Best Practices: Participating in a Virtual Meeting

Virtual meetings provide an opportunity to gather people in different locations efficiently. In order to make your meeting as productive as possible, meeting participants should consider the following best practices.

Before the Meeting:

Before the meeting, ensure that you are prepared to participate effectively. Best practices include:

  • Technology and Equipment: Ensure that you have all necessary equipment to effectively participate.
    • Computer with appropriate microphone and camera. You can also connect via telephone if necessary.
    • Headset: optional depending on set up (improves audio quality and reduces background noise).
  • Practice: Join the session early to test audio and video and troubleshoot any issues. If you are not comfortable with the technology, be sure to ask for a test beforehand.
  • Review Platform features: Become familiar with meeting features in advance.
    • Mute & unmute
    • Raise hand feature
    • Video on & off features
    • Chat box
  • Setting: Choose a setting to connect from that will maximize your and others’ experience.
    • Ensure there is sufficient connectivity/bandwidth to participate.
    • Join the meeting from a quiet place without distractions or background noise.
    • When sharing video:
      • Be careful not to backlight yourself. Side lighting is best.
      • Be aware of your appearance and your surroundings. Avoid clutter or distractions in the camera view.
      • Adjust camera placement to clearly show your face and minimize background distractions.

During the Meeting - Videoconferencing Etiquette:

  • Respect the established group norms.
    • Unless you are participating in a smaller meeting, mute yourself when you are not talking to reduce background noise for other participants. 
    • Share video when appropriate according to your meeting norms as it allows people to connect with each other better than audio only.
    • Use chat box or raise hand feature as appropriate.
  • Be aware of your behavior: because you are on a video conference, people can see what you are doing at all times.
    • Avoid the temptation to multi-task when participating in an online meeting.  It is usually obvious to other participants that you are not fully engaged.
    • Avoid distracting behavior like eating or fidgeting.
    • Do not take phone calls or chat with others in your office. A good rule of thumb is, if you would not do it during an in person meeting, do not do it in a video conference.
    • Do not leave a video conference, even temporarily without telling others. Use the chat function if you do not want to interrupt the meeting.
  • Look into the camera: when you are talking, look into the camera instead of looking at yourself talking on the computer screen. It will help others feel as if you are fully engaged and present.