06 August 2021

Video Meeting Etiquette

I can't believe this hasn't blanketed the internet (or maybe I haven't seen the blanket coverage), but here are a few items of video meeting etiquette that might be tough to hear but is what everyone wishes you knew.

Always enter meetings on mute

You might be confident about starting every meeting with your video active, but never think charging into a meeting unmuted is what people really want.

If you are regularly late to meetings, expect a lot of loathing from your colleagues. This is equivalent to entering an in-person meeting already in progress while arguing with your spouse or sibling over some personal matter. Silence is golden.

Using only laptop (computer) microphone and speakers makes you "that person"

This creates the least awesome echo tunnel evar. Everyone will hate to ask you questions because you'll need to activate the voice tunnel to answer. No one wants the tunnel! No! One!

You can spend about $12 on Amazon to buys a four-plus star rated headset with earpiece and boom mic. This will win points with your colleagues by leaps and bounds. They might even throw you a party.

Stay on mute when not actively engaged in discussion

If you never involve yourself vocally in a meeting, there is no reason to not be on mute. Your keyboarding, food chewing, slurpee slurping, dog barking activities are so much less subdued when a microphone is added to the scenario.

Please mute yourself if you know you need to cough or sneeze. At least move away from mic if you can't click a button in time. If we learned anything from Zonday, it is to move away from the mic when merely breathing.

And if you are guilty of the situation above, just stay on mute...forever. Your mic will likely try to pick up all sounds to make sure you are heard. You will be, as well as every other sound around you.

Add a profile picture to your account

This is less of an annoyance than the first three, but it can really help people quickly identify you. Most meeting platforms will switch to your account's representation when you speak. Video is cool but not always possible. A picture to represent is a nice welcome. It helps to have an actual photo of you, especially for meetings where people don't know the whole audience. Even if you choose to upload an image of your cat, it's still better than just a name.

Note: This is very beneficial for other communication mediums such as interactive chat/messaging. Just having the system-generate initial(s) for your name will help others assume you are someone else at a quick glance. I tend to quick glance at a chat when multitasking.

One of my smaller chat groups involved five other people all with the first initial "S." The chat tool defaulted to a color circle with the initial of the first name...and the colors were duplicated. To make matters worse, the colors didn't help. It would have been nice if the two green circles were the men and the two pink circles were the women or vice versa. But no. Green was one man, one woman. Pink the same. Color didn't really help. It took extra time to figure out which "S" I was answering. "Is the green 'S' Sharon or is the pink 'S' Steve? No, that green 'S' was Sharanya!"

If you know of other things which I didn't list, feel free mention in the comments. I know these are the recurring things which should have been said now that we've all experienced a year communicating in this fashion.