The do’s and dont’s of Virtual Meeting Etiquette
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “etiquette”? If you think of it as a set of old-fashioned rules that used to be followed by royal family members, it’s time to change your approach! Even in today’s modern, online environment presenters should have strong, social skills.
Following etiquette is a must not only on fancy parties, but also refers to the world of online communication. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts and master your webinar’s savoir-vivre!
First, how do we understand etiquette in the context of virtual meetings? It’s a set of rules and socially acceptable behaviors, that are quite flexible and mostly depend on the cultural, social and business background of your audience.
Nevertheless, we can list up some universal rules, that will help you improve your savoir-vivre skills. Are you ready to learn the most common do’s and don’ts of online etiquette?
#1 Stick to the time frames
Imagine that you’ve reserved a specific amount of time for an appointment and put on hold all your tasks, but when the meeting hour strikes… no one’s there. And then – bam! – a couple of minutes later, hoofing and puffing the presenter arrives… No matter how much apologetic or convincing he might be, the first impression has been already ruined.
That’s why you should always keep an eye on the clock and make sure you not only start, but also finish on time. Otherwise, even the most devoted participants might lose interest or (even worse) trust in you as a professional, which is extremely difficult to rebuild. If you’re the type of “oh I’m so sorry for being late” person, make sure you set up multiple reminders that will help you hit the time.
#2 Practice, rehearse & repeat
Using live webinar software requires public speaking skills, a lot of cold blood, but most importantly – tones of practice. Even if you’ve ran several webinars and you think you could conduct a training with your eyes closed, don’t overestimate your skills. Regardless of your experience, there can be things that will slip out of control.
Before starting, create a check list and test literally everything – from your equipment to each presented item. If you’re a webinar newbie, you might even want to rehearse the whole webinar scenario, preferably in front of a real audience. By running everything smoothly, you show that you treat your audience with respect and take your job seriously.
Of course, even after dozens of repetitions, you should be prepared for unexpected things to happen (like drilling sounds behind the wall just after you hit the “record” button). In any case, make sure that for your part, you’ve done everything to show yourself from the professional side. This will give you a sense of control and strength to overcome any external circumstances. Don’t be scared of imperfection – learn how to manage it!
#3 Mind your body language
Body language is a vital part of online meeting etiquette. Even if your speech is impeccable and your presentation is flawless, your facial expression, posture and overall looks say way more than your words.
Nonverbal communication is even more important during online meetings than on face to face meetings, as your recipients receive only a small amount of information. And this can work either against or in your favour, because the audience will detect even the slightest expression of boredom or nervousness on your face.
Our advice? Stay calm, greet everyone with a confident smile and just accept the fact that your appearance will be judged while public speaking.
#4 Be a careful observer
This is the number one rule of good communication! Whether you’re conducting a training gathering hundreds of people or just meeting with a couple of participants, you should carefully observe your audience’s reactions. Being flexible and willing to read your recipients’ needs and intentions is the key!
Remember when your teacher allowed you to leave the class a few minutes before the bell rang, because he could see that your minds are already wondering towards the recess? Bring that feeling back to your webinar room!
Engage all your senses and master your observation skills until you really step in your audience’s shoes. Savoir-vivre is all about doing and saying the right things at the right time, and you can’t do so without carefully watching your audience.
And the final thought: online meeting etiquette works quite similar to webinar software. At first, you may need some time to figure it out, but once you learn it, you’ll be impressed by how it can improve your communication.
Copywriter, journalist, marketing and PR enthusiast. Loves pouring her marketing witty and creative superpowers into content. Deeply fascinated by how new technologies can affect our psyche and behaviours. Privately, arcade machines, sci-fi movies fan and pizza lover :)More posts by Agata