Today, online meetings are an extremely common way to collaborate. Even so, even the most skilled meeting guru should not forget to consider the online meeting etiquette. We all must have seen the viral video of the live BBC World News interview which was interrupted when the interviewee’s toddler ran into the room. Only wanting to get daddy’s attention, followed by a baby wobbling into the room in a walker. They were followed by a shocked woman who somehow managed to encourage the kids to leave the room. Even though all of us viewers found this extremely hilarious and entertaining, surely it’s hard to laugh when it happens to you. So, as a recap a few months later, what did we actually learn after all the hype?
Firstly, when considering online meeting etiquette and attending a meeting from home, you should make sure that you won’t be interrupted by your children, pets or husband/wife. We are not saying to cage your children or lock your husband in the closet, but make sure the kids are entertained during the meeting or that there is someone who can look after them until the meeting is over. If you can’t find a babysitter at the time, you can inform the meeting attendees about the situation in advance and try to minimize any interruption if you are able to. The others will surely understand. That’s what working from home is after all: adapting and making compromises, but most importantly embracing the combination of work and home-life.
Second important issue to cover is the background when choosing to show your video (Hint: You can turn it on and off in Drum). As you spend time at home almost every day, you easily forget to acknowledge your surroundings. For example the pile of laundry on a chair right behind you which all the online meeting attendees can easily see. Part of online meeting etiquette is to assure there is nothing distracting in the background. The best background for a video conference is simply a wall. The “beautiful” pictures drawn by your children are nice, sure, but not really appropriate in the background of an important online meeting.
Meeting and conferencing has gradually shifted to the online environment, it is extremely easy to host an international meeting with attendees from all around the world. We all know that doing business in an international environment requires a certain set of adaptation and understanding of other cultures and their values (as well as other people’s interpretations). Understand each attendee’s background and make the meeting more approachable with cultural diversities. Understand certain mannerisms and ways of expression.
Time, time, time! is your next consideration or important factor. International online meetings need to be scheduled so that attendees from different time zones can easily join the meeting. Some cultures are also more time oriented than others. Be prepared for some attendees to find the start and finish time flexible, as online meeting etiquette differs between cultures.
Some advice on your device
By using Drum you don’t need to stick to your laptop in case you left it at the office or just generally prefer using a mobile device. With browser-based meetings you don’t need to consider software compatibleness or downloads. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare the device for the meeting. If you have documents that you want to share, be sure you have backups and the latest versions available. Make sure your device is fully charged and the microphone works. Even better, we advise you to use a headset rather than laptop or phone microphone, since it offers noise isolation and better sound quality.
There are several things to consider when thinking about online meeting etiquette. Attending a meeting from home can be extremely enjoyable once you have done all required preparations. If you’re not sure if your preparation is enough, you can read our tips on how to prepare for a web meeting. Anything that has to do with documents, devices or even clothing, you should make sure you are ready on time for the meeting. If you want more insights on what to wear for an online meeting, check out our recent post.
You can also create a full checklist where you write down the above points and add anything necessary after each meeting once you’ve learned what works best. A checklist is also a great way to prepare your mind for the meeting. Once you have covered all the points, go ahead and join the meeting!