Even before more people started working from home, virtual conferences were still commonly used as people wanted to be able to communicate face-to-face with other locations without having to travel for a meeting that might not even be an hour long. These days, though, with a good percentage of the population working from home, being able to communicate through virtual conferences effectively is of the utmost importance.
Just like in-person meetings, there are some guidelines that you should follow for virtual conferences that allow you to show respect to the other members of the conference. Let’s take a look at some of those etiquette guidelines that everyone should know about so you can ace your next virtual conference.
One of the worst things that you can do at an in-person meeting is to arrive late. When the other parties are on time, they end up awkwardly sitting there until your arrival, and it sets a bad tone for the whole conference. The same is true for virtual conferences. Just because someone is in their home or office by themselves doesn’t mean that it’s any less awkward for them. Even worse, you’re taking up their valuable time and throwing off their entire day’s schedule. It’s OK to be early, but being right on time is ideal for a virtual conference, just make sure that you’re not late.
When you’re at an in-person meeting, there aren’t many temptations to look at your phone or start browsing the web because you’re giving your full attention to the person speaking. One of the biggest issues with virtual conferences, however, is how easy it is to become distracted from the speaker. When you’re not sharing your screen, it can be tempting to start checking emails or catching up on social media, but you have to stay focused. Respect the speaker’s time and give them your full attention.
Nobody would ever speak over someone who is presenting at a conference in-person on purpose, but when it comes to virtual conferences, it happens on accident all the time. Many people put on their headset without knowing whether or not it’s on mute, and can accidentally speak during a presentation. It’s not malicious most of the time as they’re speaking to someone off-camera for a moment or speaking while taking notes, but it can be distracting. Make sure to double-check your microphone so that it’s always on mute when you’re not talking, and always off mute when you are talking.
Dress For Success
The great part about a virtual conference is that you don’t have to get fully dressed up like you would if you were at an office, but you should at least still look presentable. In fact, it all comes down to the top that you’re wearing. Since people can really only see you from the neck up, try to wear a nice clean shirt at the very least. If you know that you’re only going to be seen from the neck-up, then you can still get away with wearing basketball shorts or sweatpants as long as you look sharp up top.
Raise Your Virtual Hand
Virtual conferences can end up being pretty large in size with dozens, if not hundreds, of people all in the same virtual room. With that said, you shouldn’t just unmute yourself and chime in whenever you want. Instead, many of today’s virtual conference rooms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and more, have options where you can figuratively raise your hand. This is a great feature that makes sure nobody is talking over one another.
Turn On The Camera
Many of us have probably been in virtual conferences where the only person that has their camera on is the one who’s presenting. While in larger conferences this is fine as the presenter will request that cameras and microphones are off, smaller and more intimate conferences should call for everyone to have their cameras on. You might not be “camera-ready” but it shows respect to the speaker of the conference, making things less awkward for them in the process. It also shows that you’re fully attentive toward them and that you appreciate their time.
Stay On Schedule
We already mentioned how important it is to be punctual for a virtual conference, but that’s not the only time-related tip that we have. Most conferences are going to have a schedule of topics that will be touched on, and it’s important to stay on that schedule. It can be easy to start a brand-new conversation during the middle of a virtual conference, but you want to stay focused so that the conference ends at its scheduled time. Many of these conferences are scheduled down to the minute, so respect everyone’s time by sticking to that.