The rise of remote work has made video conferences a necessity. But do you know how to host one successfully? You can start by implementing a few ground rules for virtual meetings.

In this article, we’ll discuss why ground rules are important and five virtual meeting best practices you and your team should adhere to. By the end, you’ll have all of the information you need to host effective video conferences that propel your company forward.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Do You Need to Set Ground Rules For Virtual Meetings?

It’s not like your video conferencing software will explode without ground rules. So, technically, no, you don’t need them for your virtual meetings. But they’ll definitely help.

Ground rules for virtual meetings help create a collaborative environment, which will help you and your team produce better work in less time. They also ensure each team member feels valued and respected—two things that employees should always feel.

Make sense? Good, now let’s cover a few virtual meeting best practices.

The Must-Have Ground Rules For Virtual Meetings

Which ground rules should you set for your virtual meetings? That’s completely up to you. But we suggest the five rules below to make sure your online get-togethers are successful.

1. Create and Share a Meeting Agenda

First things first, create an agenda for your meeting. 

Doing so will give your virtual meeting purpose. You’ll know exactly what to talk about and how long to talk about it for. You won’t forget important talking points, either. How could you? Everything you need to discuss will be outlined before your meeting even starts.

This kind of direction will keep your team on track during the video conference and ensure it reaches peak productivity levels—something every team wants to achieve.

Remember, creating an agenda is just the first step. You need to share the final document with meeting participants, too. That way they can prepare for the discussion. Prepared attendees are able to contribute to conversations in much more meaningful ways.

Once you create and share a meeting agenda, stick to it! Start when your agenda says you’re going to start. Cover the topics your agenda says you’re going to cover. Etc.

Side Note: Your meeting agenda should include a start time. Make sure this time works for everyone involved. To accomplish this, you may need to account for multiple time zones. Do your best to find a convenient time for each attendee, regardless of where they live.

2. Mute Your Mic, Except When Speaking

This one is so simple, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Make sure everyone who attends your meeting mutes their microphone when they aren’t speaking.

The last thing your team wants to hear during a meeting is a child screaming, a dog barking, or a construction crew working in the background. Since 45% of all U.S. employees work remotely at least one day per week, these noises are distinct possibilities.

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Just mute your mic when you’re not talking to the group. Then unmute it when it’s your turn to speak. And mute it again when you’re done. Piece of cake.

As mentioned above, this is one of the simplest ground rules for virtual meetings. But it’s also one of the most important. Use technology to help minimize distracting noises during your video conference and your team’s virtual get-together will be more effective.

3. Make Sure Your Camera is Turned On

That’s right, folks—mics off, cameras on.

Why does your team meet via video conferencing software? Why don’t you just call each other on the phone? Or email and Slack chat with each other? Because these modes of communication don’t allow for the same level of human connection.

It’s hard to collaborate effectively with someone you’re not familiar with and connected to. Video conferencing strengthens relationships, leading to better work amongst teams.

Now, if “cameras on” is one of your company’s ground rules for virtual meetings (and it definitely should be!) you need to put a couple of other ground rules in place, too.

For example, the space each team member attends meetings from should be free of visual distractions, such as messy and/or chaotic backgrounds. Good news: many virtual conferencing solutions allow users to create digital backgrounds for this exact purpose.

Since we’re talking about visual distractions, we might as well mention attire. Make sure your team dresses appropriately for your virtual meetings. That means no pajamas, revealing garments, t-shirts with explicit content, etc. Everyone should keep it professional.

4. Follow Virtual Meeting Etiquette Rules

Have you created and shared a meeting agenda? Is your mic muted and your camera on? Good, you’re ready for ground rule #4, which has to do with virtual meeting etiquette.

To ensure your meeting is collaborative, productive, and successful, you need to make sure your attendees abide by certain etiquette rules. This isn’t a revolutionary concept. Your team abides by etiquette rules when attending in-person meetings, too.

Here’s the difference: we’ve attended in-person meetings for our entire lives. As such, the etiquette rules are ingrained in us. Virtual meetings, while immensely popular in this day and age, are a new concept. As such, your team may need to be reminded how to behave.

Here are a few etiquette rules we suggest implementing for your virtual meetings:

  • Respect Your Colleagues: First and foremost, make sure your team respects each other. They can demonstrate respect by paying attention (more on this below,) allowing their colleagues to speak without interruption, and minimizing distractions.
  • Pay Attention to the Meeting: You ask your colleagues to attend your meetings for a specific reason. We’re assuming that reason wasn’t to “catch up on email” or “text a friend.” So, make sure your team pays attention. Ask them to put away their devices and avoid multitasking. They should be focused on the conversation you’re having.
  • Remove Any and All Distractions: Distractions come in all shapes and sizes—phones, email accounts, odd background noises, food, etc. Ask meeting attendees to silence their phones and refrain from checking email. Ask them to mute their mics so that background noises don’t seep in. And ask them to avoid eating, too. Each of these things has the potential to derail a conversation. Remove them.

When it comes to ground rules for meetings, etiquette is always an important topic.

5. End Your Virtual Meetings With Next Steps

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you end your virtual meetings with a bang. How do you do that? It’s simple, really: give each attendee an action step or two.

What do you want your team to do after you meet with them? Contact a specific individual? Finish an assignment? Start a new project? Make sure that every person knows exactly what’s expected of them before you log out of your video conferencing software.

We suggest taking this ground rule a step further and emailing each participant once your meeting concludes. Use the email to recap the things you talked about, the decisions that were made, and the specific action items that each team member was asked to complete.

While it will take time to send emails to each attendee, doing so will ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands their latest assignment(s).

Host Better Virtual Meetings With ClickMeeting

There you have it, five ground rules for virtual meetings.

As soon as you implement these meeting best practices, your video conferences will become more collaborative and effective. That’s exactly what you want, right?

Then what are you waiting for? Create and share a meeting agenda, mute your mic (except when speaking,) make sure your camera is turned on, follow virtual meeting etiquette rules, and end your online meets with action items. That’s all there is to it.

Now, to host virtual meetings, you need a quality video conferencing solution. We can help with that. Try ClickMeeting for free for 30 days to see if it’s the right tool for your team.

Once you activate your account, you’ll have access to all of our platform’s features, including custom branding, polls and surveys, private chat, the ability to record meetings, and plenty of engagement tools. In other words, everything you need to host a stellar virtual meeting!

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Posted by Jacob Thomas

Content writer @ ClickMeeting

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