With staff now increasingly working from home because of coronavirus, people are going to have to learn how to use online meeting software and also how to make sure they follow the right etiquette. As a business, we use online meeting software a lot. We use it to run demos of Stedfast and also provide online support to our clients.
As we enter this period of self-isolation and remote working, we thought it might be helpful to provide a few tips, from our experience, about online meeting etiquette.
1. Turn up to the meeting
An online meeting is just another meeting. It might not involve the usual offer of coffee and biscuits before it begins but it is still a meeting. If you have a meeting booked at 10 am in your calendar then you need to turn up to it. You should also aim to logon to it a few minutes early to make sure you have a good broadband connection, your audio works and you have installed all of the necessary software. There is nothing worse for a meeting host than a no-show as they sit there waiting for attendees to join. If you can’t make the meeting, then, as you would normally, cancel or rearrange – don’t just ignore it.
2. Install the software on your smartphone or tablet
Most online meetings will be conducted on your PC or laptop but as a back up you should also install meeting software apps too. If you have an issue with the software/hardware then you can easily switch to your mobile device. Likewise, if you have any internet issues, you can still join the meeting using your mobile network.
3. Learn the meeting software features
If you are new to using online meeting software then practice using it with a friend or colleague first. Take some time to understand the features, settings and general functionality. Don’t get caught out on a meeting when you need to share your screen but don’t know where to find that button to do that or can’t figure out how to unmute yourself.
4. Get dressed
Don’t be tempted to roll out of bed ad 8:50 am for your 9 am online meeting with bed head and dressed in your pyjamas. Keep it professional and dress appropriately.
5. Don’t eat during your meetings
A bit like getting dressed, don’t turn up to your 9 am meeting crunching your cornflakes. You wouldn’t do it in a normal meeting. Drinking is fine as you would do that in a face to face meeting.
6. Consider your surroundings
Think about where you are joining the meeting from within your house. Joining from the kitchen with a couple of empty bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and a leftover pizza in the background doesn’t give a great impression. Find a room that has a tidy background and good lighting. Don’t join a meeting from your bed or the lounge with morning TV clearly playing in the background.
7. Camera position
Make sure the camera is central to the screen if you are using it on a PC and position it at eye level. If you are using a laptop with a built-in camera then make sure it is tilted to the correct angle. If you are using a smartphone or tablet then prop it up. Colleagues and clients don’t want to spend a meeting looking up your nostrils!
8. Audio settings
The audio quality is key to a successful online meeting. Make sure your settings are correct. Most laptops now have suitable built-in audio equipment that stops feedback. You can also use headphones with a microphone too. If you are having problems with your audio settings then simply dial in using a phone – most systems offer the option of connecting with inbuilt audio or dialling in. Likewise, don’t have music playing in the background and try to keep your children out of the meeting too!
9. Keep away from distractions
Don’t be tempted to start checking out Facebook on your smartphone or type an email during an online meeting. It is distracting for other attendees and just a little rude!
10. End the meeting and double-check
When the meeting has ended make sure you have closed it properly. There is nothing worse than thinking you have ended the meeting and start discussing attendees only to find you only minimised the tab and you are still broadcasting. Double-check you have ended it.
Tech Tip Broadband speeds
As the UK prepares to log on tomorrow morning for office calls and school lessons there is going to be a huge demand for broadband speeds. In some areas where there has still not been a full rollout of fibre broadband, people will be grappling with really slow connection speeds. Some of the online meeting systems are quite hungry for bandwidth and so attendees will just need to consider this. If people are struggling they should also dial into a meeting and only have their video on when they are speaking as this will reduce some of the pressure on their bandwidth.
If you can connect with a cable to your router that will also help. Don’t pick the corner of a room with the worst wifi coverage.