Virtual meetings bring the whole world together. They’re no longer viewed as a lesser alternative to in-person meetings. In fact, the global value of the virtual meeting software market is projected to grow from $7.62 billion in 2019 to an astounding $57.23 billion by 2027.
Today’s professionals need to understand how they are expected to conduct themselves when taking part in these meetings. We’ve compiled a list of important dos and don’ts of virtual meeting etiquette for hosts and participants, along with useful tips for engaging with clients and coworkers.
Why Is Virtual Meeting Etiquette Important?
Virtual meeting platforms are an indispensable tool used to connect seamlessly with clients, present live webinars, and host virtual events.
Businesses rely on virtual meetings to connect internal teams with clients and an ever-growing remote workforce. They have become so integral to daily business, everyone needs to know the proper etiquette to participate.
When you practice the desired virtual meeting etiquette, it:
- Projects your professionalism to others
- Displays your respect for clients and coworkers
- Helps make efficient use of time
- Builds trust and rapport
We’ve put together the following 10 virtual meeting dos and don’ts so you’ll represent your best self among colleagues and clients alike.
10 Dos and Don’ts of Virtual Meetings
Let’s begin with five positive things you should do regarding virtual meetings you attend.
1. Test Your Equipment Ahead of Time
Sometimes even a small technical glitch can throw off your concentration on an important call. The best remedy for potential hiccups is to simply be prepared.
Before it’s time for your virtual meeting to start, make sure to test your:
- Internet connection. Make sure you are online, and your internet is working properly.
- Audio playback. Can you hear the sound coming out of your speakers or headphones?
- Microphone. Others need to hear your contributions.
- Camera. Having your camera on makes it easier to connect.
These quick diagnostics may seem routine, but they help you rule out more complicated problems.
For example, your audio may be working fine, but it’s on mute, or your camera may be operating, but you forgot you changed your background or other settings. Running a quick system check prevents the unexpected.
2. Start with a Greeting and Share the Meeting’s Agenda
When you’re hosting a virtual meeting, you want to acknowledge the people who are present. In the first few minutes, warmly thank everyone for coming and cordially ease into the topic of discussion.
If others will be speaking, you should introduce them. Depending on the meeting’s length and itinerary, you can ask each person to tell a little about themselves or what they will be talking about, or you can offer a more general introduction of each speaker.
3. Remember to Mute
Mute your microphone when you aren’t the one speaking. Background or ambient sounds can become distracting. If you are hosting a meeting, you can mute everyone present and only unmute the people presenting to the group. You can also call on others who have questions and unmute them, or unmute everyone for questions.
4. Dress for the Occasion
Ensure that you know what the dress code is for the meeting and plan accordingly. Whether your company expects formal business attire or has a more casual dress code, the last thing you want is to dress too informally for the meeting. This is especially important if you’re on a client call since some companies may be more casual when having an internal virtual chat with coworkers.
5. Wrap Things Up
How you end your meeting can vary, but there are a few courtesies that attendees appreciate:
- Thank everyone for joining when signing off.
- Summarize essential takeaways.
- Thank your guest speakers, and if applicable, share their contact information.
- Follow the meeting with an email summary with links to documents mentioned.
As the host, make sure everyone has left the meeting before closing it out.
Avoid the following five virtual meeting etiquette don’ts.
1. Don’t Be Late
Tardiness is generally frowned upon for any company event, but latecomers stick out like a sore thumb when it comes to virtual meeting etiquette. Reliability builds trust, so if you know you will run behind, notify someone ahead of time. And, if you are late due to an unavoidable issue, do your best to let somebody know.
2. Don’t Eat During a Virtual Meeting
Unless you know you are joining a casual lunchtime conference where others may be snacking, eating is a virtual meeting “no-no.” It is generally accepted to drink during a virtual meeting as long as your sound is on mute.
3. Don’t Take Notes
Tapping away on a keyboard or having your head buried in your notebook can distract others, even if your sound is muted. It’s always best to record a meeting so you can review details later.
4. Don’t Forget to Take a Break
If your virtual meeting is longer than a typical timeframe—usually 30 minutes to an hour—allow for a 3–5 minute break at the halfway point. Be clear about when everyone should return, and be prompt when continuing forward.
5. Don’t Just Disappear
Turning your camera off or leaving unannounced is considered bad virtual meeting etiquette. It can disrupt the rhythm of an ongoing presentation or generally come across as rude. You can leave a note in the meeting’s chat if you have to step away, or let people know before the meeting if you know you’ll have to leave early. If a situation develops where you need to stop sharing your screen, it’s always thoughtful to let people know the reason after you’ve returned.
How to Engage with Clients and Coworkers During a Virtual Meeting
Armed with the above dos and don’ts, you’ll find your participation and communication in virtual meetings have a positive impact. It’s important that you can carry that code of conduct into every kind of virtual interaction. One of the ways to make the best use of a virtual meeting platform is using breakout rooms.
This feature is valuable for teaching, training, and more collaborative participant communication, allowing attendees to group into smaller video conferencing sessions.
If you are hosting one of these breakout rooms, it’s crucial to maintain the same level of control over the room as you would when hosting the larger meeting. But, it is just as important to allow participants to communicate, collaborate, and interact, offering assistance as needed. Breakout room etiquette should be defined by inclusiveness, mutual respect, and giving everyone room to express themselves.
Present Your Best Self with a Little Help from Vivo
Quality sound and video go a long way to leave a positive, lasting impression. If your team needs guidance for the best unified communication and collaboration setup, including installation support and training, get in touch with one of our experts at Vivo today!