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Online Meetings Etiquette

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We all have to do online meetings these days. And people think it's not a big deal because we have been doing them for years. Yes & no. Now we have only them, and nobody knows for how long this will last. It means that mistakes that were OK to make previously could now ruin our relationships easily. So, based on my experience, I decided to gather some tips & tricks on online meetings etiquette.
Make yourself familiar with the video calls application that you are going to use beforehand. Download, install and check that everything works and that you know the basics. Respect other participants - don't steal 10 minutes of their time waiting for you to fix the issues that you could fix before the call.
Don't use the smartphone or the web version for your video call - mobile apps & web versions (like zoom) often transfer video & audio in much worse quality than the desktop app. Just install and use the desktop app.
Check that your internet connection is capable of handling video calls without hiccups while your family members watch Netflix in Full HD and play online games. If it's not, I would recommend finding a workaround because it's a NO-GO to have your video off or constantly lagging.
Check your camera & headphones - they should be capable of minimizing the gap between a face-to-face & online experience as much as possible. And if your web camera is ten years old - it will just worsen the lag. Again think about other participants and make their participation as smooth as you want yours to be.
Use as big a screen as possible - this will improve your perception of interacting with human beings through more visible gestures and mimics.
Turn on the HD video setting in your video calls app if it's applicable (for example, the zoom client has it, but by default, it's off) - it will be yet another improvement of our session.
Find a quiet place at home where you'll not be disturbed during the call. Make an agreement with your family beforehand. It's not just taking care of yourself; it's also respect & care for other participants.
Check that there is enough light in your room so that your face is seen. Also, check that there is not too much light so either your face is not seen or your camera is blinded.
Prepare some writing tools: notebook, paper, pens, pencils, paper markers, post-its.
Move any meetings you have during long workshops & training, block your calendar with out-of-office time-blocks, write an auto-reply email as you do during your vacation, put a special Slack status.
Close all distraction applications like Chrome, Slack, Skype & others on your laptop & don't check them during the call - it looks & feels weird for other participants when you do that.
Don't play with your smartphone. I know we are all already addicted, but I believe we're still capable of showing them who the master is. A radical idea that helps me is to turn it off.
Turn on "do not disturb" on both your laptop & smartphone - help yourself & others to be fully focused & present.
Keep your video always on during the call. It's a NO-GO to have a black talking square - we want to connect not to hate each other.
Keep your audio always on during the call. In a small group it actually helps others to hear your emotions; otherwise, it drains other participants' energy. Imagine how it would feel if you were to talk to a loved one on a phone & she muted herself. Mute yourself only if there are a lot of participants.
Try not to disappear during coffee breaks & lunches. Having food & drinks & chit-chatting helps to break the ice and establish a deeper connection.
Last but not least, remember all the behaviors of others that drove you crazy during your past virtual calls - try to avoid doing those things. Also remember all the behaviors of others that you really liked - try to make it happen from your side. And share some love, respect & empathy! Let's prove that people can connect deep while in the virtual world!
I'm going to regularly update this article based on the feedback that I get.
And that's all for today.

#stayhomesafelifes, take care & try to relax.

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