Working from home came with a number of perks and advantages for people, the biggest one of them being getting rid of commuting from home to work every morning. Not having to deal with traffic every morning came as a relief for most people, however, that came at a very steep price in the form of virtual meetings.
With no physical contact, virtual meetings have become the only way for employers and employees to interact, catch up, and keep tabs on the workflow. This has been a challenge for many people, and along the way, some undesirable habits have cropped up. We are going to look at some important virtual meeting etiquette that everyone should know about.
The last thing you would want is to hold a virtual meeting when your laptop keeps shifting every time you lean on your desk. Using a wobbly working desk will not only affect your overall productivity, but it could cause massive distractions when trying to hold a virtual meeting.
You can quickly correct this by getting yourself a good standing desk that you can adjust from sitting to standing to hold a better virtual meeting. Consider going for the Kana Bamboo Standing Desk that has a very stable base and solid construction that can support your weight even when you lean on it without making any movement.
Instances where a virtual meeting got interrupted have been making rounds on social media since the pandemic began. The most common ones involve children or pets finding their way into the home office, forcing you to rise from your desk and take the children away. This may be cute for some people, but when you are dealing with a serious meeting, it can throw everything into disarray.
Consider closing the door when you are working from home to create some private time where you can deal with work without any interruptions. Remember, you may be working from home, but you are still on office time, and you are being paid to show up when needed.
Touching the Keyboard
It is hard to find a silent keyboard. They are all mostly noisy, and they produce a very annoying typing sound every time you use them. When taking part in a virtual meeting, you should avoid touching the keyboard as that sound it makes may drown out what is being said.
If you have to take notes as people talk, then go the traditional way of using a pen and a notebook to jot down all the important tidbits that you feel will come in handy later on. You can also use your smartphone as they usually come with many note-taking apps. That way, you can type while saving immediately without causing any distraction.
Mute your Microphone
The only time your microphone should be on is when you are talking. Most virtual meeting apps come with these functionalities that allow you to control the microphone and the camera. Once you have finished talking, switch off your microphone to stop it from picking any sound that you may make by accident.
You have to be aware of how sensitive the microphone is, and any slight noise that may emanate from your end will be fed through the mic to the meeting. This may cause distraction. Always use software like Zoom that comes with the mute functionality. At the same time, switch off your camera every time you want to excuse yourself to avoid causing others to lose focus watching you move around.
Eating During the Meeting
Whether you have muted your microphone or covered your camera, the one thing you should nerf do is bring food to the workstation, especially when the meeting is ongoing. On top of carrying the risk of spilling things on your machine and spoiling it, you may be caught off guard with a question while your mouth is full of food. That would definitely make for a very embarrassing image in front of your peers.
Meetings that are held virtually never take too long, and you can spare an hour or two to fully focus on them rather than doing something else like eating food or something else that may not be good for your concentration. Keep your focus at all times.
Not Speaking Up
The purpose of a meeting ranges from handling daily briefs, sorting out pending issues and dealing with emergent ones. For any business to prosper, they require to have meetings where everyone actively participates in offering solutions by lending their voice freely to the discussion.
Not speaking up is not a good thing to do in any kind of meeting, and the temptation to go silent may be very high in a virtual meeting. This is because keeping track of people who are speaking can be hard when the meeting has so many people present. Always speak up, even if it is just a simple greeting. It is important when people acknowledge your presence.
Virtual meetings, just like regular ones, are usually planned days in advance, and this gives people ample time to prepare for them. When it comes to virtual meetings, take a few minutes before it begins to clean up your surroundings to ensure it looks professional.
It would be deeply disrespectful for your camera to come on only for your colleagues to be met by a background full of clothes strewn around or dirty dishes in the background. This could give them a very bad impression of you and could derail the rest of the meeting. Keep things looking neat well in advance.
Be on Time
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that since you are at home, you have control of everything. It is easy to lose track of time, especially if you have other commitments. Plan your day efficiently to ensure that you are well prepared for the meeting.
It is a good idea to be ready at least 5 minutes before the meeting kicks off by sitting in front of your computer and getting all your tools ready. Use that time to skim through the agenda to ensure that you are well aware of what is going to be discussed.
Begin with the Video On
The first thing that happens when meetings begin is people exchanging pleasantries and checking on each other. This usually happens in the first 5 minutes and can be followed by random chats between people. It would be a good idea and a show of courtesy when you begin the meeting with the video on.
The reason for this is so that people can see you while they are talking to you. Virtual meetings may lack physical contact, but they are as real as anything, and people are encouraged to conduct themselves as they would if it was a physical meeting in the office.
Talking Over People
It is easy to get lost in the what of the moment in any meeting, and you may find yourself talking over other people. That is not a good thing to do, even in a virtual meeting. Meetings are supposed to be places of decorum where people speak one by one, with everyone listening intently as they await their turn.
If you feel like raising an urgent issue or correcting something that you feel was erroneously stated, it would be considered a polite gesture to wait for the person to finish speaking before respectfully raising your objections. This way, everyone gets to listen to you, and the person in question gets the chance to also respond without interrupting you either.
Swinging on your Chair
It would look very unbecoming of you to swing on your chair back and forth as the meeting is continuing. This can produce noises that could distract others and interfere with the agenda being discussed. Even when your microphone is on mute, swinging on your chair will lead to you losing focus, and you may be caught unawares with a question you are not well prepared for.
Consider purchasing an ergonomic chair that will keep you focused on the meeting no matter how long it takes. The best option right now would be the Soutien Ergonomic Chair that is made for comfort, style and comes with amazing features that will ensure you don’t get restless halfway through the meeting.
Virtual meetings are going to continue on into the future as the shift from the home office to the regular office continues to be executed slowly. If you happen to continue working from home, adhere to these tips outlined above to ensure that all the meetings that you participate in are conducted with grace and respect for one another in order to achieve all your intended goals at the end.