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As we move further into the 21st century, more and more of our work is being done remotely. With advances in video conferencing technology, it’s now possible to meet with people from all over the world without ever having to leave your office.
While this new way of working has many advantages, some ground rules must be followed to ensure that virtual meetings are effective and productive.
In this blog post, we will discuss 10 ground rules for virtual meetings that will help ensure productive sessions!
Why is Virtual Meeting Etiquette Important?
The importance of online meeting etiquette is evident in a variety of ways. For one thing, it helps to guarantee that online meetings run smoothly. Without good manners, participants will be shouting over each other, making the session ineffective quickly.
Second, virtual meeting etiquette helps to promote a positive organizational culture. When attendees respect one another and follow the proper protocol, it creates a more positive and productive working environment.
In addition, virtual meeting etiquette helps to prevent technical problems. When everyone follows the proper protocol, it minimizes the chances of technical issues occurring. As a result, virtual meeting etiquette is essential for successful online meetings.
Related: Collaboration Strategies
10 Ground rules for Virtual meetings
Here are ten ground rules for virtual meetings that will help to make sure they are effective and productive:
1. Choose the Best Virtual Meeting Platform
In the past few years, there has been a surge in the number of businesses using video conferencing software to hold meetings with employees and clients. However, with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to know which tool is right for your business.
The most crucial factor to consider is compatibility with all operating systems and devices. Once you have found software that meets this criterion, take some time to familiarize yourself with its features and functionality. Then, share what you have learned with your colleagues.
Ask them to go over the basics, such as screen sharing, muting and unmuting, and adding attendees. You may ensure that everyone is on the same page and get the most out of the meeting by following these steps.
2. Create a Meeting Agenda
Another ground rule is that before you start the meeting, take a few minutes to create an agenda. This will help to ensure that the meeting stays on track and that all attendees know what is expected of them.
If possible, email the agenda to all participants in advance so they can come prepared with any questions or comments. Then, during the meeting, refer back to the agenda to ensure all topics are covered.
If you find that the meeting is veering off course, gently bring it back to the topic at hand. By having a well-organized agenda, you can keep virtual meetings focused and productive.
3. Be punctual
It’s always frustrating when someone shows up late to a meeting. It throws off the entire schedule and can make people feel disrespected. But being punctual isn’t just about arriving on time. It’s also about keeping the meeting on track and avoiding running over.
One way to do this is by itemizing the agenda at the start of the meeting. This will help everyone stay focused and on task. It’s also important to allow for some small talk at the beginning and end of the meeting. This helps build rapport and facilitates better communication. But once the meeting gets underway, it’s essential to focus on action items and move quickly from one topic to the next. Overall, punctuality is the best and most important virtual meeting etiquette for keeping meetings on track.
4. Dress Appropriately
Just because you’re not meeting in person doesn’t mean you can show up to the meeting in your pajamas. So it’s important to dress appropriately for virtual meetings, just as you would for an in-person meeting.
What you wear will depend on the type of meeting and the company culture. If you’re unsure, err on caution and dress more formally. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
In addition, make sure you’re well-groomed and that your meeting room background is appropriate. You want to make a good impression and look professional. By dressing appropriately, you can set the tone for a productive meeting.
5. Move Personal Files from the Desktop
In today’s increasingly digital world, more businesses rely on virtual meetings to conduct business. While this can be a convenient way to connect with team members and clients, it’s important to remember that not all of the same rules apply in an in-person meeting.
One area where this is especially important is in the realm of personal files and screens. Just as you wouldn’t want personal photos or files popping up during an in-person meeting, it’s just as important to avoid having such things come up during a virtual meeting. This not only looks unprofessional but can also be a violation of privacy for those attending the meeting.
As a result, it’s critical to spend some time before your next virtual meeting to ensure all personal files have been removed from your computer and any non-work-related tabs have been closed. You may help to create a more professional and courteous virtual meeting environment for all attendees by following these easy steps.
6. Take the call in a quiet atmosphere
It’s essential to hear and be heard during a conference call. Make sure you are in a quiet space when you take the call. This means no background noise like cars driving by, people talking or TV playing. You should also be aware of your surroundings if you are in a place where other people can see you, dress, and act appropriately.
