Updated Aug 1st, 2022 by Nicolas Zenker
We’re all used to virtual meetings by now, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily have a perfect grasp on Zoom etiquette. In general, the ground rules for Zoom meetings are nearly identical to the ground rules for real-world meetings, but there are a few key differences it’s helpful to be aware of. That’s why we’ve brought together this list of embarrassing online meeting faux pas and some tips to make sure you can avoid them.
For starters, you may think you’re being silent, but your mic could be picking up ambient noise in your apartment or home and broadcasting it to your coworkers. Plus, if you forget you’re unmuted and make a sudden sound, it can be seriously disruptive. Finally, it’s a sign of respect to your coworkers to mute yourself when not speaking, giving them plenty of space to air their thoughts and ideas.
The same goes for your overall appearance. If you have a 9 a.m. virtual meeting, it’s not a great idea to roll out of bed and right into your call. Sure, we’ve all done it before, but we shouldn’t make a habit of it! Make sure to brush your hair and smooth out any other aspects of your appearance, just as you would if you were heading into the office.
That’s why it’s a good idea to practice signaling attention when you’re in a virtual meeting. Maintaining a clear, upright posture, looking directly into the camera, and avoiding any large, unnecessary movements are all great strategies for showing that you’re in the zone.
In all likelihood, you forgot to send an invite. Of course, you can always set yourself a reminder to send out an invite once you’ve chosen a time for your meeting. But the easiest way to avoid this common faux pas is to take advantage of a calendar management service like AddEvent. The right calendar management tool makes it easy to send an email with a simple add-to-calendar button that works with Google Calendar, Outlook, and more.
Double-check your display name and photo in your profile settings and change them if need be. Ideally, your display name should be your first and last name. Though just your first name is fine if your office likes to keep things casual. For your photograph, use something professional. Instead of a simple selfie, find or take a professional photograph of yourself that’s well-lit and shows your head and shoulders. A simple, neutral background is best.
There are a few things you can do ahead of time to make sure this doesn’t happen. Most video conference tools that have a time limit will also offer a subscription service that enables you to host longer meetings. Alternatively, you can research what your meeting time limit will be, and make sure your meeting won’t run overtime. This can also be helpful in keeping the meeting focused and productive.
Leaving your camera off automatically signals that you’re not paying complete attention to the meeting — even if you are! It’s a general sign of respect to others in the meeting to turn your camera on. Leaving your camera off is tough on the meeting’s speakers as well because talking to a bunch of blank squares can make it much more challenging to deliver an engaging presentation.
Good meeting etiquette means being careful not to talk over people or cut them off. That can be difficult over video, especially if different people have varying internet connection speeds. Raising your hand will let everyone know that you intend to speak soon and will help them give you space to air your ideas and thoughts.
Cutting someone off in a virtual meeting is always going to be a little awkward. If your team knows you’re supposed to be using the “raise hand” feature, it can turn into a serious faux pas.
These are just 10 of the best reminders we can give you to master virtual meetings and not fall into an embarrassing situation. Stay present in the moment and always be professional.
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