VIRTUAL MEETING ETIQUETTE POINTERS
VIRTUAL MEETING ETIQUETTE POINTERS
Some good points and reminders written by Koos Louw – K-Lo for your future Zoominars/webinars/online meetings. Dressing up, etiquette, manners and all those things we may need to be aware of in this online time. Professionalism during virtual meetings is a vital tool to position and enhance your professional personal brand and establish credibility and trust with your audience.
HERE ARE SOME GOOD SKILLS TO LEARN TO HOST OR ATTEND A VIRTUAL MEETING LIKE A TRUE PRO:
Agenda Sequence of Topics
- Draft a meeting agenda and send out supporting documentation.
- Hosts should re-confirm the meeting with all participants 8 to 12 hours before the meeting.
- Even if you’re dressed casual make sure you always look professional and client-ready, regardless if it is a virtual meeting or not.
- Why? Because, you don’t want to be perceived as unprofessional or sloppy. And if the recording of your session is forwarded to the CEO of the company you have an image to uphold!
Plan Conclusion & Wrap-up
- Prior to the meeting hosts should plan a conclusion to the meeting.
Check your Set-Up
- Ensure you are set-up in a quiet, professional-looking space that does not steal attention away from you.
- Regardless of where you are based at the time of the meeting, it is inappropriate to have a leisurely-looking background like the swimming pool, beach or bar visible in the background.
- Clean-up your workspace that will be visible to other participants. Use a notepad with a professional looking pen to take notes.
- Make sure there are no “outside sounds” such as dogs barking in the background, the sound of lawn-movers going, people laughing or family members and staff walking past you in the background.
- Use earphones or a headset. Test the sound beforehand. This will help you to avoid interrupting / talking over other participants due to the fact that you may not have heard that they are talking.
- Locate the webcam on your PC. Raise your PC to eye level to ensure you are looking all participants in the eye by focusing your eye contact on the webcam.
- Do not talk down into the camera of your PC – it is not flattering nor a professional angle to look down into the camera.
- Therefore, it is advisable to place your PC with webcam 65 to 80 cm away from you, to give you the best view of all participants and the webcam.
Lights, Camera, Action
- Ensure the lighting is from above or from the sides in order for all participants to see you clearly. Avoid being seen as a silhouette or shining light into the camera, thus into the eyes of the other participants.
- If possible, use a wired connection as opposed to Wi-Fi, to ensure you stay connected with all participants.
- Ideally, hosts should have a backup PC connected and ready to use, should some technical error or connectivity loss occur during the meeting.
- Do not mute your camera if everyone else is visible through their respective webcams.
- Meetings should be started with a greeting gesture and a goodbye gesture. Greet your fellow participants the way you would greet clients during a meeting.
- Use the “Hand-on-Heart Gesture”: the palm of your right hand placed over your heart is the correct virtual form of greeting – and in person during the COVID lockdown period.
- As a goodbye, the hand-on-heart greeting may be replaced with a simple, small wave with your right-hand palm towards the webcam and not in front of your face.
Forms of Address
- In order to let other participants know who is being addressed, use people’s names.
- If need be, introduce yourself [always with a name and surname during introductions] before making a statement – since you may not have met all participants.
- Avoid sidebar conversations. And no multitasking i.e. reading or responding to emails and social media.
- In fact, mobile phones should be switched to silent. Should your phone vibrate with an incoming call or text message, don’t let other participants know you are giving your mobile priority above the meeting or them.
- You have been invited to the meeting for a reason. Therefore it is professional to participate in the discussion if it is appropriate to the topic being discussed.
- Use your body language to let other participants know you are engaged and following the discussion. Avoid being perceived as unengaged or disinterested.
- Remember to mute your microphone if you are not talking, since the slightest sound may interrupt other participants.
Avoid a “French Exit”
- Never make a “French Exit” from a virtual meeting i.e. sneaking out of the meeting without informing the host and other participants.
- Ensure you are perceived as being present and engaged by keeping your eyes focused on the webcam, with a very brief glance every now and again to the people on your screen.
- More often than not, virtual meeting participants tend to look directly at people on their PC screens instead of looking into the webcam. This may give the impression that you are focusing on something else outside the meeting at hand.
Food & Beverages During a Virtual Meeting
- It is not professional behaviour to eat, drink or smoke [even a vape] during a virtual meeting.
- If other participants are having coffee or water, you can follow suit. Should you have water, never drink from the bottle – simply because it looks unprofessional on camera. Use a glass instead.
LOOK THE PART
First Impressions Count
- Put yourself together the way you would dress for a client meeting. Working remotely from home does not mean that all professionalism should be ignored.
- Boost your self-confidence and professionalism by going the “full monty” for virtual meetings; as if you are having a client meeting.
- The way you see and perceive yourself is the way other participants will see you and perceive you.
- Your dress code includes shoes, hair, make-up, facial hair, glasses and perfume! Even if the camera cannot see your feet or smell your perfume – you will exude a presence to other participants. Guaranteed!
- If you are unsure about the dress code, always dress one level up – since it is easier to remove a piece of clothing, as opposed to having to add something that you don’t have. One can never be overdressed – but easily under-dressed.
- Practice a professional, straight posture in front of your webcam and record yourself.
- This will give you a bird’s eye view of how other participants will view you – and perceive you. Always remain seated during the meeting.
- Do not move away from your PC, as this will instantly give an impression that you have lost interest in the meeting.