In the modern era of remote work and digital connectivity, online meetings have become an integral part of our professional lives. With the rise of platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, the virtual meeting room has replaced the traditional boardroom for many organizations. While online meetings offer convenience and flexibility, they also come with their own set of challenges and etiquettes. As someone who has experienced their fair share of virtual gatherings, here are five things I wish I knew before I joined these online meetings:

  1. Test Your Tech Beforehand: One of the most crucial aspects of any online meeting is ensuring that your technology works smoothly. Whether it’s your internet connection, microphone, or webcam, taking the time to test everything beforehand can save you from potential embarrassment or technical difficulties during the meeting. Make sure your audio and video settings are configured correctly, and test your internet speed to avoid lags or disruptions. Being technologically prepared can make a significant difference in how smoothly the meeting flows.
  2. Establish Meeting Etiquette: Just like in-person meetings, online meetings require a certain level of etiquette to ensure productivity and professionalism. Familiarize yourself with common online meeting practices, such as muting your microphone when you’re not speaking, using the raise hand feature to indicate you have something to say, and avoiding multitasking or distractions during the meeting. Respecting these etiquettes not only makes the meeting more efficient but also shows your colleagues that you value their time and input.
  3. Prepare and Participate Actively: It’s essential to come to the meeting prepared and ready to participate actively. Review the meeting agenda and any relevant materials beforehand so you can contribute meaningfully to the discussion. Take notes during the meeting to stay engaged and capture important points or action items. Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your thoughts or ask questions—active participation not only helps move the meeting forward but also demonstrates your commitment and involvement in the team.
  4. Mind Your Background and Appearance: Your environment and appearance play a significant role in how you’re perceived during an online meeting. Choose a quiet, well-lit space for the meeting and ensure your background is tidy and professional-looking. Avoid distracting backgrounds or clutter that could take the focus away from the meeting. Additionally, pay attention to your appearance and dress appropriately for the meeting, just as you would for an in-person gathering. Presenting yourself professionally reflects positively on your credibility and professionalism.
  5. Follow Up and Follow Through: The conclusion of the meeting is not the end of your responsibilities. Make sure to follow up on any action items or commitments you made during the meeting promptly. Send a summary of the meeting outcomes or any follow-up materials to all participants to ensure everyone is on the same page. Following through on your commitments demonstrates reliability and accountability, fostering trust and collaboration within the team.

While online meetings offer convenience and flexibility, they require careful preparation and adherence to certain etiquettes to ensure effectiveness and professionalism. By testing your tech, establishing meeting etiquette, preparing and participating actively, minding your background and appearance, and following up and following through, you can make the most out of your online meeting experience and contribute positively to your team’s success.

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