Online communication has been around for a long time now, but many of us have still preferred face to face interactions, only until recently. With the rise of virtual communication tools like Zoom, communication in the workspace is evolving and we're here to help with that. So, while we navigate Zoom and its hacks, we’ve prepared this guide on the right online communication etiquette.
- Remember, always introduce everyone
It particularly becomes problematic if not everyone on the call knows each other, so we would definitely recommend that the host of the meeting introduce everyone. Or even better, you could try having a short and quick ice-breaking session for everyone to introduce themselves on those “mega meetings” of 20 people or more.
Just as you wouldn’t forget to introduce a new colleague or client to someone during a face to face interaction, be sure to do the same virtually. The last thing you’d want is a colleague feeling left out during a Zoom meeting.
With Zoom, it’s particularly easy to introduce someone new when they join because as the host, you’ll need to let the person in, and once you do so, remember to give them a shout-out.
- Be punctual
One thing we’ve realised is NEVER be late for a meeting. Why would you want to unnecessarily tick off your boss? So, practice punctuality even during virtual meetings. If you’re the host, don’t forget to take a few minutes ahead of the call to check your settings as well as your internet connection.
Sometimes our days are filled with back to back calls, so you will have to be considerate of others. If you’re late for your call, chances are the meeting may go on longer than expected. Which means someone else on the same call might be late for their next Zoom meeting.
It’s a good thing to always remind yourself that you have to respect other people’s time.
- Give everyone a chance to speak
Something oddly disorientating about Zoom meetings is that everyone in the group has to talk one at a time. With face to face interactions, you will find that small groups may organically form. However, with online communication no matter how large the group is, you can only listen to one person at a time.
Once you are aware and comfortable with that, remember to always pause and let everyone digest what has just been said. This will also give someone else an opportunity to speak up, which in turn creates the right dynamic for the meeting.
Also, if you find that someone in the call is not giving others a chance, you can always write your idea in the chat, so that you do not lose your train of thought. The moderator can then come back to your point, ensuring that you will be heard.
- Basic tricks of the trade
Apart from the above mentioned guidelines, the basic social rules also apply to online meetings. Firstly, always look presentable. You can wear whatever you want from the waist down, unless for some reason you need to stand up. As for the waist up, put on something that looks professional or that you would wear to work. Check your appearance one last time before signing in.
Secondly, maintain eye contact. We are constantly reminded to maintain good eye contact when speaking with someone. So, the same rule applies here as well.
Thirdly, eliminate surrounding distractions like notifications from your mobile phone or apps that run on your desktop. Many people find it highly disrespectful when attendees are not concentrating on points that are being discussed. So try to get rid of all distractions and you will be able to focus better.
We hope that with these few tips, you will be able to have more productive and strategic meetings moving forward. Remember, even with technology readily available to us, it’s still easy to feel overwhelmed with this new normal. So, if you remember to be respectful, polite and mindful of others, you’ll get the most out of these virtual social interactions.