Web meetings, and especially video calls, are an excellent substitute for in-person meetings. When distance or quarantine keep you apart, hopping on a video call feels like the next best thing. What’s different is that it feels much more casual and therefore, the rules of the road may feel a bit unclear. No one was ever taught web meeting etiquette.
To help you get the most out of your web meetings while feeling confident and comfortable, we have five important web meeting etiquette tips to share.
1. Treat it like an in-person meeting (sort of)
There are differences between in-person and web meeting, obviously. If there weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this article. With all the many differences, there are some things that should remain the same.
In preparing for a web meeting, you can keep many elements the same. You’ll want to define and communicate roles and the agenda. In following-up after the meeting, you’ll want to share notes or even a recording if you have one.
You should also act as through you are in the room with the other individuals. Refrain from things like checking your email or multitasking. Don’t turn off your video and leave the room, even if it’s just for a second, unless there is a real emergency. Don’t eat your lunch.
2. Use video when possible
Turning your video on adds a ton of value to your web meetings. You can show that you’re an active listener, you can gauge reactions of others, as if you were in person. You can avoid other distractions. Using video creates such a better connection in the meeting and we recommend using it whenever possible.
3. Dress for the occasion
If you’re using video on your web meetings, be sure you’re dressed for the occasion. With your team, you may feel comfortable in a casual t-shirt, especially if your office dress code is a little more relaxed. However, in a sales call, you may want to take it up a notch. Web meetings can certainly be more casual than an in-person meeting when it comes to your attire, but be willing to scale for appropriateness.
4. Be aware of noise
One common faux pas in web meetings is an unawareness of noise. For starters, if you’re not speaking, you should always mute. You never know when the mailman is going to come to the door and set your dogs into a frenzy or your kids are going to drop something and cause a big crash.
When you’re actively engaged in the conversation and you cannot mute, be aware that your built-in microphone can amplify certain sounds, such as your keyboard. Other background sounds may also be amplified. Your chair rolling across the hardwood can be more distracting than you might think, crumbling a piece of paper, or taking a drink of water. All of these sounds can come across rather loud in web meetings.
5. Don’t interrupt
One of the best parts about video calls is that the communication can feel much more like in-person communication. You are able to get a good back-and-forth flowing in many meetings. However, with lags and internet connections that can sometimes break up, be careful about interruptions. Talking over people in web meetings makes it hard to get to the point.
If you’re on video, you can physically raise your hand to signal that you want to add something. Some platforms have a raise your hand button that you can press to notify everyone that you’d like to speak. You can also use chat to mention that you’d like to add something. If your thought is going to be especially long, ask before sharing to ensure the meeting doesn’t get off-topic.
Being courteous and professional in your online meetings is the best practice. A little more patience will also go a long way. Especially during these trying times, use grace with your web meeting communication. Everyone is in a unique situation and therefore, we must all make some concessions where necessary.
Need more resources?
Want to learn more about web meeting etiquette? Check out our recorded webinar.
Want to learn more about the basics of web meetings? We have a recorded webinar on that too.
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