It feels like only yesterday we were joking about pairing our sweatpants with button-downs for the company All Hands. But that was back when virtual meetings were the exception!
We’ve since attended more online discussions, happy hours, baby showers, and brainstorming sessions than we can count—to the point where virtual meetings are the new norm.
Particularly in professional settings, most meetings will be held online unless the invite states otherwise. And with this new standard comes a virtual code of conduct to make sure everyone on the call feels heard, engaged, and can properly participate in meaningful conversations.
No matter how comfortable and casual your team is during your regular sprint review meetings, virtual meeting etiquette is vital to boost productivity, put your best foot forward, and build professional relationships.
Read along as we dive into the fundamental rules of modern meeting manners including what virtual meeting etiquette is, its benefits, and 10 essential rules for any professional online setting.
- What is Virtual Meeting Etiquette?
- 10 Virtual Meeting Etiquette Rules
- 1. Know your meeting platform
- 2. Come prepared with a meeting agenda
- 3. Be respectful of each other’s time
- 4. Dress for success
- 5. Avoid distractions
- 6. Know when to speak and when to listen
- 7. Keep note-taking to a minimum
- 8. Long meeting? Schedule breaks
- 9. Leave space for questions
- 10. Make a closing remark
What is Virtual Meeting Etiquette?
Remember that saying: treat others the way you want to be treated? Well, meeting etiquette follows a similar train of thought. 🚂
Virtual meeting etiquette sets the bar for how teams and leaders are to conduct themselves and treat others during online meetings. Think of it like a standardized set of guidelines to uphold professionalism across the board. 🏼🏾
If a company wants all of its employees to follow a specific protocol when connecting with other departments, leading project kickoff meetings, or attending formal settings, we suggest providing a resource documenting exactly what’s expected. In this case, you might tie your online meeting etiquette back to your company’s core values, philosophies, or goals. 🎯
And if your company doesn’t have its expectations readily accessible—no problem! Any of the following tips are good rules of thumb to make a lasting and positive impression on whoever you meet. More on that in a bit, though. ⬇️
Keep in mind that mutual respect and general business etiquette are nothing new! But there are some major differences between virtual and in-person meetings that you must consider in order to stay on track, on time, and informed.
Why is Virtual Meeting Etiquette Important?
In short, virtual meeting etiquette is important because our time is important!
It also sets the tone for the meeting and fosters strong working relationships by adhering to a consistent degree of professionalism.
It’s easy to wrack up valuable minutes or even hours of your week in front of a “could have been an email” meeting—where some members of the team are astral projecting into space while others guide the discussion off-topic.
The time spent waiting for others to join, engage in conversation, or catch up on missed talking points really adds up. And as nice as it is to see our team members through the screen, there are more intentional ways for us all to spend our time.
Beyond your daily calendar, there are other significant benefits to maintaining proper virtual meeting etiquette—starting with respect for your peers.
Almost every aspect of business meeting etiquette ties back to simply being prepared.
Dedicating time, thought, and effort to a meeting before it takes place shows your team, leaders, and potential clients that you respect them. Plus, it keeps your meetings running smoothly by setting up and guiding the conversation to improve overall collaboration, productivity, and team communication! ✅
Thoughtful virtual meeting etiquette leaves plenty of time to listen, think, and respond to each other. This not only establishes trust among attendees, but sets everyone up for success by letting them know what they can expect from you, and what you expect from them in return.
10 Virtual Meeting Etiquette Rules
Even if you feel like you generally embody proper virtual meeting etiquette, the little details make all of the difference.
When it comes down to it, the person who applies that 1% of extra effort to that daily scrum meeting will always be the one to leave a lasting impact. Being on time, polite, and attentive is not enough to show your peers and organizers exactly how much work or knowledge you’ve put into a meeting.
But no need to worry! We’ve got you covered with 10 virtual meeting etiquette rules for any online business setting. Treat these rules as your personal etiquette SOP, share them with the team, or check your current conduct against them to see where your efforts excel and where they could be improved.
Plus, tons of resources, templates, and tips lie ahead for even more support as you master this new skill—just in time for your next Agile meeting. 😎
1. Know your meeting platform
Similar to the way you’d visit classrooms before the first day of school or locate the conference room on your tour of a new office, it’s important to know the platform you’re using for virtual meetings.
If you’re hosting the meeting, establish yourself as an expert on your virtual meeting platform by being confident in your use of the software. If you’re using a tool that people aren’t familiar with, be prepared to answer questions quickly and help them focus on the meeting by not having to focus on the technical experience.
