As more and more people join the working from home workforce, Zoom has become an invaluable tool. We can connect to other members of our teams without having to leave our homes, which allows us to communicate effectively and collaborate with each other. Zoom has encouraged us to stay connected, productive, and all from the comfort of our dining rooms or home offices.
That said, just because you get to hop on these calls from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean that there’s no etiquette you need to follow. Zoom meetings are still social events, and there are still protocols you should follow to remain professional. Here are the 5 meeting etiquette tips you need to remember before you jump on your next Zoom meeting.
Tidy Your Space
Before you even get on the call, take a look at the space you’ll be in. Is it clean and tidy, with dirty dishes or clothes put away—or at the very least, out of sight? Or is the space littered with junk?
A virtual meeting is still a meeting, and you need to look professional. If you were meeting with your team in your workplace’s office, would you invite them into a room with old dirty dishes everywhere? Probably not!
So before you even click the link to join your Zoom meeting, take a look at where you’re taking the call and tidy it up. Try to choose part of the room where the background is neutral, so it won’t be distracting to everyone else on the call. A plain wall or a bookshelf are great backgrounds.
Zoom also has virtual backgrounds, so if you can’t find anywhere in your house that offers neutral backgrounds, remember you still have options.
Turn Your Video On
For the second meeting best practice, make sure to turn your camera on. Think about it like eye contact. When you’re in a meeting, you make eye contact with everyone else in the room. This is polite, and also builds trust and confidence.
The same is true on your Zoom call! If the other participants on the call have to stare at a little black square, not only does it not allow you to build a solid connection with them, it also means they’ll probably be more unengaged in what you have to say.
Humans are social creatures, and we rely on eye contact and body language to stay connected and communicate effectively with each other. Even though you can’t be in the same room as the other participants, you can still turn your camera on to let them see your eyes and read your body language!
Another thing to remember is the look at the camera when you’re speaking. It will definitely be tempting to look at the other people’s faces, but looking at the camera when you talk will better replicate the same kind of eye contact you’d have in person.
Mute Your Microphone
If you’re not currently talking, you should mute your microphone. This is especially true if your house is noisy, but even if it’s relatively quiet you should still mute it. Background noise can be really distracting for everyone else on the call. Kids shouting, pets barking, and even the sound of your furnace turning on might pull the other participants’ attention away from the business being discussed.
Everyone on Zoom talking all at once is confusing! So as long as you’re not the one speaking, you should mute your microphone. This will reduce the amount of distractions coming from you that other people on the call have to deal with, and will allow the meeting to go on smoothly.
While your microphone is muted, you might find yourself needing to communicate with the others on the call without interrupting. In these situations, hand signals are super useful! Take a look at these hand signals you can use during your Zoom meetings.
Don’t Do Anything Distracting
Speaking of distractions, in general you should try to remove anything that might be a distraction to yourself or to the others on the call before you click that Zoom link.
Even with your microphone muted while you’re not speaking, people might still be distracted by the things going on in your video.
For example, one thing to avoid doing to keep from distracting to other participants is eating. You should try to keep from eating on your Zoom talk. Instead, remember to eat before the call starts, or wait until after it’s done.
The same is true for having conversations with other people in your house. Not only will people by distracted by the silent conversation you’re having, it’s also rude! People are taking time out of their day to be on this Zoom call, and ignoring them to have a conversation with someone else is impolite. Wait until after your call to have any other discussions.
You should also avoid multitasking, especially if it doesn’t have anything to do with work. People will know you’re not paying attention to the meeting, and you might miss out on something important!
Whether you’re the host of the Zoom call or a participant, it’s important to stay engaging while you’re on the call. We all know how boring work meetings can be, and when you do them through Zoom it can be even harder to stay engaged. There are so many other things going on in your house that catch your attention!
So when it comes to be your turn to talk, it’s important to be as engaging as possible. This means using the engagement tools Zoom has, like screen sharing and using poll questions to keep everyone listening and make sure they’re paying attention.
If you can, you should also stand up when you’re taking your Zoom call. When we stand, we appear more energetic, which will keep the other participants’ focus on us. Just remember to make sure that you’re still in frame—it won’t do much if people can only see your torso!
As the workforce becomes more dynamic and more and more people begin working from home, the way we work is changing too. One of the things we need to adjust to is staying engaged with our teams via virtual meetings.
Virtual meeting platforms like Zoom are incredibly useful tools. Allowing us to work from home and stay in communication with other members of our workforce has facilitated the shift to home offices. But while we’re on these meetings, it’s important to remember there’s still an etiquette!
So remember these 5 meeting etiquette rules before you hop on your next meeting. Make sure your space is tidy, you’ve eliminated any distractions, and you have a thorough understanding of the engagement tools Zoom offers. While you’re on the call, turn your camera on and mute your microphone when you’re not speaking. By following these rules for Zoom etiquette, you’ll ensure your meeting is engaging and effective, even though you can’t do it in person!