This way, you avoid distractions for yourself and the people with whom you are on the call. Also, if you know you won’t have good service in a particular area, try to reschedule the call or skip it together. Finally, everyone must be able to participate in the meeting without problems. Considering these things, you help make conference calls run smoothly and efficiently.
7. Mute Your Microphone When You’re Not Speaking
Another important tip for virtual meetings is to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking. This helps cut down on background noise and makes it easier for others to hear those speaking.
If you’re not sure when to mute or unmute your microphone, err on the side of caution and leave it muted until it’s your turn to speak. This helps ensure everyone in the meeting can hear and be heard.
8. Minimize distractions
When you’re in a virtual meeting, minimizing distractions is essential. This means turning off any notifications on your computer or phone. It also means avoiding side conversations and multitasking. If you need to take notes, do so quietly to avoid disrupting the meeting.
It’s also important to be aware of your body language. Just because you’re not in the same room as the other participants don’t mean they can’t see you. Avoiding distractions will help you stay focused and be more productive during the meeting.
9. Do your homework before the meeting
It’s always important to be prepared, especially regarding meetings. If you’re setting the agenda, include bullet points to be discussed in the meeting, supporting documents that others should review, and links to anything referenced.
This level of detail will allow everyone attending to prepare ahead of time adequately. If you’re not setting the agenda, take time out to go over the agenda, prepare notes and comments you’d like to make during the call, and complete tasks you need to report on beforehand. This preparation will help you make the most of your time and the time of those in attendance.
10. Take detailed notes throughout
At the start of every virtual meeting, the meeting host should set ground rules to ensure everyone is on the same page. For example, they might ask that everyone keeps their video on for the duration of the meeting. Or they might request that people mute their microphones when they’re not speaking. Once the ground rules have been established, it’s time to take detailed notes. At least one person should be assigned to jot down the discussed important points. If an agenda is set ahead of time, it can act as an outline for note-taking.
Whether notes are written by one person or by everyone attending collectively, notes help ensure the meeting results in decisions, next steps, and future discussion points. Tools like Fireflies, Grain, or Hugo make note-taking a breeze.
But ultimately, you should decide which note-taking method or tools works best for you and the rest of the attendees. Virtual meeting ground rules are essential for ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that the meeting is productive. Note-taking is just one way to make sure that happens.
Related: Best Team Collaboration Tools
By following the tips above, you can ensure that your virtual meetings are productive and efficient. By being prepared, staying focused, and taking detailed notes, you’ll be able to make the most of your time and the time of those in attendance. Virtual meetings can be just as effective as in-person meetings with some planning and effort.
What are your thoughts? What tips would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!
What is the etiquette for virtual meetings?
There is no one answer to this question since cultural differences exist in what is considered polite behavior. However, some tips for good virtual meeting etiquette include: being on time, muted unless speaking, not multitasking during the meeting, and paying attention to body language (even if it is only through the webcam).
How do I become a good virtual meeting participant?
You can become a good virtual meeting participant by following the tips above. Additionally, it is crucial to be prepared for the meeting by having any materials you need on hand and being familiar with the agenda. Finally, if there are breakout sessions, ensure you know which group you are supposed to be in.
What is the etiquette for online meetings?
The same tips for virtual meetings apply to online meetings. In addition, ensuring your internet connection is strong enough to handle video and audio streaming before the meeting starts is essential.
How do you introduce ground rules in a meeting?
Ground rules can be introduced at the beginning of a meeting. They are a set of guidelines that participants should follow to make the meeting more effective. For example, some ground rules include no side conversations, everyone having a turn to speak, and staying on topic.
What are virtual rules?
Virtual rules are similar to ground rules but specifically pertain to online meetings and interactions. For example, they can include using video instead of audio, refraining from multitasking, and avoiding distractions.
How do you conduct remote meetings effectively?
There are a few key things to remember when conducting remote meetings: make sure everyone is on the same page regarding logistics (e.g., time zone differences, meeting platform), start and end the meeting on time, have a clear agenda, and appoint a moderator. Additionally, it is vital to make sure everyone has a chance to speak and be heard.