Online Meeting Etiquette: Manners Matter

Avoid miscommunication and ensure all participants feel valued and respected.

Online Meeting Etiquette

We've all heard the expression "mind your manners." While this saying may apply to our personal lives, it holds just as much weight in our professional lives. Consider the way you interact with your clients and your team in face-to-face meetings. Now think about how your online meetings are conducted.

Understand appropriate meeting etiquette for online calls

You may not have facial and physical cues to guide you through the conversation; however, displaying proper online meeting etiquette is equally important. An ill-prepared meeting makes a poor first impression and will impact how others view you and your company. It's crucial to establish proper meeting etiquette whether the participants are right in front of you or thousands of miles away. 

Here are some online meeting etiquette basics that will let you put your best foot forward: 

  • Creating a meeting etiquette policy. This can be as simple as putting together a quick bullet list of dos and don'ts before the meeting.

  • Communicating online meeting etiquette expectations. Send out a memo in advance to let the team know what your expectations are for the meeting. 

  • Establishing microphone and keyboard etiquette. Remind everyone that, as a rule, microphones should be muted at all times until someone is ready to speak. Make sure keyboards don't have the caps lock on if chat functioning will be used during the meeting.

Defining your company's client meeting etiquette doesn't need to be set in stone before your first meeting. During the call, note any issues that cause delays, friction, or confusion. As you fine-tune these issues, update your etiquette guidelines accordingly.


Take steps for facilitating online meetings

As you prepare for your meeting, follow these first steps:

  • When: Ask each attendee to choose three options from a range of available days/time slots for your online session. Naturally, this will lead to scheduling conflicts; however, depending on the size of your group, you should be able to narrow down one or two options that work for everyone. 

  • How: Make sure the platform or app you're using for your online meeting is communicated in advance. Encourage attendees to download the necessary software for a test run before the meeting.

  • Where: As the host, you need a space that's quiet and free of distractions. Nothing is more frustrating for online meeting attendees than loud background noise or poor audio quality.

How to run collaborative meetings

If your meeting is a collaborative one, make sure any documents or files that will be discussed are sent well in advance. Determine who will take on what role during the meeting. Ideally, the host, the note-taker, and the team member running Q&A should not be the same person. 

Follow these sure-fire tips for effective online meetings

One of the best practices on how to improve meeting effectiveness is proper planning. Prepping in advance for online meetings will likely increase attendance and promote engagement. These useful steps will help you create a successful framework for your meeting: 

  • Set the agenda: List the items that need to be addressed in your online meeting in a way that allows the discussion to flow from one topic to another. Be sure to share the agenda with the team before the meeting.

  • Choose the right time: If you're conducting an online meeting with a team in another time zone, make it as convenient as possible for them. 

  • Make invites firm but polite: Send meeting invitations well in advance, provide the agenda, and highlight that you expect participation.

  • Encourage attendance: Thank people in advance for attending and remind them that the meeting will start on time. 

  • Define goals: In addition to providing an agenda, list the goals you expect to achieve during your online meeting. Clarify if decisions will need to be made so attendees can prepare.

Follow these sure-fire tips for effective online meetings

Knowing how to run an online meeting with audio, video, and file sharing is vital to a smooth, trouble-free session. Do a practice run with coworkers before your first official meeting to ensure your location, software, and hardware are all working correctly.

You need to keep the meeting on track if you expect participants to remain attentive and engaged, so your agenda should be more than a simple to-do list. Include scheduled breaks for questions or comments, organize requests from attendees to share updates or expertise, and assign participants tasks to keep the momentum going.

As the host, knowing how to participate in meetings effectively can be a fine line to walk. You want to lead but not dominate. Don't be afraid to jump in if the meeting starts to derail and gently, but firmly, guide everyone back to the task at hand. 


Reap the benefits of online meetings run with proper etiquette

When you pay attention to how your online meetings are conducted and follow proper online meeting etiquette, your online sessions will become increasingly more effective. There are three final, yet critical, things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure everyone feels respected. Give all participants lead time to respond to meeting invitations, allow input into the agenda, and start and end meetings on time. 

  • Avoid chaos. Using appropriate meeting etiquette will prevent people from talking over one another, and a preset agenda will keep things on track.

  • Make sure cultural manners are observed. By establishing a clearly defined meeting etiquette policy, you can avoid faux pas that may potentially offend participants from more formal cultures. 

Follow these online meeting etiquette steps for your next virtual session and watch productivity and participation increase. By laying out your expectations, avoiding miscommunication, and ensuring all participants feel valued and respected, you'll be able to master effective online meetings in no time.


Watch how to host an online meeting or set up a conference call

Conference calls and online meetings give you the power to connect with participants easily and effectively. By hosting an online meeting and bringing everyone together in a single digital space, you can communicate ideas and share thoughts efficiently as a group, regardless of distance.


What are the benefits of conference calls?

Knowing how to host a meeting online with GoToMeeting is only part of the equation. Here are some reasons why you should be using conference calling for your business.

Simplify your communications.
Getting everyone together on a single telephone call doesn’t have to be difficult. GoToMeeting’s built-in scheduling and contact options bring your team together at the click of a button.

Connect from anywhere.
GoToMeeting conference calling is compatible with any Mac or PC desktop or laptop. It’s also fully supported on iOS and Android mobile devices via the official GoToMeeting app. This means that no matter where you are, you’ll have direct access to powerful conferencing options.

Integrate with your calendars.
The last thing you need is another program sending reminders and trying to get your attention. With GoToMeeting plug-ins, you can schedule and access meetings directly from Outlook and Google calendars.


Convenient collaboration.

Can’t make the meeting in person? Just join from your iPhone. GoToMeeting provides a professional, reliable experience in the mobile app to ensure you can work together easily:

Full screen sharing

Instantly share your whole device screen, a mobile app or a webpage.

Real-time screen viewing

View the presenter's screen and stay on the same page.

Email invitations

Join sessions in seconds by tapping the link in your invitation email.

Mobile scheduling

Schedule meetings, invite attendees and start sessions from anywhere.

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