Navigating the Virtual Space: Etiquettes for Online Meetings and Sessions

In the rapidly evolving landscape of remote work and virtual interactions, online meetings and sessions have become the norm rather than the exception. 

The transition to virtual platforms has brought outstanding convenience and flexibility. It has also introduced a new set of challenges. This includes the need for proper etiquette to ensure smooth and productive interactions. 

Whether you are attending a virtual meeting for work, participating in an online class, or joining a webinar, adhering to certain etiquettes can enhance the overall experience for everyone involved.

1. Be Punctual:

Just like in-person meetings, punctuality is key in virtual settings. To make sure a smooth start, join the meeting a few minutes early to test your audio and video settings. Being on time shows respect for others’ schedules and helps set a positive tone for the meeting.

2. Dress Appropriately:

Even though you are attending from the comfort of your own space, maintain decorum. Dressing appropriately for the occasion shows professionalism and respect for the meeting’s purpose. A full business suit might not be necessary. Avoid attending meetings in pyjamas or clothing that you would not wear to a physical meeting.

3. Mind Your Background:

Choose a quiet and clutter-free environment for your online sessions. A neutral or professional background is preferable. If that is not possible, many platforms offer virtual backgrounds to maintain privacy and eliminate distractions.

4. Test Your Technology:

Ensure that your internet connection, microphone, and webcam are working properly before the meeting starts. Familiarize yourself with the platform’s features, such as screen sharing and chat functions, to avoid technical hiccups during the session.

5. Minimise Distractions:

Eliminate potential distractions by silencing notifications. Close unrelated tabs or applications and inform household members about your meeting schedule. Maintain eye contact with the camera and avoid multitasking. This shows active participation and engagement.

6. Use Professional Language and Tone:

Communicate clearly and professionally during the meeting. Avoid slang or informal language. Be mindful of your tone and volume, as online communication can sometimes be mistaken without visual cues.

7. Practice Active Listening:

Give speakers your full attention and avoid interrupting or speaking over others. Use non-verbal cues, such as nodding or hand gestures. This shows that you are actively listening. If you have a question or comment, wait for the right opportunity to speak.

8. Respect Others Speaking Time:

Allow each participant the opportunity to speak without interruption. If the meeting has a fixed moderator, follow their cues regarding speaking order and time limits. Avoid dominating the conversation and be concise when expressing your thoughts.

9. Participate Thoughtfully:

Contribute to the discussion by sharing relevant insights, asking questions, and providing feedback when appropriate. Use the chat function to share resources or clarify points without disrupting the flow of conversation.

10. Follow Up Appropriately:

After the meeting concludes, follow up with any action items or commitments discussed during the session. Send a thank-you email to the organiser and participants, expressing appreciation for their time and contributions.

In conclusion, observing proper manners in online meetings and sessions is essential for fostering effective communication, collaboration and professionalism in virtual environments. By adhering to these guidelines, you can contribute to a positive and productive online experience for yourself and others.