Virtual Meeting Guidelines
Virtual meetings have been an essential method of staying touch with colleagues during remote work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFI team adjusted to a new communication process while working from home (“WFH”). Just like us, other companies around the world may have experienced an increased number of meetings and video calls in order to simulate in-office conversations from home.
At the office, we were able to have impromptu meetings and unscheduled conversations that could start spontaneously, and eventually become more structured. To date, the work environment shifted, so we must schedule meetings to speak with team members about important business topics.
After three months of WFH, our team decided to share some key insights that we learned about the transition process which are stated in the guidelines below. This guide aims to help you advance your career by creating personal goodwill through small changes, which are particularly important norms for virtual meetings.
Send an Email or Schedule a Meeting?
Steps for assessing the needs for a meeting:
- Identify the topic for the discussion
- Build an agenda, either mentally or on a notepad
- Always make sure to ask yourself
“Could I send an email instead?”: If the goal is to inform a team member or a group of people, then a professionally written email can suffice.
“Should this email be a meeting?”: On the other hand, if a topic calls for discussion or you lack the required resources required to make a decision, a meeting may be a better option.
10 Effective Virtual Meeting Guidelines
1. Always Be Prepared
- Make sure to test your video/audio settings prior to any meeting.
- Make sure you are camera-ready (see below for more details on what this means) for a video conference, even when it is not formally specified.
2. Always Be Punctual
- Try to stay on schedule and be mindful of every participants’ time and availability.
- On an off chance, if you are going to be late or cannot attend a meeting, let every participant know in advance.
- If possible, make sure that personal life does not interfere with scheduled team meetings and your workday.
3. Video Etiquette
- Group Conferences: We recommend cameras to be on in group conferences.
- 1-on-1s or Smaller Meetings: Cameras can be turned off to focus on your second monitor or on notes.
4. Dress Appropriately
- While WFH brings a casual dress code, you must be respectful of participants.
- You must avoid wearing inappropriate or unprofessional clothing, unless specified.
- Make sure you are “ready for work” at the beginning of your day.
- Establish a routine that will set the right mindset and enhance productivity, which supports your sense of purpose at work.
5. Mute Your Microphone
- Always mute your microphone when you are not speaking.
- When you are speaking, closing the window and sitting in a quiet place will help minimize background noise.
6. Optimize Your Workstation
- Make sure you are sitting in a well-lit space which includes looking toward the source of the light.
- Make sure your pets or kids are not planning to conquer your workspace!
7. Remove All Distractions
- Put your phone on do-not-disturb (unless you are using it for the meeting) and mute other chat apps.
- Try to avoid distractions from your email or other screens and windows.
8. Avoid Multitasking
- Avoid working on other tasks, eating, or having conversations on the side because it may be disrespectful and impolite.
9. Imitate Face-To-Face Conversations
- Try to look at the camera to maintain eye contact with the speaker.
10. Effective Closing Comments
- Establishing a plan to follow-up and recap meeting minutes are two effective ways to end a meeting.
Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to Virtual Meeting Etiquette. CFI is the official global provider of the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, with a mission to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To further advance your career, CFI has a wide range of resources including the ones listed below: