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On-line meeting etiquette!

Updated: May 19, 2020

On-line meeting etiquette!

Regardless of the on-line meeting tool you’re using, here’s some basic etiquette to be followed for those work calls… this is a list I’ve been meaning to share for a few weeks now, from experience!

1. Make yourself presentable

If you’re doing a work video call from home, it’s still work, so remember that the hoody you’ve been wearing all weekend is probably going to look pretty scruffy! Brush your hair, wash, iron your collars, look in the mirror before you begin the call and make sure that you are presentable!

2. Get your head in the best position

In case you haven’t worked this out, looking down on someone is never a good thing to do, so you need to angle your computer so that the camera is either at eye-level or higher, this can be done simply by putting your computer on a couple of books. It will also ensure that you will be less likely to have a double-chin for colleagues to stare at.

3. Light

Where light falls on your face will make a big difference to how you appear on camera. Make sure that where possible, any windows are in front of you, so that the light falls on your face. Light from the side or behind will wash out your face making you look like a pale silhouette. Bad lighting will also make you look tired! If you’ve no windows in the room you're using, you could put a lamp behind the laptop to shine on your face.

4. Backgrounds

What you have behind you will be distracting to other meeting attendees, so you should tidy up anything behind you, no clutter, no duvets, no piles of clothing (washed or unwashed!) Try to have a clear wall or just a few pictures that are not too distracting. If this is not possible, then you should use one of the backgrounds available on many video meeting tools.

5. Mute button

If you’re leading the meeting it’s a very good idea to allow participants to come in with their microphone on to say the initial and obligatory hello's and then advise to mute themselves during the meeting unless they are speaking. This is really important as background noise from the rest of a household will be distracting, as will sniffing, tapping, notifications from devices and so on! And if people don’t mute themselves, mute for them!

6. Turn off notifications

Don’t forget to turn off notification sounds on your computer and phone/other devices when on a call. Like other noises, they are distracting and can give the impression that you are either texting your mates or looking at other stuff when you should be focused on the call. You can still do this, but switching the sounds off will allow you to be more discreet.

7. Camera on or off?

For me, if everyone else has their camera on, you switch your camera on. However if like me there’s a chance other members of your household could barge in to the space you’re taking your on-line meeting, then I often turn off my camera some of the time, especially if the meeting is a large one and I’m mostly listening. Though I always turn my camera on when speaking and for smaller meetings, camera is on.

8. Headphones

I find headphones to be invaluable as it means the rest of my house don’t need to hear the hour-long meeting I’m having and also it focuses me. More importantly though a good headset will eliminate outside noise and distraction, have good sound and microphone, better than your computer.

9. Share your screen

If you’re presenting then sharing your screen is really important, but a word of advice, take time to understand how to use this function. If using PowerPoint, then use the presentation mode so that the screen is filled with the key information and not the rest of your screen where everyone can see all the other applications you have open. Then when finished presenting, stop sharing your screen so that what participants see is your face and each other and not you beginning to surf the internet again and check your emails.

10. Etiquette of eating and drinking

Quite simply, follow the same etiquette as you would for face to face meetings. For me this is, have a drink of water at hand, a coffee also fine. But no food. Simple.

Next blog – What are virtual events? (And the answer is not just webinars!)

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