Top 15 virtual meeting etiquette to maximize productivity in 2023


Rachita Jain


Word Count
In today's digital age, virtual meetings have become essential for businesses and individuals. Whether it's a professional discussion or a casual catch-up with colleagues, conducting these online gatherings with proper etiquette can ensure that everyone feels respected and valued. And in order to conduct good virtual meetings, it is essential to follow some virtual meeting etiquette.
Virtual meeting etiquette is the norms and guidelines for appropriate behavior during virtual meetings. Incorporating proper etiquette helps ensure that virtual meetings are conducted professionally and respectfully.
Virtual meeting etiquette helps all participants make the most of the available virtual meetings. For example, muting devices when another person is speaking or showing your face on the camera, if available, are important practices that help keep the meeting running smoothly and efficiently. It also involves knowing when to raise a hand electronically to ask a question or suggest ideas without interrupting another participant in mid-sentence.

Importance of following online meeting etiquette in maintaining a respectful and productive environment

  • Good virtual meeting etiquette is important for creating an environment of trust, efficiency, and respect. When working or interacting with people remotely, it's important to be mindful of how you work together with others and show professional courtesy.
  • A respectful and productive meeting environment encourages all the members to actively participate, thus helping to ensure a better exchange and understanding of ideas and opinions. Following virtual meeting etiquette helps create a meaningful conversation between the members and helps them reach a satisfactory conclusion.
  • Good virtual meeting etiquette helps in establishing a respectful atmosphere during virtual meetings, which in turn enables participants to focus on the task at hand and reach solutions more quickly. It also reduces the number of distractions that can hamper the effectiveness of the meeting.
  • Creating a respectful and productive virtual environment can help boost the morale of participants. This is because it will show that their ideas and contributions are being appreciated and respected. Therefore, they will be more likely to be engaged in the meeting and contribute actively to it.
  • A respectful and productive virtual meeting environment can help save time since all members will be able to concentrate on the task at hand without having to deal with distractions. This means that meetings will be completed faster and that more time can be devoted to other tasks.

Virtual meeting etiquette you need to be mindful of

Understanding the importance of virtual meeting etiquette is critical for ensuring smooth, effective, and productive interactions.

1. Choose a professional backdrop and a noise-free environment

Selecting a location with minimal background noise is crucial for virtual meetings, as it contributes to maintaining virtual meeting etiquette. A quiet environment allows attendees to focus on the conversation without being distracted by loud noises or intrusions. Moreover, having a clean and professional backdrop creates a better impression on your fellow participants.

Virtual meeting etiquette for a professional background

  • Select a space with a spotless background wall and adequate lighting. Bookshelves filled with books or a solid-colored wall, preferably in a neutral tone like light grey, beige, or soft blue, can create a clean and professional background.
  • Disconnect from your phone, television, and any other potential distractions.
  • You can place potted plants or greenery behind you to add a touch of nature and freshness to your backdrop.

2. Let people around you know that you're in a meeting

Letting people around you know that you're in a virtual meeting is important. It helps you to avoid disruptions and maintain professionalism.

Ground rules for virtual meetings

  • Share your meeting schedule with family members or housemates so they know when you'll be occupied.
  • If you have a dedicated workspace with a door, close it to signal you're unavailable for interruptions. Further, you can also hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign in your workspace to signal that you're in a meeting.
  • Update your status on messaging platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Skype to indicate that you're in a meeting, adhering to virtual meeting etiquette.

3. Be punctual and respect time

Arriving on time for a virtual meeting demonstrates professionalism and respect for others' schedules. Additionally, be conscious of the meeting's agenda and allocated time so that discussions stay focused, allowing for a smooth and efficient meeting experience.

Online meeting etiquette: Be on time

  • Schedule the virtual meeting in your calendar, and set up reminders well in advance.
  • Review the meeting agenda and materials beforehand so you can contribute effectively and avoid wasting time with unnecessary questions or confusion.
  • If you think you will be late due to unforeseen circumstances, notify the meeting organizer or participants as soon as possible.
  • Keep all meeting-related documents, notes, and communication in one place for easy reference.

4. Make use of chat features appropriately

Utilize chat functions wisely to share relevant resources, ask questions, or provide positive feedback without interrupting the speaker. However, avoid engaging in off-topic discussions or sharing unrelated materials, as this can distract you and others.

5. Test before you start

Testing your equipment before a virtual meeting is a good virtual meeting etiquette that can help identify any issues that could interfere with the audio, video, and any other features that might be needed to participate effectively.

Ground rules to follow before joining a meeting

  • Make sure your internet connection is strong and quick. To check your internet speed, visit services like Ookla's Speedtest or
  • Make sure your microphone is functioning properly. You can do this by creating a brief voice memo or using the voice recorder software with your computer.
  • If your meeting involves video, check that your webcam is functioning correctly. Most computers have built-in webcams, but if you use an external one, ensure it's properly connected.
  • Ensure you have the necessary meeting software installed (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype). Make sure it's updated to the latest version.
  • Consider scheduling a brief meeting with a colleague or friend for a quick run-through.
  • In case your device experiences technical issues, have a backup device ready with the meeting software installed and tested.

6. Turn your camera on and maintain eye contact

Switching on your webcam not only fosters better communication but also helps establish trust among participants. Making eye contact while speaking shows you're engaged in the conversation; however, be cautious of staring intensely, as it may come across as aggressive.

