Published on January 19, 2022 • Updated on January 30, 2023 • About 7 min. read
Read this Ebook with 50 icebreakers for your next virtual meeting.
Remember when co-workers had no way of knowing if you were still in your pajamas or what was written on your favorite novelty mug?
Well, things have moved on since 2019. This is now a world of virtual teams, virtual meetings, and virtual etiquette.
But virtual meeting etiquette and ground rules aren’t just about ruining your workday lie-ins – they show you’re considerate of others, help teams be productive, and contribute to better online experiences for everyone.
So no more crunching and rustling into other people’s headsets – check out our dos and don’ts of virtual team meetings.
Discover 50 ice breakers questions and games that will make your meetings engaging.
Virtual meeting etiquette helps create a positive environment where people can collaborate online.
By being aware of the unwritten ground rules of virtual meetings, you can get more out of your video conferences and make a solid impression on other meeting participants (and, you know, generally stop embarrassing yourself).
Make your online meetings more enjoyable for everyone by following a few simple ground rules. Here are some virtual meeting best practices we discuss below:
Knowing the ins-and-outs of your online meeting software isn’t just a matter of looking like a pro, it’s also practical.
Just as it’s useful to check in with a “Can everyone see my screen?” when you share a graph or document, you should be confident everything’s in place on your side for the collective response to be “Yes!”
If you invite your team to brainstorm on a whiteboard, what should be a fun, productive activity will go flat if you’re scrambling around trying to get things going.
So be sure you’re comfortable with event creation, inviting guests, and sharing media, and familiarize yourself with your platform’s technical requirements and engagement features.
The all-in-one solution for meeting software etiquette? Choose a video engagement platform that’s super easy for everyone to use.
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Outside of birthdays, people don’t like surprises, so have a clearly structured agenda for your virtual meetings to be shared with attendees before they start. \
A clear meeting agenda helps you stay on track and cover all the key areas of discussion. It should also give people the chance to think about how they can make a meaningful contribution to the proceedings.
Note that dressing appropriately isn’t the same as dressing formally. In fact, natural and casual is absolutely fine.
People like to see the real you, so if your four-legged friend video-bombs, no worries. Family pics in the background? Great. PJ’s and a bathrobe? Not so much.
A sure-fire way to get off to a bad start is to have people waiting for you – but sticking to the time isn’t only about when you arrive, so don’t let things run late, either.
Itemizing your meeting agenda will help with this, but also try to avoid too many talking points in a single meeting.
Remember to allow for some light chat at the start of your meetings and once things are underway, complete each topic with what’s actionable – then swiftly move on.
It’s said that you should speak to the camera at all times. In reality, that’s not very practical for virtual meetings, but if you’re presenting a topic, try to avoid speaking to one person at the bottom of your screen the whole time.
That said, especially in virtual sales meetings or webinars, speaking to the camera can help engender trust and engage your audience. But most of all just be friendly (be you!) – which will encourage attendees to be responsive when you ask them questions, engage them in the chat and launch polls.
For a more formal virtual gathering, a friendly opening to introduce yourself, a panel, or attendees, can help settle everybody down. It also gives late arrivals the chance to creep in without missing anything, and sets a collaborative tone for positive, engaging meetings.
Your virtual meeting platform should provide a safe environment for your data, but encryption protocols can’t help attendees unsee your accidental screen share!
So observe online meeting etiquette and deactivate notifications, turn off social media and chat apps, and only keep open the tabs and windows you need.
A good ground rule for virtual meetings is that any meeting longer than an hour should include a break – but a break doesn’t have to be a full-on intermission, just look to change things up for five or six minutes.
Share a short video, create an in-meeting poll, or take some time to answer questions – any of these will give people the chance to relax and reset.
There’s no need for laborious note-taking if there’s a meeting recording, so choose a platform that has automated replays and let participants know they’ll be sent the recording by email immediately after the meeting ends.
With the best video engagement platforms, automated email and recording is easy to set up when you create your event, all hosts have unlimited storage for meeting replays, and you can see who watched the recordings in your analytics dashboard.
And if someone you invited misses the all-hands? Well, they get a recording, too – so it’s easy to catch up.
One of the most important tips for virtual meetings is to wrap things up professionally and positively.
How you go about this will depend on your event, but in closing, there should be a summary of key ideas, along with the actionable points and any related information.
One way to do this is to invite final comments from each speaker or attendee and share relevant links in the group chat for reference.
Also, you could create a poll (you can do this before or during the meeting) to see what the team thought went well during the meeting and what could be improved. This is a great way to show you value what the team has to say and help your meetings get better and better!
Background noise can come through very loud on other people’s devices, so stick to virtual meeting best practices and keep your mic on mute, only activating it when you’re about to speak up. You might want to mute Netflix, too.
Note: Livestorm has handy shortcuts – to mute, just press “M”, and if you’re on mute by default, hold down “M” to speak.
It’s not just your audio that can be a distraction, so keep movement to a minimum.
Have your glass of water within easy reach before you join the meeting, and check that your device is on a solid surface – if your computer is on your lap, your whole screen will move around any time you adjust your seating.
Your body language makes all the difference to how you’re received and also to an event in general.
A small nod or smile shows you’re engaged in what others are saying, and reaction emojis can be a fun way to show you like something – or disagree.
Go into your session with some questions prepared so that, when asked, you’re ready to contribute. Your willingness to engage and interact will encourage others to do the same, which makes for a positive and informative virtual meeting. Our post on [7 ways to make your online meetings more engaging] (https://livestorm.co/blog/engaging-online-meetings) covers more ways to do this in detail.
Don’t feel the need to attend your meeting in front of a blank wall, but find a tidy location free of background activity.
Video conferencing etiquette also covers keyboard use. Other participants will notice if you’re busy typing instead of paying attention. Plus, if your mic isn’t on mute it’ll come through loud and clear on other people’s devices.
Eating during any meeting other than a business lunch is a big no-no, and virtual meetings are no different.
You’re likely no more than a few inches from your webcam and coming through in glorious HD, so limit intake to a few discreet sips of water or coffee.
Instead of trying to squeeze your point in before others have finished speaking, simply add your question to the designated question section of the meeting room, and the group can address it once the main point’s been discussed – a great way to finish up each section as the team goes through the meeting agenda.
If it’s the end of the meeting, a short and sweet thank you and goodbye is perfect. But if you’re leaving early and don’t wish to interrupt, just add your goodbye with a brief explanation in the chat before making a discreet exit. It shows consideration for your team, and no interruptions required.
Discover 50 ice breakers questions and games that will make your meetings engaging.
Virtual meetings don’t need to be online replicas of the boring office meetings of yesteryear – with video engagement features, like whiteboards, emoji reactions, video sharing, and private chats, your virtual meetings can be fun, collaborative, and productive.
Also, the best virtual meeting platforms are incredibly simple to use – everything’s in your browser, so participants just click the link and they’re ready to go!
And now that you have a wealth of virtual meeting etiquette in your armory, there’s nothing to stop you from having the best online meetings.
When leaving a virtual meeting early, use your best judgment, but a discreet way to leave without interrupting anyone is to drop a quick goodbye and explanation in the chat before you go.
The best virtual meetings bring remote teams together, allowing them to present and share ideas, collaborate, and bond.