Virtual Meeting Etiquette: How to Connect Over Video Conferencing
With much of our current communication taking place virtually and at a distance, it’s vital to ensure that we’re embracing communication best practices. By being mindful of video call etiquette as well as how we can further enhance the digital meeting experience, we can provide an optimized, human communication experience for all. Here’s how.
Understand Your Format
Video platforms such as Zoom offer several conferencing formats. “Meetings” are collaborative by nature and allow every participant to speak, join in, and share their screen. “Webinar” formats, on the other hand, are more broadcast-oriented, with one person presenting and controlling the conversation. Choose your format wisely to ensure that your attendees are able to participate in an appropriate degree. You may need to familiarize yourself with the “share,” “unmute,” and “chat” functions of each format.
Be Mindful of Privacy
Understanding the privacy concerns and options associated with video conferencing can help you create an inclusive, comfortable environment for your meeting participants. Share a private or password-protected meeting link with your participants rather than creating a public meeting that anyone can join. This can ward off the risk of Zoombombers. Additionally, if you plan on recording or publicly posting a recording of your meeting, be sure to obtain permission from your participants beforehand.
Be Organized and Considerate
Treat your Zoom meeting as you would any other professional event. Send out your invite ahead of time, provide a meeting agenda, log on early, wait for all participants to join before starting, and adhere to your time restraints. Virtual meetings can be exhausting for participants, so aim for shorter meetings where possible, and consider allowing participants to turn off their cameras. Speaking of cameras, be sure to look into yours rather than looking at yourself on the screen! Additionally, test any materials you’ll be sharing ahead of time – you don’t want to be dealing with technical difficulties during your call.
Involve Your Participants
Virtual meetings typically have a different flow from in-person ones, as subtle body and eye contact cues are much harder to gauge. Be mindful of this, and actively involve all participants in your meeting. Begin by greeting everyone and making introductions where necessary. Ensure that everyone is given time to speak, and that no single person dominates the call. Allow time to connect over small talk and for closing remarks – and take the time to thank everyone during the inevitably awkward “sign off.” Features such as polls and chats can help involve reticent participants, and scheduling in breaks can help keep your guests engaged while allowing time to connect.
Choose an Appropriate Setting
Working from home means that many of us are in a less professional setting than usual. Children, other adults, pets, and outdoor noise can all impact the quality of your call. Make judicious use of the “camera off” and “mute” buttons as needed, and consider a digital background if you’re working in a less-than-professional environment. Alternatively, to maximize your productivity and minimize distractions, consider renting a hot desk or office space in a coworking environment such as Optimum Coworking.
For more information about how our spaces can help you connect with colleagues and clients in a professional, distraction-free environment, please get in touch!