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Virtual Meeting Etiquette

Are You Prepared For Your Meeting?

Civilizations are built on the principles of etiquette that are defined by governed positive behaviors within social interactions. At the core of etiquette lies our ethical codes, ever changing cultural norms, and how we identify with the groups we are immersed in. So, no pressure.

But really, don’t worry! You’ll be great! Keep yourself firmly rooted in delivering the most authentic and polite version of yourself while actively listening and engaging with others in a virtual meeting is just an exercise in approaching others in the same way you would like to be approached.

Ask Yourself These Questions Ahead of Time:

Where and how should start?


Whereas farm to table is an appealing concept, farm to desk is pretty unprofessional. A clean home is a happy home, but at the very least test a spot in your home (i.e. in front of a bookshelf like most news correspondents, or in your home office if you have one). Turn your phone, computer, or laptop on and position it so that you are facing the camera head on.

Lighting, whether too much or too little, can distract from your presence and make it difficult for others to see you. Include adding a lamp behind your camera to illuminate your face without washing you out. It’s super flattering, so that’s a bonus.

Now that you know where the camera is going to be pointed, make sure it’s clean! Dust, sweep, vacuum, and fold! Bend the knees. Also, a bookcase or mantel in the background is only as distinguished as the absence of clutter. Edit your chachkies!


And for those who believe their glass display cases of action figures are art gallery quality for any virtual meeting, but they in fact are not and you are in fact being judged.

If I drop my laptop or phone what will they see?


Do us all a favor and dress in an entire business or business casual outfit from top to bottom. A cohesive outfit is a magical and empowering thing. Plus, when you Mr. Rogers back into your athleisure it will feel like more of a reward.

Coco Chanel’s advice was to take one thing off during a final mirror check before leaving the house. Although one thing you want to remember to put on before you start your meeting is good posture. Remember that your body language speaks volumes.

How would I like to be treated during the virtual meeting?

As Buddy the Elf would say, “I like smiling, smiling's my favorite” and I have to agree. Not for the entire meeting, that could be disturbing, unless you’re in the middle of a World Clown Association Zoom meeting.

Eye contact goes a long way and maintaining a welcoming online presence (to include full attention, throughout the meeting will leave a positive lasting mark on the other participants.

What is my method for staying engaged and actively listening?


Everyone is different in this department and oftentimes by knowing how you learn. For example if you’re prone to auditory learning, maybe listening alone works best for you to stay engaged in the moment.

Perhaps you are a visual learner and taking notes or reading material ahead of time is best whenever that is an option. Also, when you prepare for the meeting you will be able to better identify your own motivations for engagement which will organically keep you alert throughout the meeting.

Actively listening is a skill that is best honed with empathy and taking an interest in what each person has to say. Typically for a virtual meeting you will need to accommodate for any lag in connection therefore verbal affirmations of understanding can be replaced with body language and a nod to show you are picking up on what they are discussing.

Asking questions that are relevant and specific to the topic being addressed is a key element to virtual meetings and proactive participation. However, reading the room, so to speak is also key and following any specified guidelines set by the meeting coordinator in order to ask questions is a prime example of virtual meeting etiquette.

Lords & Ladies of the Manners

App-ly Yourself
If you are unfamiliar with the type of video conferencing app being utilized for the meeting, sign up ahead of time to make sure your software is up to date and everything is working as it should. Don’t be afraid to play with the app and ask a friend to do a test call with you so you’re comfortable with the buttons, bells, and whistles.


Cos you’ve got punctuality
Probably one of the most important parts of virtual meeting etiquette is making sure that you join the meeting early or on time so that no one is waiting on you.

Don’t eat during the meeting
Nothing says “I'm not engaged” like a face full of food during a work meeting, especially when a question is directed at you.

Don’t multitask
Even though the meeting is online, people know when you’re not paying attention 100%. It’s a show of respect to avoid multitasking during any meeting. Again, with the provision of a meeting within the World Clown Association as juggling is required throughout the entire meeting.

Don’t chew gum
I can’t believe I even have to write this. You should know better.

Even if your spirit animal is an albatross coming in hot for a landing with some practice you will approach any virtual meeting with poise, diplomacy, and the professional etiquette necessary to guide your career and build relationships.

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