16 Virtual Meeting Etiquette & Best Practices

Virtual Meeting Etiquette
The best remote meeting etiquette tip is to follow the same rules you would in an in-person discussion: dress professionally, be on time, don’t interrupt, and be prepared to contribute.

1. Set an Agenda

When hosting online meetings, be sure to have a clear meeting agenda. Nobody wants to be sat around for hours talking about unimportant issues. Instead, write out a template schedule and set of topics to be discussed, and circulate that with the meeting participants in advance.

Once the agenda has been set, be sure to be prepared. Research the issues on the table, and come up with things to say and ideas to put forward. Respect your team members’ time, be prepared to contribute productively to the discussion, and make it an effective meeting.

2. Dress to Impress

Make sure you still dress professionally while video conferencing. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you get to wear your pyjamas or sweats to a business meeting!

The rule of thumb is to dress how you would for an in-person meeting. This might mean jeans and t-shirts are okay in creative fields, while suits and shirts are expected in finance or government.

3. Early is On Time

Being on time for the video call is essential for online meeting etiquette. When remote working, it can be easy to lose track of time, as you don’t have the usual structure of having to travel to a conference room or building to participate in the meeting.

Aim to be in the virtual meeting room five minutes before the scheduled meeting time. This means you will be prepared to promptly start the zoom, GMeet, or skype meetings.

4. Test your Kit!

One of the most important ground rules for good virtual meeting etiquette is to test your equipment before you begin! Nothing is more frustrating than wasting twenty minutes of a team meeting while somebody fixes their webcam, headset, or internet connection.

Learning the basic controls for the meeting software well in advance is also a good idea. Many remote team apps are available now, from Zoom to Facetime, to Microsoft Teams. All of these work slightly differently, and it is important you get the hang of them before the meeting begins.

5. Introductions and Roles

Virtual meetings can be more awkward than face-to-face conversations. To counter this, give the start of the meeting a really clear structure.

Begin with introductions and icebreakers. These shouldn’t take long – get every person to say hello, their name, and their job title. It is also a good idea to assign meeting roles, such as someone to take meeting notes, someone to control screen sharing (if needed), and someone to keep the meeting on schedule.

6. Stay Muted!

Unless you are talking, it is polite to stay on mute. Even the best home office will likely have some background noise, be it family members doing online schooling or a neighbor’s unruly dog. To prevent interference, stay on mute until you specifically need to talk, and then mute yourself again when you are done.

7. The Importance of Background

Make sure your background is tidy, clean, professional, and not distracting. Remote meetings give a unique opportunity to look inside someone’s workspace; be sure to present yourself professionally and not have anything visual that could cause offense or distract from the meeting.

8. Don’t Interrupt

The most important virtual meeting etiquette rule is to avoid interrupting at all costs. Most online meeting software, such as Zoom, struggles to deal with two people talking at the same time. The audio will cut out, nobody will understand you, and the meeting will grind to a halt.

Also check: 15 Zoom Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts

If you need to speak, most apps have a raise hand button to indicate you have something to contribute. Use this rather than butting in and potentially causing a disturbance.

Make sure not to have side conversations. According to an Owl Labs study in 2020, 62% of employees reported that being talked over was one of the major challenges of online meetings. While this can be possible in face-to-face meetings, online, it only causes confusion.

9. Eye Contact

Even though you are virtual, you still want to use good body language. A good way to do this is to look at the camera while talking – this will simulate eye contact, presenting you as confident, capable, and trustworthy.

10. Beware Before Screen sharing

When screen sharing, be sure to protect any sensitive data. Too many people forget what is open on their computer when screen sharing, showing their business partners something they shouldn’t.

At best, this can be an embarrassing faux pas, while at worst, it can get you into genuine legal difficulties if confidential information is leaked. Before sharing your screen, close anything except the essential information on your computer.

11. No Notifications

Turn off notifications in devices
Turn off notifications on your phone and computer to focus better

Just as in a face-to-face meeting, one of the key rules of virtual meetings is to silence your phone. Many people also forget to silence their computer’s email or Whatsapp notifications, which can come through very loudly.

12. Try Not To Type

Due to the proximity of a computer’s microphone, typing can sound incredibly loud in a virtual meeting. Though note-taking is encouraged, it is better to use pen and paper and type up your notes after the meeting has concluded.

13. Be Attentive

Proper virtual meeting etiquette demands that every member be attentive and alert. It can be easy to be distracted by your computer, phone, or home life when you are not specifically talking. Remember that this is still rude, and pay full attention to whoever is speaking.

15. The Old Rules Still Apply

Ask yourself: how would I behave in an in-person meeting? Following those guidelines will serve you well in virtual meetings: try not to fidget, don’t leave the room, don’t get distracted by your phone, and don’t interrupt. If it would work in person, it would work online, and vice-versa.

16. Short and Sweet

Sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time is harder than having an in-person meeting. It is less comfortable, draining on your eyes, and more intellectually challenging.

For this reason, try keeping all virtual meetings under an hour. If you have to go over that limit, schedule regular breaks for people to use the loo, get drinks and stretch their legs.

Virtual Meeting Checklist


  1. Write up a meeting agenda / read the meeting agenda.
  2. Prepare for the topics that will be on hand.
  3. Inform your housemates that you will be in a meeting and ask not to be disturbed.
  4. Silence your phone and laptop notifications.
  5. Test your internet connection, headphones, and camera.
  6. Arrive at the meeting 5 minutes before the start time.


  1. Make introductions and assign roles.
  1. Stay muted unless talking.
  2. Use the ‘Raise Hand’ feature to indicate you would like to contribute.
  3. Take notes using pen and paper rather than typing.
  4. Record the meeting if possible (and if your partners give consent).


  1. Type up your meeting notes neatly.
  2. Distribute meeting minutes to all members.
  3. Make any follow-ups agreed upon during the meeting to continue the workflow.

Jack Fairey

Jack is a writer based in west London, England. He is a keen traveler, and has a particular interest in the fascinating differences in etiquette across the world. When not writing, he can be found dreaming up his next trip to far off places.

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