Video conferencing is the new normal, but as with toilet paper in the grocery store at the start of Lockdown, online meeting etiquette has been in short supply these days!

From the late arrivals, to those awkward silences, talking over each other and disturbing background noises, all this “modern- collaboration” is enough to make you never want to attend another online meeting.

But it has many perks too, and is making the business of doing business more efficient, more effective and more economical – moneywise, time wise and energy wise.

We have compiled a few useful tips for ensuring your online meetings run smoothly and without embarrassing and disruptive disturbances.

The do’s and don’ts of online meetings

  1. Setting up for success

Make sure that the camera has a clear, unobstructed view of you and has good lighting and is not looking up your nose or cutting off a part of your head. Pay attention to what the rest of those in the meeting can see behind you; a bookshelf is a great example, but titles such as “How to kill your boss”, are a no no. Test your camera before going online.

  1. Entering the call

Enter the call with your audio and video off, and don’t announce your arrival to the team, this is disruptive to the conversation currently in progress. Join 10 minutes early so maintain a punctual, professional appearance – this will allow you time to prepare to introduce yourself when the host asks. Once your whole team has arrived you can switch your video on. Good etiquette is having your microphone on mute and only turning it on when you speak.

  1. The call

Whether you are the host or an attendee, be prepared! Have the relevant notes and stay focused; we know it’s tempting to check your emails or look down at your phone, but don’t…please. If you need to speak, signal by raising your hand and not interrupting. Try to look directly at the camera lens while talking instead of the other attendees or yourself, other people can see your eyes moving around.

  1. Audio etiquette

Mute your side of the call if you’re not speaking as your microphone picks up even the slightest background noises. Muting allows others on the call to easily hear who’s speaking. Unmute to answer a question or to comment.

  1. Video etiquette

If you need to get up, move around or do something else during the call (or if your toddler decides to make an appearance) it’s a good idea to switch off your video to avoid causing any distractions. They talk about ‘reading the room’, but now we need to also learn to ‘read the Zoom’.

  1. Screen sharing

We know watching the occasional YouTube tutorial during work happens… but if are going to need to share your screen during a video call, take a few minutes beforehand to “prepare” your desktop before you hit that share button. Clear your desktop of any extra tabs or programs you may have open and make sure any private or sensitive information is hidden.

  1. Vital management

If you have called the meeting, it is a good idea to send a few pointers ahead of the meeting. Politely put, these can go a long way in assisting those who have never attended an online meeting. Points such as please be early to learn to navigate your way around, enter with microphone and video off and points taken from our list here are a good place to start.

  1. Stable internet

A vital part of a successful online meeting is of course, stable and reliable internet. This is not always guaranteed; so, we suggest that if your internet has history of dipping and dropping that you make use of our Worq Desqs or meeting rooms for your next online meeting. Contact Deron on admin@worq.co.za to find out how we can make sure your next online meeting runs according to plan.

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