Regardless of why you’re working from home, there may come a time where you have to attend a meeting. It’s often easier if the work-at-home people just stay where they are and have a virtual meeting. This is where you use your computer to converse with others via video.
Most people know what to do, but virtual meeting etiquette is important to follow. Virtual meetings are cost-effective and easy to set up, so it keeps multiple offices and remote employees engaged with daily business needs.
There are a few faux pas that you need to avoid, so these tips for virtual meetings are sure to help you:
1. Set It Up Right
Learning how to set up a virtual meeting isn’t hard, but it is something to consider. The people on the screen can see whatever is behind you, but they can also see your face and upper body. You may want to move the laptop from its normal position for any meetings. Make sure the background is plain; if it’s too busy, it’s going to be distracting. Depending on your setup, you may want to invest in a monitor arm. That way, you can swing your chair and monitor to a less noisy background without having to move everything around.
Also, the proper etiquette for online meetings is to look presentable. Comb your hair and style it, wear an appropriate shirt, and clean your teeth. Though you don’t have to wear slacks, it’s always a good idea to wear something. You never know when you might forget you’re on the screen and stand up, and you don’t want to show anything embarrassing.
2. Stay Away from the Keyboard
There are no set rules for virtual meetings, but the one thing people do that’s annoying is use the keyboard. You may be taking notes, but the clacking from the keyboard is distracting. Instead, use a pen and paper to take notes or use meeting transcription software. You can find inexpensive and free ones online that give you a full list of everything that was said without the annoyance of the clacking keys.
3. Mute the Microphone
Virtual meeting etiquette is similar to that in the office. When you’re in a meeting, only one person should be talking. You don’t breathe heavily or get in anyone’s face in person. Online, you don’t have to worry as much about that, but some microphones are sensitive. They can pick up on your breathing and produce an echo noise. This can be quite distracting and annoying. Plus, you may find that the other household members are noisy, too. Just mute the microphone when you’re not talking so that there are fewer distractions and frustrations.
4. The Right Equipment
The etiquette for online meetings often signals that you should be in one position throughout the session. If you’ve got a office desk, it’s easy to stand up and discuss things with coworkers. Though you should have an office chair, it’s easy for you to lean back or try to reposition the chair to be more comfortable. This is distracting. Learning how to setup a virtual meeting for your home office makes it that much easier to get through the session and go back to work.
You should also invest in a good monitor arm. There are many options out there, so it can help to learn how to pick one. These tips for virtual meetings are sure to help you avoid problems and look like you know what you’re doing.
5. Sit Up Straight
Whether you’re standing or sitting, having the right posture is essential. Your coworkers and boss don’t need to see you slumped over the computer trying to reposition it to be found on the screen. Therefore, you should focus on your posture and then move the laptop so that it’s in the right position. Not only is this going to help you for the meeting, but it is also going to benefit you while you’re working.
6. Speak Clearly and Loudly
You don’t want to yell, but you don’t want to mumble or sound garbled. Check your microphone before the meeting. Virtual meeting etiquette says that you should announce yourself when you enter small meetings of two to five people. That way, you don’t get the awkward silence after the ‘someone just joined’ sound. However, etiquette for online meetings also states that you shouldn’t interrupt people in mid-sentence. If you sign on and someone is talking, wait until they’re finished to say hello.
7. No Eating
The rules for virtual meetings are like normal ones. While some in-office meetings offer donuts and coffee, abstain from eating in your virtual meeting. You’re there to discuss business, and eating chips or anything can be unsightly and distracting. Make sure you eat before the meeting if necessary.
8. Stay Seated and Be Present
Whether it’s a job interview or a business meeting with the colleagues, you want to stay in your seat for the duration. There’s no reason to get up and show your behind to the group. Make sure you use the restroom and have a glass of water available so that you don’t have to leave.
Virtual meeting etiquette also says that you should be present throughout the meeting. It’s tempting to check email or have a side conversation during dull moments, but don’t! You could miss important information or miss your chance to give input about something. Since you’re likely using your webcam, practice attentive body language. Keep your eyes on the screen, don’t make excessive movements, and sit up straight.
Learning how to setup a virtual meeting is more than putting your computer in a quiet place. In fact, you can use monitor arms to move the screen to an inconspicuous spot. That way, you can move yourself and the screen instead of the entire computer or workstation.
These tips for virtual meetings are the keys to success. You don’t want to be rude to others while you’re in the meeting, and there are countless ways to do that without realizing it. Follow these tips, and you can exit the meeting without embarrassing yourself or being rude.
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