Virtual Etiquette And Manners: Best Practices For Professionals
Virtual meetings have become an essential part of modern businesses where you can maintain a high level of productivity even when your team is spread out across different locations. It is an easy, cost-effective way to align multiple offices, keep remote employees engaged and work with clients and vendors. Virtual meeting have likely been part of daily routine for some time now and just because you work from home doesn’t mean you can slack on professionalism. Practicing good Virtual meeting etiquette is critical to ensuring that your meetings are professional, efficient, and valuable.
So, Keep these simple virtual meeting etiquette and manners tips in mind:
· Beware of your surroundings
Particularly for video meetings. Get away from that kitchen table to a home office, spare bedroom, anyplace that is out of traffic flow within your house. Your background shouldn’t be cluttered. Or use background screens if the video call application allows that. This is a good social etiquette for any virtual meeting and matters more when your boss is involved or you are the boss. Family, kids or other aspects of life bopping around in the background or interrupting the background just looks unprofessional and distracting. Additionally, if your meeting is deliberating on financials, strategy, planning and all sorts of very sensitive information, you would not want that to be floating around the home.
Most importantly, current operational meetings will be bringing up some very unpleasant challenges never experienced before by any of the members.
· Make at-home technology your ally
As a go-getter, you need to weigh how good the technology is at your end. The best practice would be to use a desktop computer with a quality camera, either separate from the monitor or built in. A laptop computer is next in preference. It gives you more mobility, but sacrifices on video quality both ways, as well as sound. Do an online speed check of your Internet connection before the meeting. Remember, some of your colleagues may use their smart phones for meetings, but tell them to use that only as a last resort.
· Ensure good audio connectivity for communication
Most of the devices you use have built-in audio and microphones, but the quality can be iffy. Invest in a proper wired-in or Bluetooth headset, either with your phone, or better, through your computer USB port. This not only makes the sound much clearer for everyone, but also assures that you are the only one on your end able to hear discussion (and no, don’t use a speakerphone). Headsets and video conferencing tools will have a mute button for microphone, and make good use of this when you are not speaking. The other participants don’t want to hear other background noises. In fact, try making “mute” your default microphone setting, only going live when you actually have something to say.
· Stamp out distractions.
Your meeting participants have a right to your focused attention. That means blocking any popup notifications on your computer, not browsing your mail or texting while the meeting is in session, and putting your phone in silent mode. Let everyone in the house know that you are in a meeting, and ask them to please keep down background noise.
· Adhere to meeting protocols
Even when sheltering at home, keep business etiquette in mind. Aim for business casual dress, or at least no pajamas. Be recognized to speak, and say your name before you do, even if the others are all familiar. If you need to take a break from the virtual meeting, let the group know, and pause your video and audio while gone. And no matter how tempting, no funny video memes, please!