By now we’ve all experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of virtual meetings. Zoom has reported 300 million daily participants using their video-conferencing platform during the second quarter of 2020, according to Betsy Morris in this article for The Wall Street Journal. As using digital tools – Zoom, Facetime, Skype, GoToMeeting, and other apps — has become necessary and ubiquitous, we’ve gotten better at using them – but there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to Zoom etiquette.
9 Zoom etiquette best practices and tips
For job candidates and hiring teams, putting our best foot forward still counts, even if we’re barefoot and in gym shorts. In-person professional behavior needs to translate to the remote format — and it can. Follow these tips for better Zoom etiquette to make a good showing and demonstrate consideration of other participants.
When you know the agenda ahead of time, gather all your data and notes before logging on to the meeting. If you wouldn’t leave the conference table to go get something, don’t do it in a video meeting either. Planning in advance and pulling up the electronic documents you’ll need to share or refer to will make the meeting more efficient. Show your preparedness by also figuring out any new technology before the call starts. A dry run can’t hurt, especially if it will be your first time to host.
Greet and introduce people.
Hosts need to lead the way in welcoming people to the meeting. Treat participants as if they are entering into the conference room. Once initial introductions have been made, Zoom gives everyone the benefit of the label that accompanies each talking head, sort of like a virtual name tag.
Join the meeting on time, and if you are the meeting host, start it on time. Morris points out, “Zoom’s waiting room allows a host to decide how long laggards must cool their heels before being granted entry. A rule of thumb: There’s no need to recap for a late arrival.” On the other end of the meeting, hosts do well to leave last.
Take turns well.
In person, several side conversations can happen at the same time before the meeting starts. That won’t work on Zoom. Default to muting yourself until you have something to say. Moderators can facilitate give and take by noticing and calling on someone when they unmute themselves. Zoom also has a raise-hand feature, or you can simply raise a hand on camera to indicate you want to speak. The meeting moderator then functions like a teacher calling on students in a way that encourages all to participate.
Just as a traditional workplace requires manners, Zoom etiquette also requires professionals to be mindful when it comes to eating during meetings. The one exception here is if the meeting is planned to be a lunch or coffee break meeting. Otherwise, eating on camera is a new, remote version of chewing with your mouth open or talking with it full.
Again, imagine a real conference table. Generally, we stay put. Picking up your device and walking down the hall, perhaps inadvertently tilting it toward the ceiling in the process, creates a distracting disorientation for your colleagues. If one of them happens to be sensitive to motion sickness, you can imagine how uncomfortable you could be making them. If you must move, turn off your camera until you land again.
Camera on or off?
Speaking of your camera, for the most part, keep it on. If someone does turn their camera off, though, they aren’t necessarily hiding something or not paying attention. Perhaps their Wi-Fi connection is experiencing some temporary wobbles and nixing the camera will prevent them from losing the connection entirely. If that happens, it’s a good idea for the person to comment in chat to alert others that they are still engaged.
Look at the camera.
“Be sure to position your web camera and monitor at eye level so you can look into the camera and simulate that eye-to-eye connection with other attendees,” says John Montgomery of Zoom. Besides, no one wants to look up your nostrils. Enough said.
Having other tabs open, answering email, or answering texts need to be off limits during a remote meeting. Others might not know what you are doing, but they will be able to tell you are not fully present. “Keep your phone to the side and turned over so you’re not tempted to glance at it,” says Alison DeNisco Rayome writing for CNet. “Looking away from the camera at other content on your laptop or monitor is also pretty obvious, and not the best look to whoever you’re supposed to be paying attention to.” If you absolutely must take a call, excuse yourself, turn off video, and mute yourself momentarily. Think of it as stepping out of the room.
Beyond Zoom etiquette — adjusting to the new workplace “normal”
Adjusting to changes in the workplace, including Zoom etiquette, can be challenging, but when we rise to the occasion good things usually follow.
Whether you are an employer seeking some staffing changes or a talented individual ready for a career change, put our recruiting track record and network to work for you. Contact us today!
Want more tips? Read our previous article on video interviewing for candidates.