When the pandemic began and offices shut down, businesses turned to video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Teams to stay in touch and keep things running.
In those early days, it wasn’t uncommon to see cluttered backgrounds, spouses trying to sneak through the frame, children interrupting with pleas for snacks, or pets making cameos. The world was chaotic and our working environments mirrored that.
As weeks became months and months became years, a new normal began to develop. People set up home offices and found ways to avoid interruptions. They rediscovered the value of professionalism. And remote meetings started feeling like business as usual.
When the world reopened, not everyone decided to go back to the office. According to the Pew Research Center, 35 percent of people with jobs that can be done remotely are working from home all of the time, and 41 percent are maintaining a hybrid schedule, alternating between working at the office and home.
Even those who are in the office full-time can’t escape the occasional virtual meeting since they likely have to communicate with remote colleagues or clients.
Virtual meetings are here to stay. So, here are some best practices to follow the next time you log on for a meeting.
4 Tips for More Professional Virtual Meetings
- Turn Your Camera On
Many people are uncomfortable in front of the camera, but turning on your webcam during a meeting helps you and your team connect in a way that voice-only calls can’t. It not only helps you engage more fully, it helps you increase your visibility. It can also be a way to keep yourself from getting distracted, since you know that others can see you. And since a large portion of communication is non-verbal, it allows for better, more transparent collaboration.
- Pay Attention to Your Workspace
Your face isn’t the only thing your colleagues will see on a video call. They’ll also catch a glimpse of your workspace – and if it’s messy or cluttered, it can reflect poorly on your professionalism.
But it’s not just clutter you need to worry about. Even personal items or home décor that you consider innocuous can raise eyebrows, so a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t have it in your office at work, it shouldn’t appear on-screen during a meeting.
- Dress for Success
We all want to feel comfortable in our own homes, but showing up for a video meeting undergroomed or underdressed is unacceptable. Wear what you would wear on a normal workday at the office and put the same kind of effort into your appearance.
It’s not just about looking professional either! The way you dress can also have a big impact on how you perform your job – even if you’re not attending a virtual meeting.
- Follow In-Person Meeting Norms
You wouldn’t wander into the boardroom at work 15 minutes late while munching on a cheeseburger and talking loudly on your cell phone. So don’t enter a video meeting that way, either. Virtual meetings are every bit as important as in-person meetings, so treat them the same.
Arrive on time and come prepared with everything you’ll need for the duration of the meeting. Make sure your laptop is charged, your internet connection works, and you have any files or information you’ll need to access ready to go. Silence any unnecessary notifications and don’t be afraid to mute yourself if an unexpected distraction (doorbell ringing, dog barking, etc.) occurs. A quick “Sorry about that,” and an immediate return to business is better than disrupting the entire meeting.
Proper Video Etiquette Enhances Your Personal Brand!
Whether you’re in the office, working from home, or observing a hybrid schedule, chances are good that there are at least a few virtual meetings on your calendar. By following proper video meeting etiquette, you’re proving that you can be productive and professional in any environment!
© 2023 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.