Remote meetings are still relatively new to me. I’ve only been doing it for about a year or so.

But no one told me how to be in a virtual meeting.

Do I have to have my camera on?

Am I speaking?

Do I have to prepare anything?

So far, I’ve just been playing these virtual meetings by ear. With no one calling me out yet.

But I’m here to lay down the rules based on both my experience and research. No more looking like a dumbass; I’m not necessarily talking about you; it’s more about me.

Mind you that this list is straightforward and not all-encompassing. But this is aimed at people who are are new to the world of virtual meetings.

Because…

Virtual Meetings Are Here To Stay

Having virtual calls with friends and family members is much different than having virtual meetings for work. For those who are new to virtual work meetings, this guide is for you.

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

The Dont’s

  • Don’t invite unnecessary people into the meeting — Your roommate or significant other don’t need to make an appearance unless it shows-and-tell. If it is show-and-tell, show everyone the funky-looking scarf you knitted during the quarantine.
  • Don’t multi-task — I know most of us to want to be productive and kill two stones with one bird, but it’s essential to stay engaged and on task, just out of respect. If you have a 45-minute long meeting, make yourself commit to that meeting. After all, you might miss something important.
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Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

The Do’s

  • Mute yourself if you aren’t speaking — It helps reduce background noise when others are talking. Sometimes you may not realize it, but when you live close to a fire station and hear the fire truck’s urgent sirens, you can easily ignore it. Your peers may not. They can probably listen to it too. Besides, it also reduces any noise distractions like your dog barking, etc.
  • Be early or at least be on time — If you are hosting the meeting, this is a must. If your meeting is planned for a specific date and time, there is no excuse not to be on-time. Of course, stuff happens. But don’t allow yourself to get caught up in being too busy where you allow yourself to be late all the time. Don’t be that person.
  • Remove all distractions as much as possible — This includes keeping multiple tabs open and working on something else while the meeting is going on.
  • Look presentable — at least from the waist up. Hopefully, no one asks you if they can see your entire wardrobe. But if they do, let them know that you believe that you aren’t dressed appropriately from the waist down. In general, don’t even bring it up unless they do.
  • Ask at least one question per meeting if they ask — Ok, this is not a must, but this is just one way to show the host that you are paying attention to the meeting and doing your best to stay engaged. Most appointments can be a chore, but others can be fun and have a bit of wiggle room for some light-hearted banter.
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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

In conclusion

After all, I’m kind of a pro at virtual meetings. I am just kidding, of course.

Nonetheless, every remote team I’ve worked on is different, and so are the dynamics of their virtual meetings. Not all meetings are the same, so it is still good to continually pay attention to the social/virtual cues at every meeting.

Again, the list above is just the bare minimum. But do these things, and for sure your first virtual meetings won’t look like your first rodeo.