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BBB tip: Virtual meeting etiquette

May 22, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated and more people are working from home than ever before, the amount of virtual meetings has increased drastically. Whether it is a check-in with your supervisor or a business-related webinar, the chance that you have had or will need to participate in a virtual meeting is more than likely. For a lot of us, this may be a new method of communication that has never before been utilized at the office. Here are some BBB tips on etiquette for your next virtual meeting.

Be mindful of time. Unlike in-person meetings, where all you need to worry about is getting your coffee cup filled before walking down the hall, online meetings may require a few more technological steps. If not properly sorted out before, common virtual meeting hindrances may cause you to be late. After attempting to join the meeting you may find yourself asking, “Where is the meeting invite? What was my password again? Why isn’t my wifi connecting?”. If your meeting is at 9 a.m., try to log in a few minutes earlier. This will give you an opportunity to address these possible questions and ensure you aren’t keeping anyone on the other side of the screen waiting too long.  

Be aware of your setting. During this time when your spouse or roommate is working from home, your child is out of school, and the doggy daycare is closed, distractions in the home are inevitable. While most will be empathetic to this, given the current situation, it is still encouraged for you to find an optimal location in your home for a virtual meeting. If your spouse is using the office, head to the kitchen table. If your child is watching TV, head to the backyard patio. If the gardener is mowing the lawn, head to the garage. If you are in a busy household this may take some creativity and open communication between you and your housemates. When finding a space to hold your virtual meeting in, be sure the area you are in has adequate lighting, not too much noise, and a neutral background. A setting free from audible and visual distractions will lead to a more efficient and professional meeting. 

Dress accordingly. Virtual meetings are still professional business meetings. Whatever you are wearing during the virtual meeting should be an outfit you would wear in the office to an in-person meeting. Don’t make casual Friday an everyday occurrence. Wearing your normal work attire during a virtual meeting will help to keep you in the working mentality, maintain professionalism, help you adhere to your normal routine, and ensure you succeed while working from home.

Focus on your verbal communication. Whether you are aware of it or not, in daily face-to-face communication, you are continuously giving and receiving nonverbal signals. This includes eye contact, posture, head nods, facial expression, space, touch, etc. This type of communication that is so heavily relied on to inform a speaker at a presentation how they are doing, is hindered over a virtual meeting. As an attendee, be sure to verbally acknowledge that you understand or agree with what is being said. If your camera and microphone aren’t on, this is even more important. Don’t let your presenter feel they are talking into the abyss. Use the chatbox feature and let the presenter know that you are listening and think they are doing a great job. They are likely to greatly appreciate this communication and will feel more confident during the meeting.

During this time, holding virtual meetings in replace of in-person meetings has become a reality for most of us. While this may be new for a lot of individuals, following these BBB tips can help you have professional and successful meetings from your home. 

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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