There’s just no substitute for good manners in all of our daily interactions, and they’re certainly appreciated more than ever in workplace meetings. There are some age-old guidelines that comprise good meeting etiquette — being on time, maintaining eye contact, paying attention — and applying those same principles to our video meetings can go a long way toward a productive business environment. It can also help elevate your personal reputation into “great meeting host” territory.
Traditional business meetings are too often considered unproductive because there are so many delays and interruptions. Reliable, easy-to-use video conferencing platforms like Zoom have helped to restore meetings’ reputations, but there are still ways to ensure all of your attendees get the most out of the allotted time.
Some of the most common-sense meeting decorum — avoiding eating and drinking, minding your body language, and being respectful to whoever is speaking — are no-brainers. So here are seven additional etiquette tips to help ensure a focused and effective Zoom Meeting.
1. Make sure to introduce everyone at the beginning.
Just like a real meeting or social event, you wouldn’t initiate a conversation between two acquaintances who haven’t met without introducing them. The same practice applies to a virtual meeting. Be sure to introduce all parties you are hosting at the beginning to create a welcoming environment and stimulate engagement.
2. Ensure that you have a clean, work-appropriate background.
You want your attendees’ focus to be on the meeting content, not your messy office or your amazing art collection. By having a clean setting with work-appropriate art and decorations, you reduce the chance that attendees will get distracted. You should also try to attend the meeting from a quiet area that has minimal background noise and movement. Zoom’s virtual background feature is an easy way to eliminate background distractions when you have to meet in a messy or busy location.
3. Look into the camera when talking instead of looking at yourself.
If you’re looking at yourself on the screen while you’re talking, it will seem like your attention is elsewhere. Direct eye contact into the camera while speaking gives attendees the impression that you are looking at them rather than off to the side, which creates an environment where everyone feels engaged and present in the conversation. Be sure to position your web camera and monitor at eye level so you can look into the camera and simulate that eye-to-eye connection with other attendees.
4. Eliminate distractions and focus on the agenda.
Notifications from messaging applications, ringtones, and applications running on your desktop can be distracting, which can make your attendees feel disrespected and undervalued. Mitigating these distractions helps keep the meeting focused and free from interruption.
5. Be aware of your audio and video settings.
Check whether your microphone is unmuted and that your camera is on to ensure that all attendees can hear you and see you when you speak. If you notice that someone in the meeting is speaking but their microphone is muted, you can alert them that they are muted by requesting that they unmute their audio in the Manage Participants tab. You also can manage how you start and join meetings — with video on, entering a meeting muted, etc. — in your Zoom Meeting Settings.
6. Only invite meeting participants who need to be there.
Inviting co-workers who don’t need to participate or make decisions can be detrimental to the quality of the meeting. Because you can send other stakeholders a summary of the meeting via Zoom Chat, you can limit the attendee list and keep the meeting streamlined. As an invitee, make sure to review any meeting invites you receive to determine whether you actually need to attend. If not, request a recording of the meeting or a summary to get the info you need.
7. If you’re the host, stick around.
The general rule for meeting hosts: Wait until everyone else has left the meeting before hanging up, so attendees can leave at their own pace and get any final words in before disconnecting. Zoom will assign an alternate host if the original host exits first, but it’s not a good look. A host leaving everyone else in the meeting is much like bailing on your own party.