Virtual Meeting Etiquette – 8 Practical Guidelines

Good etiquette is just a manner of showing respect for others.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year, many businesses have allowed their employees to work remotely to keep everyone healthy and safe. This subsequently caused a change in working habits. A recent Forbes study found that approximately 74% of employees said they expect work from home to become the “new normal”. Additionally, most employees who work from the office again, wish to do so on a part-time basis.

With the shift to remote work still being prevalent for many, team meetings will likely remain virtual to accommodate all types of working arrangements (in office, fully remote, etc.). Thus, it’s more important now than ever for businesses to have clear virtual meeting rules and guidelines. That’s why we’ve outlined 8 practical guidelines for virtual meeting organizers and attendees, not only for great etiquette, but to also avoid potential frustrations.

Before hosting a virtual meeting / event:

  1. Make use of an online platform that is available to all attendees. Platforms like Microsoft Teams allow participants to attend virtual meetings through its platform even if they don’t have this software.
  2. Make sure that all attendees have internet access.
  3. Send virtual meeting invites as early as possible, allowing ample time for participants to RSVP and avail themselves. At least one week prior is a good guideline.
  4. Be clear on the purpose of the virtual meeting and share agenda / important documents (if possible and applicable). One to two weeks is a good guideline.
  5. Provide clarity on the attendees’ roles in the virtual meeting. For example, will they need to prepare or gather information for it?
  6. Advise if the attendees would be required to have their video switched on during the virtual meeting. Preferably, at least a day beforehand in order to prepare their environments accordingly.
  7. Advise if the attendees will be muted or required to participate.
  8. Make sure that all attendees are present before starting the virtual meeting.

Before attending a virtual meeting / event:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the online platform that will be used.
  2. Make sure you have sufficient internet connection / data for this virtual meeting.
  3. RSVP as soon as possible.
  4. Make sure that you understand the purpose of the virtual meeting.
  5. Make sure that you understand your role in the virtual meeting and prepare accordingly.
  6. If the organizer did not inform you, ask if you will be required to have your video switched on during the virtual meeting. If yes, make sure that you and your background look presentable. Blur your background if necessary.
  7. If your mic will be unmuted: Try to attend from a quiet location. All noises are amplified during virtual meetings and can distract other participants. Also introduce yourself before speaking (if the other attendees are not familiar with you).
  8. Join the virtual meeting “room” a few minutes ahead of time to not cause a delay.

Some of these guidelines might seem obvious but can easily fall by the wayside.

Golden rule: the same level of professionalism and respect expected during an in-person meeting, still apply to virtual meetings.

Happy meeting!

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