Etiquette Basics for the Virtual Meeting World

As much as I am NOT the person to follow all the rules of etiquette, I do believe that a certain level is important in business today.

By the end of 2022, 77% of meetings are now being held virtually. This number is increasing year over year. Businesses learned the advantages during COVID and they are not going away. In fact, that number is anticipated to increase exponentially over the next few years.

It’s important to have at least the basics of virtual etiquette down.

It’s your image. Your business. It may be the only impression you’ll ever give to someone. Make it count.

As most of you know, and I adore all of you, we at Boss Babes Networking hold online networking meetings on a regular basis. I hear feedback all the time of what is going on in the meetings and how someone “can’t believe that so-and-so did”. Here are some top tips:

  • What are they looking at?
    • Is your background neat? Clean? Professional? Is this the image you want to give?
    • Most virtual meeting platforms have the ability to use a virtual background, try one.
    • Use tools like Canva to make your own and load it up. That way you won’t be one of the 20 that show up floating above the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a great opportunity to have your logo and contact information up during the meeting.
    • Another option is to get a photo backdrop to put up behind you.
    • Let’s ask a question. If you were to sign into a meeting and the professional that wanted to work with you looked like a hot mess, how inclined are you to want to trust them with your money? Reputation? Etc?
  • Make sure you have working tech that is sufficient for what you’re doing. It surprises me the number of people that sign into a meeting and things don’t “work”. Practice before hand if you’re not a regular in the virtual meeting world. It also shows how “with it” you are. If someone shows up for a meeting and they can’t make their tech work it reflects on their professionalism automatically. It’s a subconscious judgement the other person is making about that person who can’t work the tech.
  • The “built in” on your laptop may not be sufficient if you’re looking to do a lot in the virtual world. Building a professional image doesn’t have to be a huge investment but it can make a huge difference.
    • Can’t hear? Get some external basic speakers can make the world of difference.
    • Camera at a weird angle on your laptop? (My last laptop? The camera was on the bottom of the screen. Why? No clue but it looked right up my nose.) Get an external webcam that you can use one that you can set at eye level.
    • When you’re on screen are you dark? Use lights or a light kit to brighten up your face. (I like this one because you can adjust the strength and tone of the light).
    • No one can hear you? Get a microphone to make you sound your best.
  • Be respectful of who you’re meeting with. If you’re going to go to a virtual networking event then be cognizant of what you’re doing. Would you walk into a board room eating in front of your client?
  • Give them your full attention. Don’t be distracted (people driving scare the crud out of me). Taking calls, being able to work the technology without wrecking your car, and having conversations with others on the phone when you’re in a networking meeting shows the other people in the room that you don’t care about them enough to learn about them. That you’re more important and don’t give a fig. Don’t be that person.
  • Be on camera. Yep. It means you might have to get dressed. (Don’t care about the shower.) If you’re going to a meeting for a professional reason, even virtually, then be professionally attired (yoga pants are fine, but top up be “nice”). Do you want people that you’re trying to do business with to know you couldn’t even be bothered enough to get out of bed? (I’ve literally had meetings where people have been in their PJ,s bed head, men bare chested…yeah..not pretty…and no one I want to work with.) Show some respect.
    • Have a mirror within reach to check. Check to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward.
  • Mute yourself if need be. It feeds into the audio of everyone and can distract from the speaker.
  • If you don’t know how to use the technology then go to the help section for the technology.
    • They will usually have tutorials and guides. Yep, you might have to read the directions.
    • Search “How do I” online. You’ll probably come up with a ton of videos and instructions.
    • Borrow a teenager if you need assistance, the ones in my life LOVE showing me how lame I am.
  • ASK if it is all right for you to have a “Note Taker” app. If it’s a networking event, or you’ll be going into breakout rooms it is a pain the *!@#^&% for the meeting leader.
  • Ask if there will be a recording if need be. Also, be conscious that in certain states, you can NOT record the meetings off of the app (which will notify the users), it’s illegal in some states.

The bottom line is that this is your professional reputation. Things you wouldn’t do in an in-person office meeting? You shouldn’t be doing in an on-line meeting. It’s a respect thing. Self respect and showing respect to the people you’re meeting with.

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