It’s crazy to think, but there have never been more people working from home than there are right now. With many of us adjusting to what could be the new normal, we’re noticing that our average meetings aren't quite the same. Instead of taking business meetings in conference rooms and restaurants, we’re in our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and home offices. Virtual meetings are being used to create a sense of normalcy, so for all you amateurs out there, here's an etiquette lesson on virtual meetings:
Let's start simple. Understanding that other participants are giving you their valuable time to join the virtual meeting, you (hopefully) will be naturally more considerate of everyone's time. If you are the host, don’t be late. No excuses. Figure it out, it’s that simple.
Also, whether you are the host, or a participant and you expect be late to the virtual meeting (for whatever reason), it’s not that difficult to take 10 seconds and shoot a note out to the other participants. Just let them know you are running a few minutes behind.
Lastly, listen. Truly listen, and if someone is rambling or getting off track, go ahead and call them out! It’s ok to do so, and the other participants will be glad you did. Trust me.. Part of being respectful is ensuring that we’re continuously exchanging quality dialogue and content that is solely based around the goals and agenda of the meeting (and not just talking for the sake of talking).
2. Know your platform, especially if you don't know your platform
The technology market today is incredibly saturated, and it’s no different with collaboration tools. Zoom, GoToMeeting, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, AmazonChime, Google Hangouts, the list goes on and no two are even remotely similar. So do yourself, and everyone else a favor and log in a few minutes early to work through any potential technical difficulties you might face. Also, PLEASE DON’T BE THAT PERSON that is unknowingly using audio on both your phone and your computer microphone. This is my number one pet peeve of conferencing, and it gives off the most polarizing feedback sound anyone will ever hear! Lastly, if you are the host, I recommend adjusting your settings to allow others to join before you do. Give others a chance to get virtually settled in. Why not? Call me crazy, but it seems like the respectful thing to do..
3. Be on video, even if others are not!
Video really became part of my normal in the summer of 2019, and it was a tough one for me to embrace quite honestly (especially since I enjoy taking calls on the move and walking around my office or house). However, I can’t express how beneficial this has been to my business. It’s been like night and day for me ever since I started using video for every meeting. People are much more engaged and receptive to anything I say when I’m on video. It also proves to other attendees that I am really listening to them when they’re speaking. Video conferencing humanizes conversations on a level that you simply can’t get with just audio. Not even close. Now with all these self-quarantine mandates in place during this current pandemic, there has never been a more important time to leverage technology like video to keep us connected on a personal level. For the record, I’m still amazed by how flawless video conferencing works today. I’ve had 3 international video conferences this week alone, and each one was perfectly flawless HD video and audio. And whatever latency there is, it truly is unnoticeable. I’ve also noticed that it’s easier to identify who wants to talk next (because you can see it in their expressions) whereas on an audio bridge, people are constantly talking over one another (“go ahead, no, you go ahead sorry, I was just going to say…oh…wait… were you going to say something?”).
4. The 7-Minute Rule
Just like I’m sure your time is valuable, so is mine. So, I will give you seven minutes to either join my meeting or send me a notification that you’re running late (in which case I will keep the bridge open and wait for you to join). If I haven’t heard from you by then, I’m ending the meeting, and moving on with my day. It’s nothing personal, and I would totally respect anyone else doing the same to me.
No this is not a typo, and yes, I’m touching on this again. I’m going to preface that there are many justifiable exceptions to this next point (i.e. medical, family, and work emergencies), but outside of these anomalies, let’s all just remember to simply respect the time of other human beings. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO or the janitor, everyone deserves the same amount of respect, and it’s really not hard at all to do this. Therefore, if you have accepted an invite to a meeting that means it’s on your calendar, and everyone else who’s accepted. So if something comes up and you need to re-schedule, guess what? It’s ok! I do this often myself when it’s warranted, and we all have the right to do so. HOWEVER, if you accept an invite, and then simply just don’t show up or notify anyone that you need to cancel/re-schedule… it’s disrespectful (on a few different levels). That time that people carved out for you could have been put to good use somewhere else. It’s not hard to simply just be conscious of the fact that there are other real, living, breathing humans that have committed their time to you. Yes, you are a special snowflake, but so is everyone else. We’re all human, so why not treat each other the same way we would to be treated?
Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have made yourself incredibly comfortable in your new remote workspace!
If your organization needs assistance with video conferencing solutions, please reach out to C3 Technology Advisors! For more information about working from home and virtual meetings, check out our Work From Home page.