All posts by Alisa Bartash

4 common virtual meeting faux pas and how to avoid them

We're all allowed to make mistakes – but when we make them during an important virtual meeting, the silent judgments float our way: She must know she's not on mute, right? Did he forget to get ready this morning? It's 2018 – do they really not know how to conduct a video conference?

We can't bear the thought of you or your team making such mistakes, so it's time to bring these common faux pas to your attention. Let's talk virtual meeting etiquette – here are 4 personas you don't want to take on:

1. The background-noise junkie

When you feverishly type up your meeting notes or chat your co-workers, everyone else gets to enjoy the distraction of keyboard tapping. Even worse than the noise of a coffee shop in the background is the oh-so-pleasant sound of chewing and sipping. Even if you're not making any of these unfortunate mistakes, there may be inevitable background noise from the office or conflicting microphones. As such, follow the No. 1 best practice of virtual meetings: Always mute your microphone when you're not speaking.

2. The bedhead superstar

Virtual meetings allow us to connect with co-workers and clients from anywhere in the world, including the comfort of our own couches when working from home. In the event that the meeting organizer uses video sharing, everyone in the meeting may soon become privy to the messy hair and ratty old T-shirt of your work-from-home look. Even if you don't think you'll need to turn on your webcam for the call, it's always a good idea to brush your hair and put on a clean shirt when you have meetings on your calendar.

3. The distracted player

When you're in a face-to-face meeting, you wouldn't dare get up and walk around or work on other projects simultaneously. While tempting, avoid doing those things during virtual meetings as well. You'll inevitably miss out on important information or get caught off-guard when asked a question after zoning out of the conversation.

4. The technical-difficulties participant

While most people are familiar with web conferencing platforms, it helps to troubleshoot your tech before joining the call. That way, you won't be the one holding up the meeting by trying and failing to join the call or get your microphone working. If you're the organizer, make sure you choose a platform that's not only intuitive for your team, but also for your clients. ReadyTalk Meeting, for instance, makes it easy for all participants to collaborate remotely.

Avoid these common mistakes during your next online call, and you'll be sure to display the utmost virtual meeting etiquette. Good luck!

Can we all stop doing these five things during conference calls?

We're all guilty of joining a conference call, promptly switching our phones to mute and half-listening to the meeting as we continue to work on other projects. But more than this occasionally absent-minded attendance, there are certain common conference call faux pas that truly drive employees crazy.

It's time to break your bad conference call habits – starting with these five:

1. Failed spontaneity

Without an agenda, we risk sending all attendees into the Wild West without a relevant purpose. While spontaneity can work for brainstorming sessions, everyone should be on the same page about what the conference call intends to accomplish.

2. Unnecessary introductions

We've been working together for months now, which means we don't need to introduce ourselves every time we hop on a call. Sure, we can introduce newbies, but let's respect each other's time, skip the lengthy pleasantries and get to the point.

3. Accidental interruptions

There's nothing like talking over someone to invalidate their point – even if it's not intentional. Even worse are employees who purposefully cut off other attendees, which not only creates an uncomfortable tension for everyone involved but can also lead the conversation down a dark and unproductive tunnel.

4. Awkward pauses

When you aren't physically sitting in the conference room with other attendees, it's easy to avoid participation. We've all been there: The conference call meeting leader asks a question met with dead silence, leaving every attendee praying that someone else will speak up. These awkward pauses also happen when people aren't prepared for the call, or if the organizer failed to provide that oh-so-valuable agenda.

5. Etiquette blunders

There's always that one attendee who joins the call and overwhelms it with distracting background noise. Sure, you can take the call from a coffee shop, but be mindful of the rest of us who are trying to have a conversation without distracting sounds. The same goes for notoriously late joiners. We can only make so much small talk before we give up and start the meeting without you. There's also those who forget to identify themselves before launching into their spiel, leaving the other attendees wondering who is talking rather than focusing on what's actually being said.

We can all avoid these conference call no-nos with web conferencing, which provides tools that make these meetings more engaging and collaborative. Video and screen sharing give participants a reason to pay attention, and the software makes it easy to identify who's participating in the call. Request a live demo to see how web conferencing can nip these annoying conference call habits in the bud.