And while we’re on the topic…if it’s up to you to choose the meeting platform, pick one that people are likely to have used before or will catch onto quickly like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet.
Another big part of knowing your virtual meeting platform is knowing its features. If your meeting requires the ability to create break-out rooms, screen sharing, or collaboration on a shared resource, make sure the platform supports it.
Using dynamic meeting management software like ClickUp is a great way to make sure your experience using video conferencing tools like Zoom is seamless and productive every time.
ClickUp’s Zoom integration helps you command your virtual meeting space better, follow through on your agenda, and lead discussions without having to navigate away from your Workspace.
Start Zoom meetings, watch the recording later on, or review the meeting summary—all from within your ClickUp task! And if your meeting is already in progress, ClickUp will automatically post a comment with the link for everyone involved to join ASAP.
2. Come prepared with a meeting agenda
We’ve mentioned it before and we cannot stress it enough—prepare, prepare, prepare!
Have a plan for the meeting before it starts and create an agenda to give your discussion a clear direction from start to finish. For top-notch virtual team meetings, share your meeting agenda with participants well before the meeting so they have time to look over it, know what to expect, and add anything necessary.
If there are any materials your attendees need to read or respond to ahead of time in order to participate in the discussion, treat your agenda like a set of directions and give attendees the proper amount of time and resources to prepare on their end.
The best way to make sure you’re ready for any meeting is with a customizable meeting agenda template that covers all of your bases. ClickUp’s vast template library is full of free resources for every use case—including this one!
Come prepared with an agenda that is specific to your situation using this All Hands Meeting Template by ClickUp or the Committee Report Template to communicate clear objectives.
Both templates promote transparency across your team or organization and align members on key goals or targets using features like ClickUp Docs, custom statuses, and multiple project views to establish clarity and encourage collaboration.
Another way to prepare for the meeting? Know what’s on your screen before you share it. Having 1,000 tabs open isn’t a good look. And while It wouldn’t be the first time someone accidentally shared sensitive company information, a private Slack conversation, or their Spotify Wrapped playlist—you don’t want it to happen to you.
3. Be respectful of each other’s time
First of all, be on time. ⏱
As a meeting host, it’s never good virtual meeting etiquette to keep your team waiting and especially not potential clients.
But the same rule applies to meeting attendees—don’t keep your host waiting! Your host is most likely one of your teammates, a member from another department, or a manager. You probably work with them on a daily basis or even have a friendship with them. Treat them with the respect we all deserve by showing up ready to start the meeting at the planned time.
If you’re someone who sometimes struggles with daily time management, use ClickUp to set a Reminder! Your future self will thank you for the heads up. 🙌🏼
Plus, we all have busy schedules, but resources like this interactive Team Schedule Template by ClickUp will make sure every member is in the loop on when and what meetings to expect in the coming weeks. As a leader, you’ll also see how your team’s itinerary is filling up so you can make strategic decisions about the best use of their time!
4. Dress for success
We might joke about the sweatpants and button-down combo, but you should still follow it for all virtual meetings.
Whether in the office or online, dressing appropriately is so important. Proper etiquette suggests that you wear to your video conference what you would to an in-person work environment. But the good news is there’s some leeway with virtual meetings since the screen is cropped well above the wast—meaning, yes, you can wear those Uggs!
Beyond just looking nice, your virtual meeting wardrobe should align with the tone of the meeting itself. Avoid distracting jewelry, patterns that won’t translate well on video, or graphic tees that others may not understand.
5. Avoid distractions
Avoiding distractions includes avoiding the urge to multitask. Stay focused on the meeting at hand! if your host prepared and shared the agenda ahead of time, you can assume that each talking point is intentional and pertinent to the conversation. Before the meeting, remember to…
- Put your phone away
- Turn off the TV or music
- Mute any notifications
- Close your extra tabs
And please, for the love of all things good and productive, do not eat on the call.
Chaotic backgrounds are another common focus-killer during virtual meetings. If you’re at a coffee shop, have the kids for the day, or share an office space with your partner, choose an alternative background or use a blurring effect to keep yourself and all other meeting attendees dialed into the session.
Look for something clean, minimalistic, and neutral. Then, you can focus on finding the spot in your house with the best lighting instead of the most aesthetically pleasing wall.
No need to scour the web for one of these perfect backgrounds, though!
