What to consider when in a web meeting – Web Meeting etiquette is very different than traditional meeting etiquette

So you have decided to scrap the boardroom meeting and host the meeting online. It saves you time on attending the meeting and increases the flexibility for you and your meeting attendees. What could go wrong? Everyone will attend the meeting on time (providing they use a web meeting tool with no downloads!). Whether you enter your web meeting as a first time user or a seasoned user there is always web meeting etiquette to abide by, usually different to the traditional meeting.

I was recently in a web meeting discussing strategies and how the next 12 months was going to unfold. We had some attendees who were new to the concept of a web meeting and wasn’t quite aware as to how much of the background noise your microphone can pick up. I am sure my colleague was not aware we could hear, but he was enjoying a tense racing game whilst in the meeting. The noise of VROOOOOM! Would increase and decrease as he was (we assumed) taking corners. After approximately 20 seconds, we decided to mute his microphone, without him noticing to, remove us from his intense race. This entire use case breaks so many of the web meeting etiquettes but is very common practice, just most attendees remember to mute their microphone!

Background noise is never acceptable in a web meeting

So what are the web meeting etiquettes we should all consider?

Timing
Web Meetings can be hard to attend on time for a variety of reasons. Here are the typical reasons:

  • Internal firewall issues
  • Ensuring the right version of the software is downloaded
  • Losing the meeting link

These are all common causes for even the most experienced web meeting user. Systems update, internal protocols change and we use a variety of devices. Here at Drum, we live and breath our web meeting solution, knowing it inside and out, but we still join the meeting 15 minutes prior to the start time. Drum has no downloads or system requirements, so be sure to allow additional time on top of this if you are using a solution requiring a download at some stage.

Background noise
The obvious one from above is the background noise. Whether it be a barking dog or your car game you have running in the background. Be sure any background noise is kept to a minimum. The smallest of things such as taking a sip of your coffee becomes amplified into each meeting attendees ears. Once or twice, I am sure you will be forgiven. However, a glass of juice, a coffee, a packet of crisps and then a biscuit later you will quickly either be muted within the meeting or the meeting attendees become disgruntled. Both of which will reduce or completely remove your contribution to the meeting.

Speaking over someone
This is quite possibly the hardest meeting etiquette and yet equally important in comparison to the others mentioned. We don’t really get that personal feel with a web meeting or see the full body language of everyone in the meeting. Traditional meetings allow us to read body language and understand who is about to speak and who isn’t. You can be forgiven for starting to speak at the same time as someone else, but you can’t be forgiven for continuing to talk over someone. You can’t simply raise your arm in a web meeting, you should always wait for the person to stop speaking.

Attention to meeting
Keep your attention on the meeting. It is easy to drop your attention when you are not in the same room as your colleagues. If anything, it is more important to keep your attention in a web meeting than it is in a traditional meeting. You have few physical prompts in a web meeting to bring you back on track if you do lose your concentration. Before you know it, your line manager has asked you your thoughts on a subject you have no idea about and didn’t hear what was being mentioned beforehand.

Keep your attention within the meeting and take notes along the way if you are someone who easily loses their focus. At least this way you have ‘checkpoints’ to refer back to if you do find yourself in a sticky situation.

Remember, you are still on camera!
You have started losing attention in the meeting, skipped to a website inside your browser to check out some information on your next vacation, but you forget you are still on camera. ‘out of sight out of mind’ springs up here, and you begin to start getting excited about all the things you will be doing on your weekend vacation in the sun. The facial expressions are really shining through. But wait… you are still in that strategy meeting!

Shopping whilst in a web meeting is not only distracting but you will also be discovered before you know it!

The important meeting you are suppose to be engaged with, and it definitely isn’t something people usually smile as much as you have been. You will either be agreeing to complete that task, agreeing to goals which are far from achievable or just seem over enthusiastic which just raises concerns! Your camera is still active, remember, keep focused on the meeting as tempting as it may be to venture off to something else assuming someone won’t catch on.

On top of these, don’t forget meeting etiquette for the traditional meeting. We need to consider the entire spectrum of a meeting and take it upon ourselves to remain focused within the digital meeting arena. Come to each meeting prepared and ready to engage within the meeting. We want to hear about the occasions you have been in a web meeting

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