When I graduated from The Protocol School of Washington, I named my first company Real-World Etiquette. I still think it's a good name.
But it turns out not everyone could spell etiquette -- and the new college grads I was serving weren't all that big on the real world.
Yet the world needs professional etiquette more than ever. This includes Zoom etiquette. Without basic professionalism, we waste our time and tear our hair out.
So let's talk about this.
To make it easy, I've put together a few thoughts, along with a Zoom etiquette checklist you can apply to your next meeting. I also want to hear from you.
When it comes to workplace etiquette (this includes the virtual workplace), what are your pet peeves or must-haves? I invite you to leave a comment.
Zoom Etiquette, Part 1:
One Week Ahead
- Decide if you even need to meet by Zoom. For example, if you can accomplish your goal with a simple phone call, why not opt for that instead?
- Decide who needs to attend, based on your objectives. Consider running smaller meetings, which give each person more face time.
- Send out the agenda, just as you would for a non-virtual meeting.
- If necessary, upgrade your hardware, software and wifi connection. To make a good impression, you need a smart, stable connection. Your teammates need to be able to see you and hear you.
- If you called the meeting, make it your job to send out the Zoom invitation. If you're attending, be sure to open the invitation and RSVP by clicking "Yes."
- Update your Zoom software. This is now required. Click here for instructions.
Zoom Etiquette, Part 2:
One Hour Ahead
- Check your audio. Likewise, if you're going to be visible, make sure you're centered on camera.
- Check your hair and clothing. How you dress and groom is how you'll be perceived.
- Check your background. Make sure it won't distract the other people on the call.
- Mute the alerts on your phone and/or desktop. Maybe not an hour before, but at least a few minutes before.
- If you need to eat, do it now instead of on the call.
- Have the meeting agenda in front of you and a way of taking notes.
Zoom Etiquette, Part 3:
During the Zoom Call
- Show up on time.
- If you're leading a staff meeting, appoint someone to take notes. Likewise, be sure to include other people in the discussion.
- Mute yourself whenever you're not speaking.
- Shut the doors and windows to eliminate unwanted sounds (e.g., sirens, barking dogs).
- Look at the camera instead of your screen.
- Resist the urge to sneeze on camera! Show consideration for the other people on the call.
- Follow the agenda.
- Make note of any follow-up items required after the call.
Zoom Etiquette, Part 4:
After the Zoom Call
- Schedule any follow-up items so that nothing falls through the cracks -- if they're minor, take care of them on the spot.
- Follow the protocols. Example: If your team has a running list of bug fixes on the new software, add those items to that list. Simply passing it along in a Zoom meeting or text does not take care of it.
- Send a recap of the meeting, as needed.
- Write down how you can make your next meeting even better and more effective.
My old professor Dr. J. used to tell students, "Don't do anything that would detract from my ability to teach or your classmates' ability to learn."
Good point. Whether it's wearing distracting clothing, over-participating or oversharing, there's a parallel here for Zoom meetings. Since it looks as though they're here to stay, why don't we do what we can to make them count?
What are your Zoom etiquette must-haves or virtual-meeting pet peeves?
Leave a comment below