Mastering Virtual Meeting Etiquette in the Remote Work Era

Creative young woman attending a virtual meeting

In our technologically advanced era of workplace communication, “Can everyone see my screen?” or “I think you’re muted” have become more common than morning greetings. The shift towards remote work, spurred by the pandemic, has made virtual meetings even more important. With a significant chunk of the professional world swapping their suits for PJs and trading their conference rooms for home setups, understanding, and administering virtual meeting etiquette has never been more relevant.

Virtual meetings, while user-friendly, come with their own distinctive set of challenges – background noise caused by kids, pets, or buzzing appliances; unexpected technical issues leading to participants fumbling with their devices; side conversations that divert attention from the main discussion, to name a few. Without proper awareness of online meeting etiquette, our remote sessions stand to lose efficiency, engagement, and productive collaboration.

Why does virtual meeting etiquette matter so much? An online meeting, like any in-person meeting, is a reflection of your professionalism. With remote work transforming from an emerging trend to the ‘new normal’, virtually interacting with fellow team members, clients, or stakeholders without glitches is an essential skill. Understanding and practicing virtual meeting etiquette assists seamless video calls, enhances communication, and fosters a collaborative work environment regardless of the physical miles that separate us. 

Maintaining meeting etiquette, especially in a virtual setup, can seem difficult at first, considering the different technologies in play and the varying degrees of familiarity people have with them. However, with a little attention to detail and some common courtesy, virtual meetings can prove to be an extremely effective tool for communication. As we further explore virtual meeting etiquette, let’s remember that every virtual call we participate in is an opportunity to present ourselves in the best possible light, to collaborate, and most importantly, to contribute to the business productively.

Deep Dive into Virtual Meeting Etiquette

Virtual meeting etiquette refers to the set of behavioral and technological protocols we need to observe to ensure smooth and respectful online meetings. Whether it’s a remote team-building activity or a critical business discussion, the success of any virtual meeting rests heavily on these ground rules:

1. Be Punctual: Being punctual is an important part of professional courtesy. Always aim to join the virtual meeting a few minutes early to ensure you’re ready when it starts.

2. Dress Appropriately: While the temptation to stay in our comfy clothes is understandable, it is vital to dress as you would for an in-person meeting, establishing a professional tone. It’s even ok if you do professional on top and PJs on the bottom!

3. Check Your Tech: Preempt any technical mishaps by ensuring that your camera, microphone, and internet connection are functioning properly before the meeting.

4. Find a Quiet Space: Minimize background noise by choosing a quiet, distraction-free environment to attend the meeting.

5. Use Video Wisely: Turn on your video to engage more with your fellow attendees. However, consider turning it off if your internet connection is unstable to prevent interruptions.

6. Mute When Not Speaking: Stay muted when you’re not talking. This simple measure can substantially reduce background noise, facilitating better communication.

7. Pay Attention: Virtual meetings require your full attention. Avoid multitasking and stay engaged.

8. Speak Clearly: When you speak, articulate your thoughts clearly and at a moderate pace to ensure everyone can understand you.

9. Respect Turn-Taking: In virtual calls, individuals talking over each other can confuse discussions. Make sure to wait for others to finish speaking before you begin.

10. Use the Chat Feature Judiciously: Although a handy feature, the chat function can lead to distractions if not used wisely. Stick to using it for relevant comments or questions and avoid engaging in side conversations.

Additionally, facial expressions and body language are significant parts of communication, often carrying more weight than verbal communication. During a video call, maintaining eye contact is as important as it is during an in-person meeting. It conveys your attentiveness and respect for the speaker. Adjust your camera to ensure it’s on the same level as your eyes, and try to look into the camera while speaking. Remember, on a virtual call, your camera is your connection to your team members, clients, or stakeholders.  

Adhering to these virtual meeting etiquette guidelines fosters a professional, efficient, and respectful environment, essential for the success of any online interaction.

