Follow these meeting etiquette tips to make your online meetings more productive and enjoyable for all participants.
Prepare for the meeting
Before the meeting:
- Ensure all meeting participants have the meeting invitation link and materials in advance of the meeting. Consider setting up the meeting with no moderator.
- Make sure your presentation is ready to show. Test it before you start the call.
- If your presentation is visually dense or contains video, consider distributing it to participants in advance.
- Be prepared to leverage good meeting practices, such as sending an agenda in advance; having a meeting facilitator, timekeeper, and note-taker; and sending out minutes after the meeting.
In the meeting room:
- If you are the remote site for an online meeting, seek as quiet a space as possible with no or minimal background noise.
- Arrive early to allow time to troubleshoot and resolve any potential issues with equipment.
- Ensure that everyone has their cameras on. This provides a more complete interactive experience for the meeting.
- If you are connecting from a laptop, try to plug into wall power, because battery use can adversely affect video quality.
- Consider setting up a back channel for communication such as email or Skype for Business chat. This allows for communication without interrupting the discussion.
- Close all blinds and doors to cut down on potential glare. Interior lighting should not be too dark or too bright. Normally, the settings used in a traditional work environment are adequate.
- Adjust the camera angle or seating position to ensure you are on camera.
When you begin the meeting:
- Once all attendees are present, take a minute to conduct an audio check. Making a quick round of introductions is an effective way to do this. Introductions break the ice and ensure that everyone can hear each other properly.
- If you plan to record the meeting, notify all participants at the beginning of the meeting.
- Always remember and acknowledge when there are remote participants. Reach out to them periodically to see if they have a question or something to contribute. Having remote participants on video, versus audio only, ensures that you remember they are in the meeting.
- If remotely joining via low-bandwidth or slower internet connection, it may be necessary to disable video in order to improve audio reliability.
During the meeting:
- When not speaking, make sure your audio is muted.
- In the primary conference room, do not shuffle papers or cover the microphones on the table.
- Speak clearly and in a normal voice. There is no need to shout.
- When videoconferencing with many sites, start your comment or question by stating your name. This helps other sites identify who is speaking.
- As with any meeting, limit side conversations and multitasking.
- Leverage online collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams to take notes, share content, and collaborate real-time.
- Tell others if you leave the video conference early.
Minimize body movements
- Avoid quick movements, which make it difficult for cameras and microphones to keep up with you. Quick movements may appear jumpy or choppy to others on the call.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera and stay engaged in the meeting.
- Do not turn your back to the camera.
Work effectively with online meeting technology
- When you ask a question or request information, allow time for slightly delayed responses because the system may experience slight transmission delays.
- Direct your questions to a specific individual.
- When possible, avoid interrupting others as they are speaking. Many online meeting systems have a voice-activated switching feature to automatically move the camera to the active speaker. Interrupting another speaker may confuse the voice activation.
- Establish an understanding among participants of when and how to interrupt. For example, have people raise hands or otherwise signal that they want to speak.
- Consider posting pending questions via chat.
- Make it safe to call out participants on poor meeting etiquette.
A comprehensive hybrid and virtual meeting guide (pdf) provides even more tips for a productive and enjoyable online meeting experience.