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Etiquette for Zoom meetings

Arno Yeramyan
August 2, 2022

Have you ever had any issues about how to join Zoom meetings, find the right link or adjust your background for Zoom meetings? How about problems with screen sharing that interrupt the flow of the meeting or your microphone that, from time to time, jammed for no reason?These were some of the most common problems almost all of us had, and to some extent still have, when we first started using Zoom. Although connecting with one another through virtual mediums for meetings precedes the COVID-19 pandemic, the market share of online meeting platforms such as Zoom dramatically increased during COVID-19 lockdowns.Let’s admit it: the whole thing looked a little sloppy in the beginning, but luckily, an etiquette for online meetings that most of us agreed on naturally developed over time. There are certain tips for virtual meetings that can not only increase productivity but also make the entire virtual experience much more pleasant for all participants. Keep reading to find out our suggestions on how to navigate Zoom meetings!

Use video when you are available

These days, video conference platforms such as Zoom are not only for those who are engaged in freelance or remote work but basically for everyone who is in the need of communicating with someone who lives far away. With a couple of simple yet effective tips you can figure out how to look better on Zoom meetings.Here are some fundamental tips for a better Zoom etiquette:

  • Use video when you are available
  • Declutter and organize your background
  • Avoid eating and drinking
  • Keep eye contact with speakers
  • Actively listen other participants when they’re talking

Many people of all ages struggle with public speaking, and this anxiety carries over to virtual meetings as well. Now imagine yourself as a speaker, and how hard it would be to gauge your listeners’ reaction if the only thing you could see was a dark screen with just names on it. In order to improve the meeting experience for everyone, try using your video as much as you can, especially when you are available. This will take the pressure off other participants and show them that you care to be present.

Make sure your background is business appropriate

Whether you are joining the meeting from your home office, living room, or kitchen, make sure your background for Zoom meetings is appropriate. If not, you may want to learn how to blur the background in Zoom and apply the feature in order to look more professional. Trust us: a neutral background prevents the other attendants from being distracted and communicates to them the message that you know take the meeting seriously.

Only invite people who need to be in the meeting

Carefully determine the purpose of your virtual meeting and invite people relevant to the job at hand. Inviting irrelevant participants will end up with your virtual room being overcrowded and it will consequently affect the efficiency of your meeting.Invite people whose presence is absolutely required for the meeting. Depending on the context and the situation, you may also want to consider closing down access to the meeting after a certain amount of time.

Introduce people who don’t know each other

Can you imagine a real life situation in which you are expected to feel comfortable and function well, while you are surrounded by multiple individuals whom you have never met? It’s not hard to imagine how uncomfortable the whole thing would make you feel.It is exactly the same for Zoom meetings. When we join a virtual meeting and see many unfamiliar faces, most of us react the same way we would normally react in a face to face situation. It usually makes the participants uncomfortable speaking openly when they are meeting new people.The appropriate etiquette here is introducing people that don’t know each other. This will prepare the setting for a productive and smooth online meeting where participants feel encouraged to participate.

Avoid eating or drinking

Avoiding eating and drinking is another great way to ensure you are presentable during Zoom meetings. An understanding of proper decorum sets the mood for a formal and professional gathering and also invites other participants to behave the same way.While drinking water is acceptable during online meetings, you should avoid drinking other beverages and having snacks. If it is a particularly long and demanding meeting, and if you absolutely need to eat or drink, try keeping it brief and turn your webcam and microphone off while eating or drinking.

Take breaks during long meetings

But how about the etiquette regarding the length of Zoom meetings; how long should Zoom meetings last? The answer is: it depends! It depends on the subject, the people who are present, the topic and the number of participants. While a short Zoom meeting can last twenty to thirty minutes, longer meetings can easily take up to one or two hours.One way to make sure people aren’t overwhelmed by the length of a meeting is to schedule one or two breaks (or more) during meetings that take long. Taking a break is a good way to let the participants rest and keep their focus once you continue.

Use eye contact

Needless to say, eye contact is one of the essential elements of efficient communication. In face to face settings, making eye contact shows the other person that they are listened to and that their presence is acknowledged.Although it is hard to make eye contact in virtual settings, try addressing participants and attendees by name as much as possible. It will encourage them to engage in the conversation eagerly and make them feel included..In Zoom meetings, as in real life, caring for a certain etiquette and a code of appropriate behaviors is essential for good communication. Here, the message to take home is to let others see you by turning your webcam on when possible, to make sure your background is appropriate for the meeting, choose the participants carefully and take breaks if needed. By putting these easy and applicable tips in action, you can enhance your Zoom etiquette and turn your Zoom meetings into more efficient, smooth and productive gatherings.Online meetings are only one part of remote work communications.There are other areas where approaches to communication affects how a remote working team performs their business. This new way of working might not come naturally to some people, but it’s easier to learn and very rewarding once we get the hang of it!


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