Key Considerations for Virtual Meeting Etiquette 

Meeting room seating up to 16 people in Buckhead with exposed brick

Now that we’ve discussed the behavioral aspects of virtual meeting etiquette, let’s delve into another equally vital component – technology. The success of any virtual meeting hinges heavily on the meeting facilitator and participants’ ability to handle technology. 

Before we even dive into the meeting agenda, the importance of having a stable internet connection cannot be overstated. An unstable connection can fracture conversations and cause miscommunication. Ensuring a stable, fast internet connection is a primary step towards maintaining virtual meeting etiquette.

Next, video conferencing software and virtual meeting platforms come into play. Everyone involved should be proficient with the software being used, whether Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, or other platforms. Familiarize yourselves with functions like screen sharing, playing videos in real-time, switching between participants’ views, recording the meeting, and others. Technical snags during the meeting can throw off the flow of discussion.

Lastly, it’s crucial to practice etiquette with the use of virtual backgrounds. Not every participant may have access to a professional workspace, and the right virtual background can mask unnecessary details. However, choose this wisely as too flashy or inappropriate backgrounds are a distraction. When in doubt, opt for the ones offered by the software itself or select simple, professional images.

In the realm of virtual meetings, mastering the technology to communicate effectively is as crucial as the content of your communication. As meetings transition from conference rooms to virtual platforms, enhancing our technological skills along with applying proper virtual communication etiquette is imperative.

Best Practices for Conducting Virtual Meetings with Roam

If you’re contemplating holding virtual meetings on a larger scale or even across different locations, Roam’s amenities and services are here to support you.

Many might assume that a coworking space like Roam primarily caters to in-office meetings. But that’s where Roam’s versatility shines through. Not only does it provide state-of-the-art conference rooms for your in-person meeting needs, but can also transform your remote meetings into successful, streamlined events.

With an on-site team always available to assist you with your audio-visual setup, you can be confident that technical mishaps will not hinder your virtual meetings, ensuring the professionalism and proficiency of every virtual call. Our screens, projectors, and AppleTV are HDMI compatible, facilitating easy connectivity for all team members regardless of their preferred devices.

Additionally, our meeting rooms are equipped with business-class Wi-Fi – a prerequisite for roughly every online meeting – and a quiet, distraction-free environment that is vital to maintaining virtual meeting etiquette. Not to forget our provision of complimentary conference phones, speakerphones, and webcams upon request that further aid in creating smoother and more coherent virtual meetings.

For teams handling hybrid meetings – a mix of in-office and remote attendees – Roam goes the extra mile to ensure a seamless and inclusive meeting experience. With expert customer service at hand, we help bridge the gap between your remote and in-office team members, regardless of their locations.

Roam’s amenities and services are not just about equipping you with the right technology. They’re about fostering meaningful connections, maintaining meeting etiquette, and enhancing team productivity and collaboration. These intricacies precisely define the difference between just another virtual meeting and a productive and effective virtual meeting with Roam. The next time you plan your remote or hybrid meeting, remember to consider Roam – your partner in elevating your virtual meeting experience.

Adapting to the New Normal with Effective Virtual Meetings

screen of a virtural meeting

As we navigate through this new era of virtual meetings, understanding and practicing good virtual meeting etiquette makes the difference between a disconnected, frustrating experience and a productive, engaging event. From punctuality and maintaining a professional demeanor, to techno-savvyness and effective communication – it’s a holistic effort that requires active collaboration from all participants. Guided by these etiquettes, we not only create effective virtual meetings but also promote a culture of respect and professionalism, which reflects positively on our personal brand and overall company reputation.

In the face of this ‘new normal’, mastering virtual meeting etiquette is a necessity. The meeting may be virtual, but the people, interactions, and outcomes are real. Remember, it’s not the physical rooms or location that make a meeting successful; it’s the people, the etiquette they follow, and the effective communication that truly propels the meeting toward its intended goal.