7. Mute when not speaking

Muting your microphone when you're not talking is a fundamental rule of virtual meeting etiquette. This practice prevents background noise from disrupting the conversation, ensuring everyone can hear what's being said. Be mindful of unmuting yourself when it's time to speak.

8. Slow down the pace of your speech

Speaking more slowly at a virtual meeting is a good communication technique that can improve comprehension and promote teamwork.

Why slowing down your pace of speech is a good online meeting etiquette?

  • Slowing down your speech, an essential virtual meeting etiquette reduces the chances of misinterpretation and misunderstandings between all the members present during the meeting.
  • Speaking at a measured pace ensures the team members have adequate time to process information and grasp the complete context of the conversation.
  • Furthermore, slower speech promotes inclusivity, making it easier for non-native speakers to actively participate and contribute to the discussion.

9. Dress appropriately

Wearing professional attire demonstrates respect towards the other attendees and sets the tone for the meeting. Dressing casually may give off an unprofessional vibe, potentially affecting how your opinions and contributions are received.
In the words of Cindy Ann Peterson, the writer of My Style, My Way: Top Experts Reveal How to Create Yours Today- "Don't let the fact that just because the meetings are now virtual, you no longer need to be concerned with how you look. It is important to send the message that you are just as prepared and take your job just as seriously when meetings are virtual."

Virtual meeting etiquette regarding dressing appropriately

  • Wear clothing that you would typically wear to the office for a similar meeting.
  • Try wearing solid colors, as they tend to look better on camera than busy patterns or stripes.
  • Comb your hair, and if you normally wear makeup, consider wearing it to appear well-groomed on camera.
  • Before the meeting, use your webcam to check your appearance and outfit. Adjust your clothing and lighting if needed to ensure you look your best on camera.
  • While you may be tempted to dress professionally from the waist up and be more casual below, consider the possibility of having to stand up during the meeting or accidentally revealing more than you intend.

10. Do not leave the meeting in between

In a face-to-face encounter, you wouldn't stealthily slip out the back door, would you? The protocol for participants in online meetings is the same. Leaving a meeting in progress is not only disruptive and disrespectful but can also interrupt the flow of the discussion. Exiting a meeting prematurely means you may miss critical information, decisions, or action items discussed later.

Virtual meeting etiquette regarding leaving a meeting

  • If you know that you'll need to leave the meeting early, it's best to inform the meeting organizer or host beforehand.
  • Whenever possible, try to wait for a natural break in the conversation, such as after someone has finished speaking or when there's a scheduled break.
  • If the virtual meeting platform allows, follow the virtual meeting etiquette and use the chat feature to leave a brief message explaining that you must leave early. You can say something like, "I apologize, but I need to leave the meeting early due to [reason]. Thank you for understanding."

11. Do not engage in side conversations

It is the basic virtual meeting etiquette not to indulge in side conversations as they can divert your attention from the main discussion or presentation.
If you are engaging in side conversations, then you will be perceived as being disrespectful to the person speaking or presenting. And who knows, you might accidentally send your message in the meet chatbox instead of sending it to the person you were engaged with.

12. Take notes without disruptions

Taking notes during a virtual meeting without causing disruptions is a skill that involves finding a balance between active participation and note-taking.

Ground rules for taking notes during virtual meetings

  • Keep your microphone muted to prevent keyboard typing from disrupting the meeting.
  • Choose a digital note-taking app, paper notebook, or document that suits your preferences.
  • Instead of trying to transcribe every word, aim to capture essential information and key takeaways. Use bullet points or concise sentences.
  • Develop a system of abbreviations and symbols to speed up your note-taking. For example, use "w/" for "with" or "&" for "and."

13. Be attentive and avoid multitasking

  • 28.6% of people have gone for a walk
  • 25% of people have worked out
  • 21.9% have slept
  • 13.2% of people have had sex
Hence, remaining focused and engaged during a virtual meeting is a respectful gesture toward the speaker. Multitasking, such as checking emails or scrolling through social media, can lead to missing vital information and may come across as disinterested.

Ground rules for virtual meetings

  • Disable notifications on your computer and mobile devices to minimize distractions.
  • Close all unrelated applications and browser tabs to prevent temptation.
  • Contribute to the discussion when appropriate. Ask questions and provide feedback to demonstrate your engagement.

14. Do not munch during the meeting

Munching or eating during a virtual meeting is generally considered unprofessional and can distract others. However, if you're hungry and a meeting is approaching, try to eat a snack or meal before or after the meeting to ensure you're not distracted by hunger.
Also, if you must eat during a meeting due to scheduling constraints, choose foods that are quiet to eat, such as a piece of fruit or a small, non-crunchy snack.

15. Be patient

Finally, always be patient with technical issues as they may arise during an online meeting. Offer assistance if possible, and remain calm if you encounter any hiccups.

Ground rules for virtual meetings

  • Be patient and wait for your opportunity to speak. Avoid talking over others or dominating the conversation.
  • If you notice someone struggling to participate or speak up, be patient and give them the opportunity to contribute. Encourage a welcoming environment for all participants.
  • Virtual meetings often involve diverse perspectives. Be patient and open-minded when listening to differing opinions or feedback.

Join the AllRemote community Accelerate the shift towards remote work