Business communication has drastically evolved over the past few decades and virtual meetings are fast becoming the new norm. While in-person and virtual calls have many things in common, they also come with some distinct differences and challenges.
Whether you're a seasoned speaker or just getting started with video conferencing, it's important to make sure you're minding your virtual meeting manners. In this article, let’s look at video conferencing etiquette for hosts and participants.
Virtual meeting etiquette for participants
Bear in mind the following tips next time you join a virtual meeting to help keep things running smoothly.
Join the meeting on time and be ready to go
Have you ever joined a meeting on time, only to find you’re one of the only ones there? Or maybe you had to wait for several others to join in late. It can feel like showing up when you’re supposed to was a waste of time. Treat others’ time as valuable as your own.
Joining on time not only demonstrates your professionalism but also shows that you respect your host’s and colleagues’ time.
When participants join a virtual meeting on time, it allows the meeting to start and end as scheduled, which means everyone can get back to their workday without any unnecessary delays.
To ensure you join a meeting on time, you can set a reminder on an integrated calendar application so that you’ll be notified well ahead of time. You can also review and save the meeting information for later. This way, you'll be able to troubleshoot any technical issues that might arise before the meeting starts.
Make use of the mute, raise hand, and chat functions
Muting your microphone when you're not speaking can help to eliminate background noise, minimize unnecessary distractions, and help all parties to focus on the topic at hand.
If you want to chip in to add your feedback, you can make use of the “raise hand” option on many conferencing platforms. This avoids unintentional interruptions and helps the host manage conversations. When the host sees the raised hand above your profile, they’ll give you the chance to speak. Don’t forget to lower your hand by clicking the option again once you’re done speaking!
The chat function is another feature that can help facilitate collaboration between attendees and hosts. You’ll be able to view the responses and perspectives of other people and brainstorm ideas, all while the presentation is going. This helps foster a more connected workspace.
Keep your camera on unless indicated otherwise
When you keep your camera on, you show that you're present and engaged in the meeting. This way, the host knows that they have your undivided attention to the presentation and can gauge participants’ reactions and level of understanding.
According to recent studies, a staggering 93% of communication is non-verbal. Switching on your camera allows everyone to see each other’s nonverbal cues and reactions, which can help enhance overall communication and understanding. Additionally, seeing other participants' faces can help to foster a sense of community and connection, especially in a remote work environment.
If you’re uncomfortable switching on your camera because of a messy workspace, you can also opt for virtual background.
Video meeting etiquette for hosts
Now that we’ve covered some etiquette tips for participants, let’s cover some tips specific to meeting hosts.
Only invite coworkers who need to attend
As a host of a virtual meeting, it's important only to invite those who need to attend. While you might be tempted to invite as many people as possible, it can be a waste of meeting resources and can take away from the already limited time you have.
To ensure that you know who needs to attend, you should have a clear agenda for the meeting that outlines what needs to be covered and discussed.
Consider these questions:
- Who specifically needs to be involved to achieve the desired outcomes?
- What departments are needed to execute this task?
- Is the project open to entry-level coworkers or does it require a more experienced touch?
If you're not sure who needs to be there, you can always reach out to relevant parties beforehand and ask for their input. If you need to invite more people than initially planned, communicate this clearly to everyone so that they understand why they're being included and their role in the meeting.
Create space for introductions at the start of the call
It’s important to simulate the same ambiance of an in-person meeting in a virtual meeting as well. Creating space for introductions at the start of the call is an excellent way to strike an important social chord in the meeting. This helps build interpersonal connections between attendees and can later increase engagement and participation.
Start by introducing yourself and briefly stating your role or purpose for the meeting. Then, go around and ask each attendee to introduce themselves and provide a brief background or overview of their role. This can be done in a round-robin style or by calling on each person individually. It's important to ensure that everyone has a chance to speak and that no one is left out.
Provide a structured agenda (and stay on task!)
Your meeting has a purpose, and participants are expecting you to stick to it. If the goal of the meeting was to discuss how to improve quarterly profits and is instead spent rambling about other work tasks, people might get confused or frustrated. As a host, it's important to create a clear and concise agenda that outlines the purpose of the meeting and the topics to be covered.
A well-crafted agenda not only helps attendees understand the purpose and goals of the meeting but also allows them to prepare accordingly. By sticking to the agenda, you can ensure that the meeting stays on track and stays within the allotted time frame.
So, how can you do this? Follow these guidelines:
- Identify the main topics or issues to be discussed during the meeting.
- Break down topics into smaller, more manageable subtopics.
- Assign a specific amount of time for each subtopic.
- Communicate the agenda to attendees in advance.
- Encourage attendees to stay on topic during the meeting.
Use screen sharing to keep participants engaged
Many people are visual learners, so screen sharing is a fantastic way to keep participants engaged and focused on the task at hand. With the ability to share tools such as slides, graphs, and videos, you can visually demonstrate your ideas and concepts to attendees, making it easier for them to understand and follow along.
You’ve likely encountered a meeting host that read off their notes the entire time. Keeping your attention in this way can be extremely difficult. Screen sharing, as an interactive meeting tool, can allow you to infuse some creativity into how you present information. You can break up long periods of talking with an important graphic or demonstration.
Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for collaboration and feedback, as participants can ask questions or offer suggestions based on what they see on the screen. This can lead to more productive discussions and outcomes, ultimately saving time and increasing efficiency.
Present like a pro with a virtual teleprompter
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to hosting, presenting is no easy feat, especially in a virtual setting. You may forget what to say, be frustrated about what to say next, break eye contact, frantically shuffle through presentation notes, or all of the above. This doesn’t exactly scream professionalism to your audience.
Fortunately, you can take advantage of advanced technology to solve your presentation problems.
A virtual teleprompter like VODIUM will save and display all your presentation notes on your screen. This makes it possible to stay on track and avoid the dreaded hiccups that can derail a presentation. By having your script or notes in front of you, you’ll be able to cover all of your key points, delivering them smoothly and confidently.
VODIUM can also help you add personality and flair to your presentation. By having your script in front of you, you can divert your full focus on your delivery and bring your unique style to the table instead of worrying about what to say next. Plus, if you have important statistics or facts to share, a teleprompter can help ensure that you get them right every time.
The cherry on top is that you can do all of this while making eye contact with your audience. Since the script notes sit right on top of your camera, you’ll be able to deliver your presentation and see your attendees at the same time.
Is the script blocking the view of your audience? No worries—just use the transparency slider to adjust the opacity. Don’t want to manually scroll through your notes? VODIUM has you covered there as well—use the automatic scroll option, sit back, and present like a professional.
Upgrade your virtual communication with VODIUM
Video conferencing is becoming part and parcel of the corporate sector as more and more businesses transition into a digital workplace. Therefore, whether you’re a host or a participant, it’s important to hone your video conferencing skills and develop good conferencing etiquette.
A teleprompter app like VODIUM can help make virtual calls easier, boost your confidence, and take your conferencing skills to the next level. To learn more about how you can do this, or to start your free trial of VODIUM’s teleprompter, check out VODIUM today!