Zoomers and shakers, or the unspoken virtual meeting rules
Engagement 4 minute read

Zoomers and shakers, or the unspoken virtual meeting rules

Megan Orr | March 15, 2022

With remote work gaining in popularity, it’s past time to standardize virtual meeting rules, from cameras on (or off) to when it’s acceptable to interrupt the speaker. Learn which of the unspoken virtual meeting rules you might be breaking.

At the start of the pandemic, stocks in Zoom—an application that the majority of people had previously never heard of or rarely used—skyrocketed, with, according to the NASDAQ, the telecommunications company’s yearly revenue in 2020 increasing by 367%.

Although the majority of people have gotten used to attending virtual meetings, there might still be some room for improvement when it comes to virtual meeting rules. 

According to Entrepreneur.com, as of only October 2020, people had “spent more than 5.5 billion minutes attending virtual meetings”.

The number one complaint that most employees have about virtual meetings? They take up a lot of time. With many organizations opting for hybrid work in 2022, employees definitely value their uninterrupted work hours. The first thing you might want to consider is: would this meeting be better as an email?

A survey found that “42% of remote workers found the continuous stream of virtual distractions on various apps ‘deeply distracting’ and felt most productive when working for a long period of uninterrupted time”. Not to mention that employees are actually less likely to absorb information in a video call, with statistics showing that employees are “three times more likely to deliver on actions agreed in writing”, with 30% not completing actions agreed upon over video calls.

Not only are video meetings not always the best use of time, but they’re also not a good use of your resources. Research shows that excessive video conference meetings can cost employers “more than $1,250 per employee, per month in wasted time”. 

Here are some of the virtual meeting rules that you can follow to ensure your meetings are more efficient and productive to boot:

  • Create an agenda or, if strapped for time, make the topic of the meeting clear from its title/description. 
  • Respect everyone’s time. Try not to run over time without warning and don’t show up late.
  • Give the meeting your full attention. Mute your notifications on your messaging application, put your phone on silent mode, feed your pets or kids beforehand, and do whatever else you can to limit distractions. 
  • Start with your video on. Of course, in some organizations video isn’t compulsory, but it’s good practice in general to greet people with your video on and then turn it off afterwards. 
  • Mute yourself. Always keep yourself muted if you’re not speaking. And double check that you’re muted to avoid any potentially embarrassing situations.
  • Try not to interrupt. Use the hands up or chat feature if you have any questions and only interrupt the speaker if it’s to let them know their slides aren’t showing or there’s an issue with audio. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but generally it’s best to not interrupt anyone who’s speaking.
  • Take notes or assign someone to take note of any points, questions, or tasks that come up as a result of the meeting. This can help eliminate the risk that people will forget tasks assigned to them by sharing the meeting notes after. 

If you have any expectations about virtual meeting rules that you want your employees to follow, write them down. Create a virtual meeting policy and share it with everyone in your organization, outlining what the expectations are, if there are any exceptions, etc. By creating a policy, you create clarity and a jumping-off point for future discussions around virtual meetings and the best ways to host them.

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