7 Virtual Meeting No-No’s and What to do Instead

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Virtual meetings are just as important as in-person meetings; however, some people have very bad habits when it comes to meeting up virtually. It’s important to not only understand virtual meeting etiquette but to develop habits that promote a healthy meeting culture. Unfortunately, remote meetings can be a bit more challenging if you’re not used to them.

Here are 10 no-no’s and what to do instead to help make sure your next virtual meeting goes smoothly:

Don’t Show up Late

Some people are in the habit of treating virtual meetings with less urgency than in-person meetings. Show up on time. Don’t be late, ever. It’s rude and shows that you don’t care about the meeting or your fellow participants. If you are running late for a virtual meeting, let the organizer know as soon as possible so they can adjust accordingly.

Don’t Sit There Silently

Silence is not golden in a virtual meeting. In fact, it can cause participants to disengage and never reconnect if there is silence for too long. If you’re hosting the meeting, help keep people connected by using a live polling app, Q&A tools, and other tech-focused tools to ensure people can engage and easily speak up when needed. It’s harder to discern when to add something to the conversation when you are virtual, but it’s possible to participate and contribute information that everyone can use. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This helps you get instant feedback and clarification and can even help others who may have been confused as well.

Don’t Let Yourself Space Out

You should be paying attention to the meeting, not your phone, your living room, or a cat video on your computer. You should always be engaged in the meeting. If you need to check your email or update your calendar during a virtual meeting, do it during a break or at home after hours, but don’t let it distract you from what is being said on screen. Save your social media scrolling for after the meeting is over.

Don’t Leave Your Video Off

One of the biggest advantages of virtual meetings is that you can connect with people from all over the world, instantly. This is especially useful for remote teams and remote workers who might not have access to some of the same resources as those who are located in one place. However, there’s a fine line between communicating remotely and ignoring each other entirely. Video interactions are important for many reasons. They help build trust among team members and they allow you to see body language and facial expressions. This can be especially helpful if you have an international team and you need help

Don’t Forget to Mute Yourself When You’re Out of the Room

This is a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. If you’re out of the room, people won’t be able to hear you. They’ll also be unable to hear whatever else is going on—like whether your phone is ringing, or someone needs to leave early. That’s why it’s so important that you mute yourself when you’re not in the room. This will ensure that everyone else can clearly hear what’s happening without distractions from your end. And if for some reason someone doesn’t mute themselves? Just ask them politely to do it.

Don’t Try to Multitask

The big one. Don’t try to multitask. When you’re in a virtual meeting, it’s easy to get distracted by other things that are going on in your office or home. Your mind can wander, and you can feel like you’re losing focus on the conversation happening in front of you on screen. This may cause you to want to work on a project, answer emails, or even try and get your personal bills paid while you are half-listening to what they are saying on the screen.  But don’t do it. You’ll have time after the meeting is over to work on these things. There may be something important that you need to hear during the meeting and multi-tasking will take your attention away from it.

Always Wear Clothes

Yes, it’s a virtual meeting, but people can still see you. You want to look professional still by wearing a clean shirt and some pants to your virtual meeting. Unfortunately, too many people have gone to virtual meetings with just a shirt on and forgotten about the fact that they weren’t wearing pants only to stand up on camera and walk away with their underwear showing. Don’t embarrass yourself or create an uncomfortable situation. Wear clothes to your virtual meetings.

And if you’re the one running the meeting, make sure everyone has a copy of the dos and don’ts for virtual meetings.