Six Rules of Etiquette for Virtual Events and Meetings

Covid-19 vaccine rates globally hover at about five per cent and Canada is sitting at 4.8 per cent as of this writing, which means for the event and meeting planning industry virtual events are still very much a reality for the next while. Soon we can get back to in-person meetings and events, but for now we’re still Zoom-ing.

So what points of etiquette should be noted? Well, a few things. Just as we would be considerate and watch our behaviour in person, virtual meetings also demand proper etiquette.

Here are six rules of etiquette for virtual meetings to bear in mind and that are worth repeating. A refresher, if you will, since we don’t seem to be leaving our houses quite yet.

  1. A quiet place is needed. No, not the John Krasinski thriller kind of quiet place, but an actual one in the space you’ll be “hosting” the virtual event. Make sure the place you choose won’t be in ear reach of any neighbour’s renovations, street repairs, or pets who like to vocalize. Participants want to focus on what the event has to offer, not on the surrounding going-ons of your environment.
  2. Technology. Check, check. Is this thing on? Be sure to have run the whole technology part of the event through thorough tests. Problems will happen. It’s inevitable. But the extent and number of hiccups can be minimized with proper checks in the days leading up to the event. Participants appreciate a smooth-running event, now more than ever since we’ve been at this at-home event participating thing for well over a year now.
  3. Don’t be late. Participants have busy lives like you do. Other events and Zoom meetings to get to. Be respectful of everyone’s time and be on time, if not early. You wouldn’t show up late to an
    in-person event, so don’t be late for a virtual one.
  4. Noise-canceling headphones that sit comfortably around your head are a worthwhile investment. They’ll block out any surrounding noise and will help you focus on the event.
  5. Mute-iny. Oh, the chaos that ensues when attendees don’t mute themselves. Nose blowing, chewing, kids yelling, dogs barking – you get the idea. Nobody wants and needs to hear the blips of life carrying on around you. And if many attendees do that, the noise gets impossible for others. Mute yourself until you need to speak. This should really be rule of etiquette number one.
  6. What you wear matters. If you wouldn’t wear your gardening shirt and jeans to an in-person event, then delete it from your mind that you can for a virtual event. Put on some nice clothes that show you care about the event and everyone attending. Be professional and be groomed.

Virtual events are here to stay for a while, and even when the “new” normal kicks in, we might find ourselves keeping on with virtual affairs because there are some advantages to it. Attendees and hosts will thank you for bearing in mind these rules of etiquette. Keep calm and carry on as they say!

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