Video calling is one of the most intrinsic practices of the home office and it seems as simple as picking up the phone.
However, if the nature of the call is more formal, you would want to be up to date with the team meeting etiquette.
Make no mistake, people on Zoom will definitely notice how you behave, what you are wearing, what’s your background, and so many other details that will be the topic of today’s article.
- What is team meeting etiquette?
- Top five virtual team meeting etiquette best practices
- Five things to avoid during a team meeting
- Final words
What is team meeting etiquette?
Usually, when people are conducting business there is a set of rules, some written, and some not, that determine the standard of behavior expected in the workplace.
You have to follow the same path of logic as you normally would if you were in the office.
Would it be appropriate to wear pajamas during the in-person meeting? No. Then put on a more suitable attire.
The first impression matters a lot but you’ll also have to keep up with the good work no matter how many meetings you have per day.
Being prepared, showing up on time, paying attention to what others are saying, avoiding interruptions and distractions such as your phone is a huge must in our list of etiquette practices.
The benefits of those simple but important work habits are countless.
Setting an expectation for professional appearance among your team will result in greater mutual respect and, therefore, better communication.
Better communication, on the other hand, is one of the essential factors for more productive teamwork. And as we are all well aware, productivity means good business.
So it’s all interconnected!
And after coming to this conclusion, we believe it’s about time to move on to the…
Top five virtual team meeting etiquette best practices
We are well aware that you may be already familiar with those concepts and ideas since they could be somewhat seen as common sense.
Nonetheless, our goal is to remind you of them and highlight some simple but useful aspects that maybe you haven’t thought of so far.
1. Be on time
Punctuality is something that shouldn’t be underestimated.
People would appreciate it if you are there at the designated time and they’ll be left with the impression that you are good at managing time.
Also, being punctual shows that you value others’ time as well, which will be crucial for the foundation of your mutual respect as business professionals.
In the real world, a 5-to-10-minute delay may be acceptable since there are many factors such as traffic jams, construction sites, public transportation delays, and so on. However, online meetings are essentially all about turning your PC on.
Even a 2-minute delay in the online world will cause the other person to wonder if you are experiencing technical difficulties, don’t have the proper link, or simply have forgotten about the meeting.
Of course, sometimes unexpected delays occur but that’s fine as long as you send a message beforehand.
2. Prepare in advance
Being well-prepared is a must for any gathering of professional nature.
Usually, team meeting organizers set an agenda and provide you with bullet points of the subjects in question. So, you should get yourself acquainted with the topic/s that will be discussed as much as possible.
This way the meetings will be way more efficient; there will be no need for additional questions or explanations. You will not only save time but you’ll feel more confident to express your opinion.
3. Dress accordingly
As we already hinted, your pajamas might be comfortable but your colleagues or clients aren’t supposed to see you in them.
People usually notice looks and appearances, even if the meeting is held online. That’s why this virtual team meeting etiquette practice is one of the most important.
You should look presentable if you want to be taken seriously.
We are not saying that you should be wearing a tie, but don’t show up in your favorite home-wear poncho either.
4. Listen attentively and avoid interruptions
Guess what, paying attention is what all team meeting attendees are supposed to do. So, don’t be the exception!
Listen closely to what others have to say. It’s also a good idea to take notes in case you come up with a question or you simply want to remember a piece of information.
Don’t interrupt, make sure to pose your question when the time is right. Usually, this would be at the end of someone’s presentation or at the end of the meeting itself.
If you have something to add to the speaker’s arguments, wait for a slight pause and then join in the conversation.
It is also a great idea to use the raise a hand feature when one is available. This would indicate you want to speak without disrupting the person’s flow of thought.
Modern communication software allows for much more than raising a hand. You can chat, create polls, and even use emoji reactions. Depending on your needs, you may want to explore more intuitive software for your online meetings.
5. Mind your body language
This example of virtual team meeting etiquette is quite tricky because people usually don’t notice their body language.
You might not be aware of it but little things like tapping pens, fidgeting, swinging on your chair, tapping your feet or rustling papers could be annoying for the other participants in the meeting.
On that note, one of the things which personally drives me crazy is when someone starts cleaning their laptop on a call. Since the microphone is often incorporated into their laptop, the unpleasant noise pierces everyone’s ears.
Both mind and body control in terms of paying attention and mining your body language make a difference in your overall appearance and performance during the meeting.
Five things to avoid during a team meeting
Now that we’ve discussed the do’s, it’s time to dive deeper into the topic and focus on the don’ts. Hopefully, these ground rules will help you polish your professional behavior during virtual meetings.
1. Avoid distractions
When you attend an online meeting, various distractions around you could seem quite tempting and harmless.
Like looking at your phone for a minute or two while someone is talking about something that might not concern you directly.
This is a no-no.
Put other devices away, log out of social media for the duration of the meeting and forget about multitasking.
Nobody likes the person who starts answering messages in Slack so that everyone gets distracted from the call itself.
Your focus should be on the people that have gathered in the virtual space.
2. Don’t go off the agenda
Both formal and informal meetings usually have an agenda. It provides a well-structured plan of how the meeting should go and is very much created so as to fit the time limit.
If participants are unaware or do not take notice of the agenda by discussing questions that are out of topic, then the meeting will most probably be prolonged.
Keep in mind that people’s attention span is quite short nowadays, be concise when speaking and try not to drift away from the topic of discussion.
Have something important to share which will take more than a couple of minutes? Mention it briefly at the end of the meeting and ask whoever is interested to stay after the current meeting is over.
3. Don’t neglect your surroundings
Your attire matters just as much as the state of your background. Even if you wear a tuxedo, no one will be impressed if your bed is messy or if you have a pile of clothes on the back of your chair.
At 3veta we provide you with the option to blur your background or simply change it completely by selecting an image to be on display. This way you can personalize your virtual background by uploading a picture or choosing one from our gallery.
The best-case scenario for you would be to have a clear background such as a white wall but you can always resort to the above-mentioned alternatives in case you are lacking it.
4. Don’t leave without informing the others
If something happens and you need to leave your working space for a minute or so during a video meeting, don’t be silent.
The virtual team meeting etiquette reads as follows:
One shall inform the others in case of a short withdrawal from the online space.
Achieve this with a short message in the chat, without interrupting the current speaker.
After all, in that short period of time that you are gone someone might want to ask for your expertise on the matter and you won’t be there to respond.
This would make a very bad impression, causing the other participants to think that you were never there.
5. Don’t be camera shy
Tuning in without your video on, with dimmed lights, or with your camera pointing somewhere else is strongly frowned upon by the team meeting etiquette.
The light setting should be appropriate so that your face is visible and you should try to make eye contact with the camera as much as possible.
If you are looking away or if your audience cannot see you well, it is most likely that they’ll lose interest in what you have to say.
Even when you are sharing your screen, don’t forget that people should be able to also see you on the side.
Everything that we’ve discussed so far sounds quite straightforward and easy to follow, however, many people struggle with this simple code of conduct because it requires certain self-awareness and power of will.
It could be a challenge to resist the temptations posed as distractions, control your subconscious actions, and focus on one activity for more than an hour.
We hope that we’ve provided you with enough guidelines to succeed in this endeavor.
And in case, you want to perfect your virtual presentation, you can also take a look at our suggestions for a more professional appearance during video calls.