Hey lovelies! Today I want to speak to you about the Do’s and Don’ts at virtual meetings. Nowadays with Corona almost everything has turned digital and even our meetings, networking and important sessions, coachings or speeches are held mostly virtual. The good thing is, there is no need to wear a mask when at home or far enough away from other people in your close surroundings should you be at an office (depending on the Covid-19 guidelines and regulations in your country). As I work mostly from home and do all important meetings virtually, I have become a pro in regards to what etiquette is important on video.
DO dress up and freshen up before you turn on your camera – I have seen so many people loosen up about what they wear or how they look. Working in finance, I am used to seeing people suited up, looking polished and ready to go for a luxurious lunch or dinner straight after the meeting. I have seen some of these people with beards grown out (men, of course), wearing baggy pyjama look-a-like shirts, not groomed whatsoever and rather looking as if they just jumped out of bed. I appreciate that the finance industry is letting go of ties and the fully and sometimes overly dressed up looks, but going from one extreme to another and looking far from fresh is an absolute no-no. Dress for the occassion and the audience as you would otherwise (even if only from your hip upwards) – people will appreciate it.
DON’T drink soda straight from the bottle – I have seen some people drink diet coke or coca-cola straight from the bottle, even orange juice or energy drinks. Trust me when I tell you, it is not appreciated by all and many people do judge you if you like it or not. I always recommend: whatever you drink, drink it out of a neutral cup that does not show what’s inside. Be it water, diet coke or even that whisky on the rocks ;)
DO have a clean background and good lighting – whether you have a digital, plain or branded background or simply your at-home background I believe is up to you (unless your company says otherwise). Yet, the background should be rather clean since you want your audience looking at you and not staring at a half open pizza box from last night or personal objects that are for your eyes only. Likewise, make sure to not sit in the dark, we are working from home, yet are no cave-(wo)men!
DO mute yourself if you are not speaking – background noise can be terrible irritating and even worse, if someone walks into your room or your phone goes on (make sure its on silence beforehand) it will be considered rude if you interrupt another speaker.
DON’T invite others or pets into the picture unless asked for it – friends, family, your hubby, children or even your pets should not be on screen when it comes to professional virtual meetings. It can of course always happen that someone runs through the room and into your background and if your cat comes and says hi or your children run up to you most people will understand. If you are able to close the door beforehand, though, do it. My dogs for example are always in another room when I have important virtual meetings or conferences to attend. I do, however, think it is absolutely fine to share some private life when either asked for it or you are speaking to a longterm relationship colleague / partner of yours and believe it is ok. Sometimes, sharing some of your private life can work wonders for deepening a relationship and spark new topics to speak about.
DON’T multitask – no one wants to feel ignored and, trust me, people will notice when you play an online game in the background, do online-shopping or doodle on a paper. There should be enough hours in a day to schedule any other task to before or after the virtual meeting. If you are taking notes on the side and people may not see it, give them a heads-up so they know why you are looking down or moving your hand around.
DO invest in proper technology – if you have and will be working from home most of the time, make sure you invest into proper technology. No one wants to see that you are still using your old phone camera for virtual meetings since the beginnig of the year (Corona start). Make sure to have a proper webcam if your other set-up is not at it’s best, do invest into a proper microphone (it makes a world of a difference!) and even think about investing into a new lamp if need be! If you haven’t done that yet, why not add it to your Christmas wishlist!
Do you have any other Do’s or Don’ts you consider important when it comes to virtual meetings? I’d love to hear your thoughts or hear about the experiences you’ve had!