10 golden rules for better video conferencing

A large part of these rules does not differ too much from any other meeting etiquette. Being prepared is always good. Being dressed properly also almost always helps. But there are some things about virtual meetings that make them particularly tricky.

25 Mar 2020


Before a meeting

No meeting without agenda: Whenever you send a calendar invite for a meeting, please make sure to include a brief agenda in the meeting notes.

No meeting without moderation: For each meeting, one person is appointed who guides through the agenda, acts as a moderator and keeps track of time. This person is named in the meeting notes of every calendar invite.

No meeting without preparation: Shortly before joining the meeting, make sure that you have your microphone and camera turned on, the headphones connected, and — if possible — found a place without too much background noise. If available, please use your headset.

No meeting without outcome: Clarify the goal of the meeting and the participants’ expectations directly at the beginning of each meeting. Track results at the end of the meeting.

During a meeting

No meeting without participation: If you have something to say, make yourself visible! At the beginning of a meeting, the moderator decides whether questions are asked aloud, with hand signals or by using the chat function. Also, the moderator actively involves meeting participants, e.g. when evaluating a discussed option. Remember: Nodding in agreement cannot be seen if you have not turned on your camera.

No meeting without a face: It is much easier to follow (and simply more sociable) to see you while you are speaking. So, if the connection allows it, please turn cameras on. No worries: your home office dress code is perfectly fine. ☺ If it’s the chaos in your improvised office that makes you worried: Most video providers have a “blur function” for the background — google it!

If you are the presenter: Please use the screen share function to share your presentation. If you are not the host of the meeting, ask the host to give you the admin rights to do so. Before starting, remember to prepare yourself and open the presentation in advance.

If you are the listener: Please mute yourself, and do not forget to unmute when commenting or posing questions. Otherwise, do not get upset if nobody listens.

Troubleshooting: If the connection is weak, try the following: Turn off all participants’ cameras (only the presenter might leave his camera on).

If technology lets you down: Stay calm and keep trying.

Also: Don’t forget to smile, finish stretching exercises before, straighten your hair and/or beard once again. Many conference providers have a short camera check before the actual conference… for technical reasons, for cosmetic reasons, as an opportunity for spiritual gathering. You got this.

Bonus: If you write down the essential points in a document after the meeting and even share them with others after consultation, you make yourself extra popular.