The Virtual Life: Online Meeting Etiquette...

We have all been meeting online for almost a year now (Can you believe it?!).

We have become fairly well acquainted with Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams, using them to meet with colleagues, attend classes and also for socialising at times.

When it comes to meeting online, in a professional sense, there are a set of unspoken rules of etiquette. Some are fairly obvious, others not so much.

Here is a list of the most important do's and don'ts when it comes to online meetings:

  • Do have a professional background - Yes, we are at home, but the people you are meeting do not need to see your family's pile of laundry in the background! Try to set yourself up in a space where nobody is going to be visible walking around behind you and your full room isn't on display. If you can set up with a wall behind you, that is ideal. If you don't have an appropriate area in your home, a virtual background is a great idea. You can select a virtual background in your Zoom settings!

  • Do wear appropriate attire - Think of who you are meeting and what you would usually wear if you were meeting them in person. Look, they can only see your top half so that's all you really need to worry about. Have I had meetings whilst wearing pyjamas bottoms? You're damn right I have!! Although, it is not a regular occurrence, I am usually dressed professionally :)

Tip: Don't stand up if you are not wearing appropriate attire on bottom!!

  • Don't interrupt - You wouldn't in person so don't do it virtually either. I'll admit, it's not as easy to find the right time to get your word in during a virtual meeting because we don't have the advantage of observing each others social cues like we do when we are in the same room. The general rule is to wait for a pause in the conversation before jumping in. You could also signal that you want to speak next.

  • Do turn your camera on - You have been asked to attend a meeting, there is a reason you are there. If the meeting were in person, you wouldn't just sit back and close your eyes! You would partake in the meeting and show the team that you are present and participating. If your camera is off, the team don't know if you are listening or if you are even there at all!

  • Do test your technology - We have all heard about this one by now. The unfortunate American Lawyer who accidentally activated a kitten filter during a virtual courtroom session! Whilst we all knocked a laugh out of his mishap, I'm sure the Lawyer was mortified! Blunders like this can be avoided by testing and getting to know the technology that you are using. Take some time to explore the settings and figure out what they do.

Tip: Practice hosting a call with family or friends so that you can get acquainted with the features.

Until next time,

Ellie x


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