Online Meeting Etiquette & Tips

Online Meeting Etiquette & Tips

April 15, 2020

Thanks to COVID-19, many employees are engaged in virtual meetings for the first time; Others may find themselves using them more frequently. Here are tips for making online meetings successful:


Before the meeting

  • Download whatever software or app you will need for the call well ahead of the meeting time. IT may need to be involved.
  • Make a test call well ahead of time to ensure your system is working properly
  • Find a quiet place with a minimal distracting noise
  • Find a place with minimal background clutter that is distracting visually
  • Set up your computer where you do not have a bright light behind you as the camera will make adjustments to the brightest light and you end up as a silhouette. You don't want to look like you are in the witness protection program.
  • If you have pets, isolate them to another area
  • Quench your thirst and eat a snack if needed
  • Visit the restroom
  • Dress appropriately and professionally - no towels, robes, etc.
  • Put your cell phone in silent mode.

Join the meeting 5 minutes early

  • This allows you to work through any technical issues with getting connected so that the meeting can start on time
  • Usually, you get a preview of your camera shot before you connect to the meeting.  Use that time to adjust your camera position and lighting so that your face is easily seen, centered in the camera, and in balanced light to avoid excessive shadows or glare.

If you are leading the meeting

  • Disable Notifications on your Windows 10 PC
  • Consider using a headset with microphone so that your voice is well amplified to participants
  • Speak clearly and with a strong voice to be picked up well by the microphone on your laptop or tablet  
  • You may want to do a test with a collaborator to determine an optimal distance for you to be both seen and heard well using the technology. 

If you are not leading the meeting

  • Mute your microphone or phone until you are speaking
  • If you come into the meeting after it has started, do not announce your name unless the meeting leader asks who just joined the call
  • Wait until there is a gap or pause in a conversation before you speak. If you talk over someone, no one will be able to hear anyone.

During the meeting, avoid these behaviors that are distracting to other participants

  • Typing on the keyboard (unless using a headset with microphone)
  • Eating and drinking
  • Standing up and moving around the room 
  • Speaking to other people in the room
  • Since we are talking about professional meetings, do not change your background to "something fun" such as a picture of a beach, a still from your favorite movie, or your pet.