Online Meeting Etiquette Tips

Follow these meeting etiquette tips to make your video conferences more productive and enjoyable for all participants.

Prepare for the meeting

Before the meeting:

  • Ensure all meeting participants have the meeting invitation link and materials in advance of the meeting. Consider setting up the meeting with no moderator.
  • Make sure your presentation is ready to show. Test it before you start the call.
  • If your presentation is visually dense or contains video, consider distributing it to participants in advance.
  • Be prepared to leverage good meeting practices, such as sending an agenda in advance; having a meeting facilitator, time keeper, and note taker; and sending out minutes after the meeting.

In the meeting room:

  • If you are the remote site on a video conference, seek as quiet a space as possible with no or minimal background noise.
  • Arrive early to allow time to troubleshoot and resolve any potential issues with equipment.
  • Ensure that everyone has their cameras on. This provides a more complete interactive experience for the meeting.
  • If you are connecting from a laptop, try to plug in to wall power, because battery use can adversely affect video quality.
  • Consider setting up a back channel for communication to the other site(s), such as Slack, Jabber, or email. This allows for communication without interrupting the discussion.
  • Close all blinds and doors to cut down on potential glare. Interior lighting should not be too dark or too bright. Normally, the settings used in a traditional work environment are adequate.
  • Adjust the camera angle or seating position to ensure you are on camera.

Communicate effectively

When you begin the meeting:

  • Once all attendees are present, take a minute to conduct an audio check. Making a quick round of introductions is an effective way to do this. Introductions break the ice and ensure that everyone can hear each other properly.
  • If you plan to record the meeting, notify all participants at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Always remember and acknowledge when there are remote participants. Reach out to them periodically to see if they have a question or something to contribute. Having remote participants on video, versus audio only, ensures that you remember they are in the meeting. Remote participants should not be an afterthought.

During the meeting:

  • When not speaking, make sure your audio is muted. This will prevent inadvertent noises, such as coughs, rattling papers, or chair squeaks, from interrupting others.
  • In the primary conference room, do not shuffle papers or cover the microphones on the table.
  • Speak clearly and in a normal voice. There is no need to shout.
  • When videoconferencing with many sites, start your comment or question by stating your name. This helps other sites identify who is speaking.
  • As with any meeting, limit side conversations and multitasking.
  • Leverage online collaboration tools like Google Drive to take notes, share content, and collaborate real-time. This enables all participants to interact, versus using a physical whiteboard or other physical visuals only available in the primary conference room.
  • Tell others if you leave the video conference early.

Minimize body movements

  • Avoid quick movements, which make it difficult for cameras and microphones to keep up with you. Quick movements may appear jumpy or choppy to others on the call.
  • Maintain eye contact with the camera and stay engaged in the meeting.
  • Do not turn your back to the camera.

Work effectively with video conferencing technology

  • When you ask a question or request information, allow time for slightly delayed responses because the system may experience slight transmission delays.
  • Direct your questions to a specific individual.
  • When possible, avoid interrupting others as they are speaking. Many video ​conferencing systems have a voice-activated switching feature to automatically move the camera to the active speaker. Interrupting another speaker may confuse the voice activation.
  • Establish an understanding among participants of when and how to interrupt. For example, have people raise hands or otherwise signal that they want to speak.
  • Consider posting pending questions via chat.
  • Make it safe to call out participants on poor meeting etiquette.


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Posted by: Laurie Sherrod - March 9, 2020.
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