Online meeting etiquette

Last year was life-changing for all of us, and the number of online meetings has been increasing. Most people are familiar with meeting etiquette rules that take place in person. However, etiquette for online meetings is equally, if not more, important nowadays. That’s why we prepared these tips for you, so that you can be on top of your game.

1. Make sure your devices work

When you are having an online call, you use multiple devices such as your computer, headphones, microphone, etc. Before each meeting, make sure that these devices are fully functional. In case something doesn’t work, this preparation will save you a lot of time and a headache.

2. Stick to a schedule

It is fair to say that online meetings allow to save time, as you do not have to move to different rooms, office buildings or cities. Yet, it is important to optimize the time dedicated to video calls to avoid wasting time or creating delays on the schedule. By using MIPA, for example, it is very easy and quick to gather the most relevant information to prepare for a meeting and set it up on the calendar. That way, you are able to outline the topics for the meeting and ensure that each participant follows more easily the flow of the conversation.

3. Dress appropriately

We understand. If you are in your bedroom, where you usually wear either pyjamas or sweatpants, it feels weird to be dressed-up. However, the dress code does apply both in person and in online meetings. So, if you are having a business meeting, keep it business casual. Perhaps, wear a nice shirt with a blazer and don’t forget that the grooming is equally important. What is great about this is that you can look good only at the top. Nobody knows that you are wearing sweatpants with your shirt (unless you stand up, of course).

4. Be aware of your surroundings & minimize distractions

Make sure to be in a work-friendly area. Chattering and background noise might negatively affect your concentration and create a disturbance for the other people in the online meeting. Also, try not to set aside devices or objects that could distract you from the meeting. Yes, even your phone.

5. Leave the keyboard alone

Typing during an online meeting might communicate that you are working on other tasks not related to the meeting. Other than not looking very professional, typing sounds will resonate during the online meeting and cause disturbance.

6. Mute yourself when you’re not speaking

Even though online meetings are planned every day for a huge variety of purposes, few occur between only two users. When there is no one-to-one communication, and therefore a higher number of participants, it is very important to avoid overlapping voices of different speakers. Turning off microphones when not needed allows to pay respect to the speakers and to improve the overall audio quality of the video call.

7. Be present

Despite their convenience, online meetings lack physical presence. Make sure to turn your camera on when possible and show that you are paying attention to the meeting. It is not enough to connect to the meeting, you need to participate actively. In case you don’t, people might wonder whether you fell asleep.

8. Don’t eat your breakfast/lunch

When working from home, or even at the office sometimes, you might have easy access to the fridge or to a snack pantry. By now, we assume that drinking your morning coffee in front of a laptop has become acceptable, if not a solid routine. However, try to refrain from eating your breakfast or lunch items during an online meeting. It really does not look good to the other people joining the meeting.

9. Stay seated

Proper posture and body language matter during meetings. Even though your camera might not show your entire body and surroundings, make sure to stay composed during the whole meeting as if you were all in the same room.

10. Give everyone a chance to contribute

While when meeting in person you get the chance to do eye contact with your colleagues or potential customers, online meetings bear the risk of having only a small share of participants that actually engage in conversations. Always schedule some extra time for questions or observations from everyone joining. Further, tools like Microsoft Teams allow participants to raise their hand when they want to speak, resulting in more organized meetings with no interruptions and higher participation rate.

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