At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, most of us had barely heard of the term “Zoom”. But twelve months on, it is part of our everyday life as we regularly take part in Zoom meetings for work, education or in our social lives. So what are the rules we should follow when attending an online meeting? We have devised this short Zoom Etiquette Guide to cover the main dos and don’ts of online meetings.
The Dos of Zoom Etiquette
- Find a quiet space for your meeting – noisy children and barking dogs will be a distraction to you and your fellow meeting participants.
- Tidy up your background before the meeting begin – there may be junk or the ironing pile in the same room but move them out of sight of the camera. Consider any artwork on the walls and make sure it is tasteful for all attendees to see.
- Make sure the room is well lit – ideally face a window so there is lots of natural light.
- Look at the camera and not yourself – when you are looking at yourself, you are not giving eye contact to any of the meeting participants and then their engagement may reduce.
- Turn off or at least silence your mobile phone – don’t be tempted to check emails or WhatsApp messages while the meeting is on.
- Turn your microphone off when you are not speaking – this minimises any background noise such as rustling papers.
- Have a drink handy – this could be a glass of water or a cup of tea.
- Speak clearly – don’t mumble but equally there is no need to shout. Microphones are very sensitive and should be able to pick up your voice very easily.
The Don'ts of Zoom Etiquette
- Don’t be late – it’s rude to be late for a face-to-face meeting so it’s equally rude to be late for an online meeting. Leave yourself plenty of time to find the meeting link which may have been emailed to you in advance. By joining early, it also gives you time to iron out any unexpected hiccups with your camera or sound.
- Don’t wear your pyjamas – when working at home, the normal work dress code is certainly not as rigid as in the office but for Zoom meetings, please make an effort to dress smartly and “tidy yourself up” a little. You will feel more confident and ready to face people online when dressed properly rathe than sitting in your pyjama bottoms.
- Don’t reply to emails while the meeting is on – close all other windows (on your computer) while the meeting is on so that you are not distracted by any email notifications. The noise of your vigorous typing may be heard by other attendees and they will be able to see that your gaze is in a different direction. Of course, you may miss valuable information from the meeting when you are looking at your emails.
- Don’t eat during the meeting – the attendees don’t want to see or hear you enjoying a bowl of cornflakes. It is simply an uncalled for distraction from the meeting.
- Don’t interrupt or talk at the same time as other people