Best Practices and Etiquette Tips for Video Meetings
With the emergence COVID-19 and working remotely, many of our meetings have suddenly turned virtual. Luckily, thanks to software programs like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, it’s easy to have safe, socially distanced meetings. This new era of video conferencing also comes with a new set of guidelines. Here are some best practices and etiquette tips for you and your colleagues when attending video meetings to make it a positive experience for all.
Before the Meeting
- Test your technology
- Check your wifi, camera/video, microphone, and screen sharing before the meeting to make sure you don’t run into any issues. Make sure you know how to use the basic functionality of your software (muting yourself, sharing your screen, etc.) before joining the meeting.
- Dress appropriately
- Take the extra time to put on a professional outfit and brush your hair prior to joining any video meetings. Dressing as if you are going into work can also help you get in the right working mindset.
- Check your background
- It’s important to remember that people joining the meeting aren’t only seeing you, but your surroundings as well. Your video quality will also be much better with good lighting.
- Advise others in your workspace that you will be on a video conference
- We’ve all seen (and chuckled) at those viral videos where someone wanders into view of the camera, unaware that a video meeting is taking place. Avoid those situations by letting others know when you are planning on being on a video conference and where in your space it will be happening.
Hosting a Meeting
- Be prepared
- Prepare your agenda and presentation before starting the call.
- Get there early
- Log in early to ensure to have your screen share (if applicable) already in place before your guests arrive.
- Make time for casual conversation
- Before and after the meeting.
- Introduce yourself and new guests
- If you or any of the participants are new, do a quick introduction before the meeting starts.
Attending a Meeting
- Speak on entry
- When you enter a small meeting (2-10 people) announce yourself when you join and introduce yourself if necessary.
- Be attentive
- Don’t pick up your phone or other distractions during the meeting. Be attentive and present to the speaker. If you’re using a webcam, make sure you stay seated during the meeting, and be aware of your body language. Don’t do anything distracting to other participants like eating or texting.
- Avoid multitasking
- As tempting as it might be to do other work during your video conference, it’s best to avoid working on other tasks or check your email during the meeting. You may miss out on important information if you’re not listening.
- Mute yourself
- When you’re not speaking, mute your microphone. This will help cancel out any background noise that can be distracting to the speaker.
Meetings vs Webinars
Meetings and webinars are similar in functionality but have a few key differences. Meetings are great for collaborative events where all participants can share their screen, share video and audio, and see everyone else who is attending the meeting. Webinars are set up so hosts are the ones controlling the meeting and only designated moderators can stream video and audio for the participants. Attendees of webinars usually have the option to interact with the host via Q&A sessions, chats, and polling questions. The host can also mute and unmute participants.
Although working from home can be hard, you can make it much easier for yourself and your coworkers by following best practices in order to stay productive and professional as you navigate through this new digital work environment.