Online meetings with remote team members have become as much a part of our daily lives as in-person meetings. So we need to make sure we are doing all we can to ensure best practices for the most professional and productive online meetings possible.
Here are 4 priority points of good online meeting etiquette and best practices:
1) Stay Focused
Typing on the keyboard, checking your inbox, and carrying on side chats is distracting. And what does it communicate to the person talking if you are doing these other things? By eliminating distractions you can engage, participate, and contribute fully, which demonstrates respect and appreciation to the one talking.
Tip: Think as if you were in the presence of the person talking. Would you be checking your email? Likely not, so be mindful, engaged, and focused as you would be face-to-face.
2) Eye Contact
Just like in an in-person meeting, you need to be fully present so your camera should be on. Make sure the camera is focused live on you, not your profile picture.
The best framing for people to see you is when your camera angle shows you with your eyes in the top ½ of the screen, like a news anchorperson you see on TV.
Tip: When you’re talking, do you want to be looking at someone’s profile, wondering if that person is listening to you or doing another task? Or would you prefer to see them, their expressions, and talk to them with eye contact?
3) Be Aware
Think about what other people see. Not only do you need to pay attention to your appearance (dress, posture, etc.) but also you need to be aware of what others are seeing behind and around you. Minimize the background distractions so the meeting participants are focusing on you. Also, be sure your light source is in front of you so you are clear and visible.
Be sure your body language is also attentive, sit up straight, minimize movements, do not walk around, and make eye contact.
Tip: Are people seeing you as they would in an in-person meeting or are they looking at the side of you, up your nose, or at some other weird angle? Make sure the camera is angled at you with your eyes in the upper part of the screen and a foot or two away.
4) Sound Matters
Mute your microphone when not speaking to reduce noise and feedback from the mic.
Limiting the background noise when you are talking or on mute will help you and others focus. In large meetings, it’s often best for the meeting owner to mute all participants except the speaker.
Also, be patient and mindful of speaking over others and maintain a normal tone.
Tip: Have you been on a call where dogs are barking, the person speaking sounds like Darth Vader in an echo chamber, or so many people are talking that all you hear is noise? Sound is important, so minimize the background noise and always remember to unmute yourself when speaking.
The main thing to remember about online meetings is…
Online meetings should be like meeting in person in every way possible.
They should be prepared for and participated as we would in a face-to-face meeting: present, attentive, and professional, with focus, eye contact, full awareness, and engagement.
This way we can make sure every meeting we have is a beneficially productive one.