host of super useful video meeting features such as Conference Room, virtual meetings, screen-sharing, chat, among others:
Much like office meetings, virtual meetings need quite a bit of preparation and preparedness. So make the most of your meetings with these tried-and-tested tips, and give productivity a fighting chance.