Virtual meetings are now a regular part of the business world. A virtual meeting is, of course, quite different from a traditional meeting. Virtual meetings offer certain challenges that even someone who has participated in thousands of in-person meetings may not be initially prepared for. Here are seven essential tips for behaving the right way in virtual meetings.
Check the tech.
Before your virtual meeting even starts, you should open up the relevant program and make sure everything is working as it should. You don’t want to discover that there’s an issue with your microphone or camera just as your meeting is getting started.
Check your surroundings.
Remember, your colleagues are going to be able to see everything your camera displays. Check what will be visible behind you. Arrange as professional a setup as possible. You don’t want an unmade bed or some dirty clothing to provide a distraction. Lighting is important too. Aim for a middle ground between dim shadows and harsh, unpleasant glare. Consider moving to a different room if your current arrangement is suboptimal.
While one of the benefits of working remotely is the option to wear casual clothing, only business attire is appropriate during a virtual meeting. Besides being rude, dressing casually sends the wrong message. It’s hard to take someone who doesn’t act like a professional seriously.
It’s easier to concentrate when you are in the same physical space as the people you are communicating with. In a virtual meeting, you have to be more self-disciplined. Exert your self-control and pay close attention to whoever is currently speaking. As tempting as it may be, don’t check email or do anything else besides listening. Turn off notifications to ensure you aren’t distracted.
Only unmute when you are speaking.
There’s a good chance your surrounding environment is filled with background noise. None of your coworkers wants to be annoyed and distracted by a barking dog, yelling child, a noisy fan, or any other loud sound. Even typing can be too noisy. Plus, microphones can interfere with each other and create unpleasant echoing sounds.
You might think that snacking during a virtual meeting is harmless, but in reality, it is another inappropriate, unprofessional behavior. Eating while you are supposed to be communicating sends the message that you don’t take the meeting or your colleagues seriously. They won’t respect you either. Drinking water is okay but avoid loud sipping or slurping.
In a meeting held in a conference room, body language and subtle facial cues will clue you in if you are speaking for too long. Over a virtual meeting, it’s harder to tell if you are dominating the conversation. Simply remember to make your point quickly, then let others have their turn.
Virtual meetings are now a vital element of how modern businesses operate. Since this aspect of business life has become so important, it’s important to really understand proper virtual meeting etiquette. The sooner you learn the fine details of virtual meeting protocol the better.