Zoom is now part of our everyday office, or home office, routine. Zoom’s technology ensured that we could all still come together, have meaningful conversations, and collaborate on what needs to get done.
How can we keep meetings productive, professional, and fun? Well, that comes down to Zoom etiquette. Some of us have probably started to develop new habits that aren’t polite or considerate of others in the digital meeting room. Let’s take a step back and do meetings right! Here are our best tips for proper etiquette for any Zoom meeting, gathered from research and a lot of first-hand experience.
Some etiquette tips apply clear across the board. These tips aren’t specific to hosts or attendees but are general dos and don’ts. For example, you would hope that everyone would give the speaker their attention and come prepared to engage. We all know that doesn’t happen in every meeting, but it’s a good starting point.
There are various camps when it comes to managing the audio and video aspects of Zoom. We feel that these guidelines are widely applicable—helping to improve meeting productivity and reinforce good work habits.
Always think about your company and team culture. Some leaders may not mind snacking or keeping a cup of coffee nearby, just be sure to hit mute. Others may have rigid rules. When it comes to eating, drinking, and how you dress, turn to your company and team for guidance.
Being a host or meeting facilitator can mean work. Time goes into creating materials and arranging a meeting. It can feel defeating when people show up half-awake, unengaged, or might be trying to tackle other work tasks at the same time. There are some things you can do to lead by example, set clear expectations, and avoid that scenario. Of course, it all starts with preparation.
To start your preparations, clarify what your event should accomplish and what tools you need for a successful Zoom session. Are you hosting a recurring event such as a one-on-one meeting that will have roughly the same agenda from week to week? Or, are you creating an ad hoc meeting to bring together a committee, or plan quarterly department goals? Managers can use Zoom for everything from daily check-ins to virtual team building! When you start to prepare, pinpoint the purpose of your Zoom event.
Some of these tips and tools provide the chance to set the standard for good Zoom meeting etiquette, and others help you build good habits among attendees:
Follow-through is one of the overlooked elements of meeting management. As the host, you should always be the last to leave and if you had an assistant, then take a few minutes to cover key takeaways before jumping off the call. Then, use the standard approach to any meeting by sending out meeting minutes, reviewing assigned action items, or following up if necessary. If you recorded the Zoom event, then be sure to share the recording.
Anyone who hosts Zoom meetings knows that half the struggle is managing what you can’t control (ahem... other people). As an attendee, you can probably benefit from a Zoom etiquette brush up too.
Get ready for your meeting ahead of time. Use preview options when going into the meeting to ensure your settings and environment are appropriate. It’s a great opportunity to make sure your camera isn’t pointing at the pile of blankets on your bed.
You should also open up your blinds or bring over an extra lamp for good lighting. Additionally, you can use the “night mode” on your device to avoid the washed-out computer glow that never happened to come into style. Don’t forget about Zoom’s Touch Up My Appearance feature. In Zoom’s desktop app, click on your profile picture and navigate to the settings. Select the “Video” tab and check off the “Touch up my appearance” box, then move the slider to what seems best for you.
Finally, review any shared materials before logging into the meeting.
First, don’t be late. Just like quietly slipping into a conference room, it’s disruptive when you join a video meeting late.
Second, exercise self-awareness and reduce the chances of bad behavior:
Generally, don’t do anything that might be embarrassing. No one wants to become an internet meme because of a humiliating moment in a meeting. If you want to brush up a bit since we’ve all been shamelessly living out our bad habits at home, George Washington’s Rules of Civility addresses all manner of dodgy habits from nose picking to nail-biting.
Are you not sure of what to do after a meeting? You can always thank the host, send over a copy of your notes from the meeting, or add action items to your meeting workspace in Charma!
The bar was set too low when Zoom became a part of daily work life. Now it’s fair for employees and managers to strive for more effective meetings. As a leader, you’re the one to forge the path and show your dedication to hosting or attending meetings with a high standard for professionalism and shared respect.
There are many features you can use to help manage participants. From our experience, the best way to start implementing better zoom meeting etiquette is preparation. Building agendas collaboratively, having clear communication channels leading up to the meeting, and a set structure can help create better meeting habits overall.
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