Current situations have given us a somewhat alternative to holding meetings. Before now, meetings were put on hold or cancelled if unforeseen things happen, but now the advancement in technology enables us to hold meetings online. Online meetings or seminars are known as webinars, and there are various platforms that organize these online seminars on the internet.
Though a webinar is more of an audio conference, a video conference is a combination of both audio and video features. That's why there is video conference etiquette. Live seminars could get a little frustrating especially when you have to keep up with rules and regulations either as a presenter or an attendee. Unfortunately, participating in a webinar, will not keep you away from all these rules and regulations. As we have seminar etiquette, likewise we have webinar etiquette and also, as we said, video conference etiquette for both presenters and attendees.
First, we will talk about general webinar etiquette tips and video conferencing etiquette tips.
Video conferences can be more productive and enjoyable if you follow some tips. If a presenter is unprepared or ill-equipped to act in a formal, online environment, it can be quite annoying to attend an online presentation or meeting. Therefore, it's important to maintain good webinar etiquette, just as it's important to maintain good online etiquette in general. This opens the door to more effective communication, respect, and efficiency.
Generally, video conferencing etiquette isn't that different from meeting and presentation etiquette, with the exception of a few factors that are unique to online meeting and presentation platforms. It is important to follow these rules of webinar and video conferencing etiquette, which are often forgotten, whether you are a presenter or an attendee:
- Stay away from noise: noise is a rather unpleasant sound wave, especially when attending a webinar. These waves bounce back and cause echoes in the background, which may be a source of distraction for either the presenter or attendee. While you’re preparing for a webinar, seclude yourself to a quiet and serene environment.
- Don’t be late. Most people feel that because it is an online meeting, and there’s nobody watching we can just “connect” whenever we like. Wrong! Either as a presenter or attendee is it good to keep to time. It is even preferable to get set in time to avoid lateness.
- Dress well, especially if it is a video conference. You shouldn’t to dress any which way just because “it’s online”. Ask yourself, “If this were a live seminar would I be comfortable dressed like this?” If no, then you know what to do. If you want so more tips on dressing for video conferences, check out our article “How to Look Good on Video Chat”.
- Maintain a good sitting posture throughout the meeting. A comfortable ergonomic office chair goes a long way when sitting through long webinars or virtual meetings. The Aeron chair by Herman Miller makes a great choice if you can afford one. However, there are several more affordable options out there.
- Be sure to have good lighting if you plan for your webinar to have a video. Avoid a visually noisy background.
Webinar and Video Conference Etiquette for Presenters
- Test everything you will be using a few minutes before you start and look into every detail. From your position, to the internet connection, to the clarity of your voice or video. You do not want to take any chances. Everyone gets a little bit frustrated if the presenter is unable to finish their slides or screen share because of feedback, or needs to pause the webinar to load an app. To ensure you are comfortable with the tools, spend some time testing them before the webinar.
- Always wear a headset, it provides better sound quality for your viewers. You will be heard loud and clear, so you avoid unnecessary questions in the middle of the webinar about audio. This will allow you to be more self-confident and will have a positive effect on the quality of the webinar.
- Eye contact makes your viewers connect, only this time, remember to be looking into your web cam. Thanks to this, you will show that you focus all your attention on the webinar and the audience. On the other hand, viewers will feel as if you are looking directly at them, just like at a traditional conference. As you see, this sample of video conferencing etiquette is also essential!
- Make sure you’re presenting in a way that it is easy to follow. Be plain in your speech, avoid talking too fast and always repeat questions asked before you answer. Consequently, your message will be easier to understand, and, when repeated a second time, it will be better remembered.
- Try to be engaging, even when you’re not talking. You can show your commitment with your body language! Use your facial expressions, nod your head, etc., to let others know you're listening and that you're interested. As a presenter, you will portray yourself as a person who is pleased to be there.
Webinar and Video Conference Etiquette for Attendees
- The less noise the better – if need be, keep your audio muted so as to not add distracting background noise. Try not to disturb those who are talking. Also, don't distract your audience. Therefore, if necessary, mute the sound.
- Ask questions during the Q & A portion, rather than while the host or presenter is speaking. It can also be very distracting, and sometimes speakers may even forget what they wanted to say. Therefore, write down your question and try to wait your turn during the allotted time for asking questions.
- If you feel your question is urgent, try using the chat feature to ask it instead, no one will be interrupted, and your question will be addressed. The chat feature is great for such cases, so if, for example, you are not attending the entire meeting and you have a very important question - ask it there.
- Most importantly, take notes! Yes, this advice is an important part of video conferencing etiquette. Write down whatever information is most useful to you. Taking notes does not bother others, it does not distract or engage other people, however, it is of great value to you. You won't need to ask for important data in the future if you write it down now. So take your notebook and pen with you for your next webinar!
- Give feedback after the webinar is over if the host asks for it. Try to answer the hosts' questions, as they sure want to engage their audience in meeting. What would be even more helpful is if they asked you what you thought of the webinar at the end. Did you like it, or not, or what would you change in the next webinar. Information such as this will be of great value to the speakers.
Webinar etiquette guide 2022
As with any type of meeting or event, there are certain etiquette rules that should be followed to ensure that everyone has a good time. The same goes for webinars!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when attending or hosting a webinar:
- be on time
- introduce a waiting room for latecomers
- avoid side conversations
- stay engaged throughout the webinar
- respect everyone's time by keeping to the schedule
- make sure your lighting is on point
- test your audio and video before going live
- have a back-up plan in case of technical difficulties
- be sure to introduce yourself and your co-hosts
- let your attendees know how they can interact with you during the webinar
- encourage attendees to ask questions throughout the webinar
- have agenda slides ready to keep the webinar on track
- use polls and surveys to engage your audience
- share extra resources resources
- always check your mute/unmute button
- create engaging questions
- prepare to be flexible
- be respectful of time zones
- stay on topic
- have a clear objective
- end with a call to action
- allow for Q&A at the end
- send a follow-up email with key takeaways and next steps
- use the chat function sparingly
- don't forget to say thank you!
Video conference etiquette can be simple. Remember that webinars are a two-way street, and all of these measures can create a more productive and enjoyable webinar and video conference for everyone, so put them to good use! For more video conferencing etiquette tips, check out our article “The Do’s and Don’t’s of Virtual Meeting Etiquette”. Happy webinaring!