With working from home (WFH) the new normal for workers around the world, virtual meetings have replaced face-to-face meetings in many settings. Whether you’re a person who is confident using new technology or someone who takes a little while to get used to new software and apps, mistakes can still happen, especially when you are trying to multitask. Familiarising yourself with this list of the most common virtual meeting mistakes will save you time, stress and embarrassment when having a virtual meeting with colleagues or clients.
Not double-checking your technology
Even if you’ve taken part in hundreds of virtual meetings, technology does seem to have a way of playing up at the least convenient times! Always check and double-check your technology 10 minutes before your meeting is scheduled to start. This includes your microphone, your camera and your internet connection. Keep your phone handy in case you have trouble with your internet connection and need to dial into the meeting. A spare pair of headphones is also useful to keep nearby!
Muting and unmuting mistakes
The number one rule when it comes to virtual meeting etiquette is to mute your microphone unless you’re speaking. No one wants to hear you eating, drinking, blowing your nose or talking to your kids or partner! Just remember to unmute when it’s your turn to speak to avoid the ubiquitous ‘you’re on mute!’
Trying to do too many things at once
Multitasking is almost unavoidable in the modern workplace, but when you’re in a virtual meeting, it’s important not to get too distracted. Not only do you run the risk of appearing unprofessional, but you might also miss important information. You never know when someone might direct a question towards you, and if you haven’t been paying attention, you could come across as rude or disinterested. Stay focussed and stay interested!
Hogging the meeting
Nonverbal communication plays a big part in face-to-face meetings, especially as a way of knowing when it is someone else’s turn to speak. However, in virtual meetings it is easy for one or two speakers to dominate the meeting and not leave space for collaboration and discussion. Be mindful of the flow of conversation and try to keep an eye on other participants so you can see when someone has something they want to say.
Not observing online etiquette
You probably wouldn’t show up to a face-to-face meeting late or have your phone on loud notifying you of new messages or emails would you? And that means you shouldn’t do so in a virtual meeting either. Generally speaking, observe the same etiquette for online meetings as you do for face-to-face meetings. That means joining the meeting on time, putting your phone on silent, refraining from checking or sending messages and appearing interested.
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