Preparing for Online Meetings and Best Practices for Participating

online meeting tips


Online meetings can be just as dreadful as in-person ones but has the bonus of jumping back into bed immediately after if you’re working from home. Virtual meetings give teams the flexibility of working in different locations while still having face-to-face interactions to hasten the process of never-ending e-mail threads that people can conveniently “lose” in their inbox. Even though every member has the added comfort of being wherever they want to attend the meeting, the expected professionalism remains the same. This includes mandatory dress clothes on top, but also the option of comfy pants at the bottom.

Preparing for an Online Meeting

Everyone knows how to participate in an in-person meeting for the most part, but online meetings take a similar, yet distinct skill set including the ones needed in the time before it starts. After agreeing that a meeting is necessary, use some of these tips to prepare for an online meeting:

  • Only invite people on a need-to-know basis.
  • Send the video conference link then set a date and time to ensure that everyone knows how long to expect the meeting will be and has it blocked off in their schedules.
  • Make sure everyone knows their role and what to have at the meeting.
  • Set an agenda to keep the meeting on track.
  • Prepare a quiet, neat space where you know there will be limited interruptions.
  • Practice going over your contribution to the meeting.
  • Make sure your webcam, microphone, headset, and the video conference link work at least an hour before the meeting to avoid being late.

Proper Etiquette and Best Practices for Online Meetings

Just as most professional environments, business meetings in an online environment still require basic, courteous behavior from all participants. Obviously meaning that you shouldn’t lie down when you’re not speaking or sitting with your elbow on the table with your face resting on your hand. Here are some more tips on how to behave during an online meeting:

  • Be on time.
  • Greet everybody and make sure everyone gets a chance to introduce themselves.
  • Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking.
  • Look professional – dressy on top, optional-styled bottoms.
  • Stay engaged and indicate that you’re actively listening through nods and other positive body language.
  • Look into the camera when speaking rather than at yourself.
  • No multitasking! This includes not opening other tabs or checking your phone, which should be on silent.

Pay attention to any unconscious behavior from other participants during meetings to keep in mind what to avoid doing in the future.

Tips and Goals

Just as with any official meeting, most participants look forward to one thing: the end of the meeting. Because time is valuable for everyone, especially across time zones, it’s important that meetings are succinct and straightforward. The end of the meeting should include a rundown of what was discussed and the next steps to be completed.

Finally, after every participant is satisfied that there is nothing to discuss until the next, if you’re the facilitator, thank everyone for joining and exit the video chat. Try not leave as soon as someone says, “that’s it!”