Zoom Rules: Do’s & Don’ts of Virtual Meetings

Ever since shelter-in-place began, virtual meetings over Zoom, WebEx, and other platforms have become the norm for everything from quick one-on-one calls and consultations to conferences, team meetings, and training sessions.

These virtual interactions have quickly become a critical part of your overall brand (read more about what makes a brand here). It’s just as important that you appear professional, organized, and attentive online as it would be in person. Think of your virtual meeting as an extension of your actual conference room. When clients or colleagues come together for a meeting, they should feel like they’re being welcomed into a professional space that aligns with your organization’s brand. 

To help you make the most of your online experience, we’ve compiled a handy list of some simple Do’s and Don’ts for virtual meetings:

Even though you’re working from home, it’s important to set up your workstation in an area with as few distractions as possible. Check behind you for any clutter or anything hanging on your walls that you may not want your boss or client to see. Find a clean, neutral background or use the virtual background option in Zoom.

As tempting as it is to work on other projects while on a virtual meeting, resist the urge! Multitasking is a myth—you cannot do two things at once and do both of them well. Especially do not multitask if you are a crucial part of your meeting. It’s embarrassing and unprofessional when someone calls on you with a question, and you have no idea what they are talking about because you were busy responding to your emails.

Whether you can hear it or not, your microphone may create white noise or buzzing that can be distracting. Kids, pets, TVs, lawnmowers, and other noises in the background can also interrupt the flow of a meeting. If you are not speaking, stay on mute. But don’t forget to unmute when it’s your turn to talk. Get familiar with the shortcut keys so it becomes second nature to switch back and forth.

Avoid eating while on your virtual meetings. No one wants to watch you chew your breakfast while the team discusses the month’s expenditures. Remember that even though you’re at home, this is still a professional meeting. Would you eat your meal if you were in a conference room? Save your snacks for after the meeting is over.

Many of us wear glasses or have framed artwork hanging on our walls, and these things produce reflections. Be aware that your coworkers are watching you. If you’re not careful, they might be able to see your Facebook feed reflected in your glasses!

It can be very distracting if you are constantly adjusting your computer screen or picking up your laptop and walking around with it. Set up your workspace in advance and be sure to choose a place that is comfortable, clean and video-ready.

You probably don’t love being on camera, but you can help yourself by thinking about lighting and camera placement. If there’s a window in your room, strategically place your workstation so that the natural light falls evenly over you without any lighting “hot spots.” We also encourage you to think about the angle of your camera. Keeping the camera at eye-level or tilted slightly downward is usually best. Save the more dramatic “glamour shots” for your personal Instagram account.

If at all possible, avoid using the built-in speaker and microphones in your computer. These internal tools aren’t designed for professional meetings, and all too often your listeners cannot hear you well. Consider investing in some simple ear buds or headphones with a microphone.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these virtual meetings are here to stay. Just keep these simple tips in mind to help project a more professional appearance with clients and colleagues. And if you find yourself asking your coworker for the 20th time to mute themselves while their dog is barking in the background, you might want to send them this list as a gentle reminder!

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Posted on June 23, 2020