Virtual meeting etiquette

24 April 2020

Here at Appurity, we consider ourselves experts in the art of virtual meetings.

We’ve been successfully hosting them for a long time now. However, discussing this topic with our clients, we’ve realised that there are many potential pitfalls, especially for those who aren’t used to video-conferencing systems.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, video and audio conference meetings are playing a bigger part in our working lives. So, here are Appurity’s top 10 tips on how to stay cool, calm and connected in all your virtual meetings.


Be prepared

If you’re hosting a video conference, it’s important to have an agenda ready beforehand. It doesn’t need to be particularly detailed. But at the start of the meeting, attendees should know what to expect, so they have time to prepare if they need to provide an update later in the call.  As call leader, you must steer the group conversation to make sure everyone on the call feels engaged. It’s also your job to avoid any awkward transitions or dead time.


Testing, testing…

Whether you’re using Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or any other software, always test your equipment. Especially if it’s a particularly important client meeting, or a client’s video conferencing platform you’ve never used before. Don’t make the classic mistake of attempting to sign on 30 seconds before the start time.

Test your hardware too. If you’re dialling in via your smartphone, make sure you have a strong signal, no interference, and plenty of power in your device. If your using your PC, try to use a wired connection rather than Wi-Fi, test your mic and speakers. Make sure there’s nothing covering your camera. Again, leave plenty of time for all this testing. Plus, you may need time to download something beforehand if it’s a new meeting platform you’re using.


Avoid noise pollution

The microphone on your PC or smartphone is a highly-advanced piece of technology. As well as your voice, it can pick up any other low-level ambient noises. You don’t want colleagues and customers to hear you chewing a sandwich or sipping tea, so save your elevenses until after the meeting, or at the very least mute your mic.

There’s also your location to consider. If you live on a busy street and your meeting coincides with the bins being emptied, choose a different room on the other side of the house.


Introduce yourself

Even if you can see a grid of familiar faces onscreen, it can be difficult to keep track of who is saying what. Plus, there are those pesky time lags to contend with, resulting in participants talking over each another. It’s good practice, whenever you start talking, to introduce yourself with something along the lines of, “This is Moira and I have a question,” or “Hi, it’s Roy here, I’d like to add to that point.” By saying your name each time you speak, your contribution to the conversation is noted, and everyone is clear on who just spoke.


Be loud and clear

You might have such a good connection that it’s like you’re all in the same room. But everyone won’t have the same connection, especially if it’s an international call. If you can hear your colleagues in Japan clearly, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can hear you. Always speak clearly and loudly (of course, you should never shout) and ask if you can be heard by everyone.


Avoid multitasking

Don’t constantly check into social media, and switch off all audible alerts during meetings. Multitasking demonstrates a lack of respect for the other participants, who will sense that you aren’t fully engaged. One of the worst things you can do during a meeting is type. There’s nothing as annoying and disruptive than the sound of someone hammering away at their keyboard. But why does it happen so often? It’s usually because the typist doesn’t realise the sound’s being pick up by their mic. Don’t be that person.


Never work with children or animals

Make sure all children and pets are safely occupied in another room. While they mean the world to you, the truth is your colleagues and customers probably don’t want to see or hear them in a business meeting.


Make the right impression on camera

Everyone knows you’re working from home, so a suit and tie is probably too much. Conversely, dressing gown and bed-hair really is a no-no, even for a 9am scheduling meeting. If possible, sit somewhere with plenty of daylight. You’ll feel and look better, especially on an integrated laptop camera, in a space that has natural light.


Mute etiquette

Even if you’re in a quiet location, mute yourself when you know you won’t be called on. An important part of virtual meeting etiquette is to avoid any subtle distractions that could be off-putting for the person speaking or disrupt the conversation.


Silence isn’t always golden

Finally, don’t forget to unmute yourself when it’s your turn to talk. All around the world, there’s a growing number of videoconference attendees who no longer find it funny to see a colleague’s mouth moving but hear no words.

You may be experiencing virtual meeting overload right now. But rest assured, these are unique and insightful sessions. Each meeting comprises two parts, which are held on different dates to give you time to digest the wealth of rich information we’ll be delivering.

Appurity Virtual Meetings and Demonstrations

We’d be delighted if you could join us for one of more of our virtual meetings.

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