Click the images below to save these free backgrounds and avoid the distraction of others walking through the back of your big presentation. 📩
6. Know when to speak and when to listen
Active listeners not only give every individual the chance to speak but show that you care about what they have to say.
The meeting host and participants must find the balance between speaking, listening, and asking questions to understand someone—not tear them down. This will help everyone involved get more out of the conversation by promoting open-mindedness as well as open communication!
Here are a few more ways to incorporate virtual meeting etiquette into your discussion style:
- Speak with confidence, but keep it concise
- Avoid repeating yourself or driving the point home too hard
- Keep your mic on mute unless you’re told otherwise or speaking
- Save questions for the end of the discussion unless the host asks for them
Another issue we’ve all run into during virtual meetings is the dreaded audio lag. 🙄
No matter how strong your wifi is, the connection still drops sometimes during online meetings! To avoid speaking over someone or disrupting the flow of conversation, use the raised hand feature on your platform if possible, or express your interest to speak in the chat. 🙋🏼♀️
7. Keep note-taking to a minimum
Even though your intentions are in the right place, avoid taking detailed meeting notes unless you’re instructed to do so. Instead, stick to the key conversation points and review the meeting minutes later on if there are any glaring holes in your notes.
A major benefit of virtual meetings is the ability to record the entire meeting or create a meeting summary. Lean on those features to make the meeting itself as strong as possible—frequent pauses in the conversation disrupt the flow of information, slows your agenda, and waste precious time.
As a meeting host, designate a member of your team to take meeting minutes and let your participants know that they’ll be distributed promptly after the meeting ends. This helps you and your attendees stay present and will keep you from having to repeat yourself!
Meeting minutes summarize the framework and key takeaways from important meetings. They’re shared with everyone involved and keep your progress top of mind to execute follow-ups and action items faster.
Resources like this Board of Directors Meeting Minutes Template and the Meeting Minutes Template by ClickUp make this process more organized and efficient with customizable, pre-built pages to manage teams, notes, and details in a collaborative ClickUp Doc!
Want to learn more about how minutes can improve your productivity in meetings? Check out this how-to guide for writing effective meeting minutes every time!
8. Long meeting? Schedule breaks
If you just know the meeting is going to be a doozy, schedule time in the agenda for a quick break.
Let yourself and your peers take moment to step away from the screen, grab a snack, or have a stretch. It won’t hinder the conversation—it will vastly improve it! Brief breaks will help everyone stay in good spirits without fighting fatigue or headaches.
It doesn’t have to be long, just set your timer in ClickUp for five minutes and pop open that soda water because you deserve it.
And if the meeting you’re attending doesn’t state whether breaks will be offered, leave a quick “brb!” in the chat if you need a breather, simple as that. 💬
9. Leave space for questions
Build the Q&A portion of your meeting into the agenda so your peers have the proper time to mentally prepare questions, voice their opinions, or offer suggestions.
…If you took all of these virtual meeting etiquette rules to heart, you probably just finished a hefty and engaging conversation—expect that people will have something to say about it. 🙂
Pro tip: encourage your meeting participants to reach out with questions, ideas, or comments even after the meeting has come to a close.
10. Make a closing remark
You know that panicked feeling before taking a picture that makes you blurt out “what do I do with my hands?!” Well, cutting off a virtual meeting without a closing statement is the professional equivalent of that.
Before your peers sign off, briefly go over the immediate next steps, how and when you will follow up, any deliverables, and the timeline going forward.
Pro tip: ClickUp can help you delegate action items from Docs, Whiteboards, comments, and more, so you can get the jump on these tasks without skipping a beat! Turn text, screen recordings, and objects into tasks connected directly to your workflows to increase efficiency and keep the meeting momentum moving.
Then—and most importantly—thank your team for their time! You all did great work today. 👏
Modern Virtual Meetings Start in ClickUp
No matter how formal or frequent your meetings are, these 10 virtual meeting etiquette rules will ensure you’re sending the right message. Your effort will show through to everyone involved, and whether you’re a guest or the host, the time you applied to your professionalism will be appreciated and reciprocated ten-fold!
All by simply being respectful of your peers. 💜
Lean on the ClickUp resources accessible in this blog to enhance your overall productivity and set the standard for the virtual meeting etiquette you and the team should uphold every time.
Sign up for ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan to access all of the templates linked above, tons of collaborative meeting management features, over 1,000 integrations, and so much more! All for no cost. 💸
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