We are about to wrap up our second year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and most of us can proudly say that we were able to transition into the virtual realm with relative ease. Zoom and other video conferencing platforms have been our best friends in hosting and attending regular meetings and conferences, as well as personal events such as birthday celebrations, bridal showers, even memorial services.
Despite the migration to online platforms and remote communication, courtesy should remain everyone’s business in virtual meetings. Here are a few ground rules for virtual meetings.
Virtual Meeting Etiquette
Working remotely has given us the freedom to dress however we want at work. However, when it’s time to face your team, make the effort to throw on a clean and presentable ensemble, and brush your hair. Not only does this make you look good, it also makes you feel good and puts you in the right headspace for productivity.
Declutter your background
It is best to set up your home workstation in front of a window, or anywhere you’ll get a lot of light. Keep in mind, though, that your background must be clean and not distracting. This means no dirty clothes, or open closets in the background. It is also a general rule of thumb not to show your bed, whether made or unmade.
Avoid eating during the meeting
If you are hosting or attending an early morning meeting, make sure to grab a bite before checking in. And if you really have to eat (say, you are jumping from one meeting to another with no breaks), turn off your video while you finish your snack quickly. It is okay to sip coffee or drink beverages, just make sure not to make slurping sounds.
Show yourself, especially when talking
It is a courteous thing to do to turn on your camera and introduce yourself properly, especially during first-time meetings. You can excuse yourself to turn off your camera once in a while, but not when you are talking.
Mute when not talking
It is important conference call etiquette to mute your microphone when you are not talking. Most of us live with our families and pets, so it is inevitable to have background noise all the time. Lessen the distractions during the meeting by turning off your mic when you are not talking. It is also best to give your family members a heads-up before the meeting starts, so they can tone it down for an hour or so.
Sit still and pay attention
Out of respect for the attendees, keep your focus and attention on the meeting. It may be tempting to do something else, especially if the meeting is running too long, but it will be distracting for everyone else if you keep checking your phone or getting up. Keep in mind the following attentive body language: sitting up straight, not letting your eyes wander too much, and not making big movements.
Even when we are not in the same physical space, respect, kindness, and sensitivity to others must be our primary ground rules during virtual meetings.
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