Let’s face it, web conferencing is the new normal. While we’ve had years to perfect the art of meeting etiquette, we’ve been thrown into this uncharted territory in the past few months – and it’s not been pretty. From forgotten microphones that were accidentally left on to screen-sharing gone wrong, I’m sure we’ve witnessed our fair share of disaster conferences. To avoid the nasty experience of a disaster Zoom, use this guide to navigate the nascent world of Zoom etiquette.
Zoom Etiquette 101
#1 Be prepared
Download Zoom in advance to get familiar with the controls, including microphone, start/stop the video and screen-sharing functionality. Meeting organisers especially should take the time to plan the nature of the meeting and level of participation involved. For example, organisers should learn how to turn on specific users’ microphones during sharing time. They should also know how to create a private Zoom meeting and grant entry into the Zoom chat room.
#2 Arrive early
Arriving late to a meeting is awkward in real life, but even more uncomfortable online. You can’t whisper to a colleague nearby and get updated on the meeting. As such, you should try to arrive at a meeting on time. This is not only basic respect for the meeting organiser but also prevents you from being part of an embarrassing situation.
#3 Be professional
Ultimately, Zoom is used as a professional meeting tool. You should thus strive to be the most professional as possible. This means conducting meetings online with the same attitude that you conduct meetings in person. Dress professionally instead of donning home attire. Additionally, you should always conduct meetings in a quiet, distraction-free environment. The last thing you need is for noise to disrupt an important meeting, or your child interrupting you during a presentation to your boss. A good tip here would be to view yourself as others would view you. Could your lighting be too dark? Is your environment too noisy? Is having a custom Zoom virtual background really the most professional entrance? Consider how you would feel if your teammate displayed those traits, and adjust your behaviour accordingly.
#4 Respect your fellow meeting buddies
Being in a homely environment during meetings could tempt you into certain behaviours that come across as disrespectful. Eye contact, for example, is such a basic form of respect. But over Zoom, who knows where to look? As you stare down at your colleague’s icon on a computer, their perspective is that you’re looking down while you’re speaking. As such, you make a conscious effort to look straight at the camera while speaking. Additionally, be considerate and mute your microphone when you’re not contributing to the discussion. Besides this, try not to be tempted to snack or indulge in other casual activities while you’re in a meeting. Microphones often amplify noise and what might have once been subtle during face-to-face meetings is now a huge distraction.
Want to make Zoom meetings go much smoother?
The list of Zoom etiquette tips above is non-exhaustive, going to show how difficult it is to have a smooth-sailing Zoom meeting. A huge meeting hack is to use smart meeting tools, like Timeqube Online. Enjoy a more pleasant meeting experience with timed discussions, controlled open-mic sessions and a centralised time tracking tool. Learn more here.