Online Video Meeting Etiquette: What do you need to know to ensure a good virtual meeting experience

I am reading a lot of articles lately from people giving tips on etiquette for online meetings for both participants and hosts. This has all come about because of Covid-19 making it so more than ever people have been working from home. Most of these people will not be going back into the office unless it is part time.

There appears to be a need for people to understand that meeting from home is a little different than meeting in the office. Even though it is a little different most of the same rules still apply.

I will give you a little background on me. I have been working globally with remote teams for 20 years. We didn’t have video conferencing way back then and some how we still managed with plain old conference calls. Also, the tips probably need to be separated a little for different types of conference calls just like different types of meetings.

People are using online video conferencing tools for a vast variety of meetings, training sessions, and calls. The etiquette is probably the same for each type but there are some other needs that can be met to ensure a good experience.

Be Prepared

Materials - Just like with any other type of meeting be prepared. Have your slide show ready and either uploaded into the conferencing tool or open on your desk top ready to go. Do not go rummaging through folders on your computer to find things you might need for the call.

Be familiar with the conferencing tool – whether you are using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or any other conferencing tool, understand how the tool works prior to the call. You want to know how to let people in from a waiting room. How to share your screen. How to mute/unmute people as well as any other functionality that you may need to use. I have been on many video conferences where the host doesn’t know how to use the tool at all, it doesn’t go well.


Ensure you are in a private quiet place where no one will be listening in from the side or potentially disturbing you. I know, sometimes the kids come in or the dog starts barking and people are very understanding about those things.

   - Don’t host meetings driving or from a place like Starbucks unless you absolutely have to

   - Only share the meeting invitation with people that should be in the meeting and use functionality like     a password and a waiting room to let people in.

Use Video

For meetings with clients or training events I typically use video. For internal meetings with my own teams, I do not. Some people will be telling you to always use video, its nice to be able to see what people look like and put a name and voice to a face. I feel video is optional for participants but for the host it is pretty much mandatory unless you are not in a good location.


At home ensure your background is business video friendly. What the heck do you mean? I mean have wall behind you or some sort of nice set up staged. Do not use a location where people are walking and things are happening, and above all do not use a background of your bedroom with clothes on the floor or some other location with lots of “background noise.

Virtual background – You can always use a virtual background which is just a picture that appears to be behind you through out the video conference. You can set one up with your company logo or essentially anything. I don’t do this often, but I like it when I see other people doing it.


Use headphones with a microphone or some sort of speaker/microphone. Do not use just the computer speaker and microphone you will sound like you are in a trach can.

I have both a Jabra conference speaker and a Jabra head set with a microphone that I use depending on how quiet the area I am in is.


Utilize a cohost or producer if you are the host to help you manage the conference system and monitor the chat. Its difficult to be presenting and managing the conference room and chat when giving a presentation.


Speak clearly with some pauses to ensure you can be followed easily by the audience. IF it is a meeting ensure you do introductions and give people a chance to speak. I like to ask people questions that are on the call or ask their opinion on something to help keep people engaged. This also let’s the meeting attendees know you value you their thoughts and that is why they are there.

Be clear and concise as people will not be looking across a table at you.

Avoid Multi-tasking

It is simply inconsiderate to be multi-tasking during an actual meeting. It is unlikely you would do this during an in-person meeting, don’t do it in a virtual meeting as well.

NOTE: Make eye contact is one I keep seeing everywhere. It means look at your camera to give the illusion of eye contact. Listen do not get offended if people are looking at your presentation and not the camera. Also do not be offended if the host is looking at their presentation and not the camera. I would advise looking at the camera when talking directly to people but also if you are presenting, we want people focused on the content, whether it be a presentation, training or simply an update. 



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