Virtual Meeting Etiquette and Tips for Remote Attendees and Hybrid Teams in 2023

May 31, 2023
woman discussing Virtual Meeting Etiquette and Tips for Remote Attendees

Although 47% of employees prefer in-person meetings, 50% of workers have a minimum of 1-3 hours of online meetings per week.

With digital conferences becoming ever more vital for workflow, learning virtual meeting etiquette to ensure efficiency and productivity is a must.

Here we’ll break down a list of tips and rules for virtual meetings to keep things running as smoothly and professionally as possible.

Online meeting etiquette for attendees

For many meetings, the goal will be to re-create an in-person meeting as much as possible. So if you’re participating in a video conference, here’s a collection of proper virtual meeting etiquette to follow:

Be prepared and on time

Just like you need to be on time for in-person meetings, you shouldn’t be late for online meetings. It can make you look unprofessional and sloppy.

Also, take the time to prepare before you start a meeting. Review the agenda and any pre-reading material so you can make notes to discuss or share inputs.

Even if you’re not leading the meeting, you can contribute to its efficiency and productivity.

Pro tip: Set a notification or reminder to go off at least five minutes before the meeting to ensure you make the appointment even if it slips your mind.

Dress professionally

While working from home had everyone living the dream of wearing pajamas to the job, it’s still unprofessional to show up in them for a meeting with your coworkers.

Make sure you’re looking presentable by the company’s standards. If you did just get out of bed, try to make it really hard for anyone else on the call to guess that is the case. 

Use video as often as you’re comfortable

The main purpose of holding an online meeting is to keep the human connection between team members alive and strong. With video conferencing, you can mimic the experience pretty well, but just like with in-person meetings, you can develop fatigue. While a call with a client might require some actual face time, encourage employees to be honest about moments where they need a break from the video portion of the call. You don’t want to create a demanding “always-on” culture if you don’t need to. 

Pro tip: Set your default “video off” image to a professional photo instead of a black screen to maintain a human connection even when you’re off camera. 

Be mindful of your mute status

Abide by the mute policy set by the meeting leader. Generally, you want to keep your microphone off after greetings/introductions and unmute only when you’re speaking or asked to do so.

This helps reduce interruptions, distractions, and background noise.

Be aware of your background/surroundings

Your background and surroundings are just as important as your appearance during digital meetings. A pile of clothes behind you or food containers cluttering your desk isn’t a great look.

an employee showing good virtual meeting etiquette

You don’t necessarily need a home office, but you can put together a dedicated workspace, even for the duration of the meeting.

If you need to change how your background looks, the easiest way to achieve a professional appearance is to turn your camera toward a wall. Make sure there are no inappropriate or distracting posters.

Pro tip: Apply a blur effect or filter if sharing your background makes you uncomfortable.

Bring your full attention

Whether the purpose of the digital meeting is remote onboarding or discussing a 6-month-old project, you should give it your complete attention.

You may be tempted to sneak in some eating during a meeting, check your messages, or browse through your feed. But even if there’s a particularly boring section, it’s rude not to listen and be attentive.

Not to mention, you could miss out on important information.

Pro tip: To avoid losing focus, silence phones and other noises from devices, chime in, cover your keyboard/mouse to reduce clicks, and take notes by hand.

Familiarize yourself with the software controls

Staying connected through technology is one of the answers to how to engage remote employees. If you work from a home office, this means you’ll frequently find yourself logging in for a virtual meeting.

To minimize distractions during these, you should learn the app controls so you can navigate it without issues. Focus on keyboard shortcuts as they’re quicker and easier to use than a mouse or pad.

Pro tip: You should at least know the following basics:


  • Joining the meeting: click Join a Meeting (Windows) or hold Command+J (Mac) on Zoom
  • Muting/unmuting the mic: hold Alt+A (Windows) or Command+shift+A (Mac) on Zoom
  • Turning your video on and off: hold Alt+V (Windows) or Command+shift+V (Mac) on Zoom
  • Raising your hand: Alt+Y (Windows) or Option+Y (Mac) on Zoom
  • Leaving the meeting: Alt+Q (Windows) or Command+W (Mac) on Zoom

Test your connection and equipment

It’s such a pain when you join a virtual meeting and get in the work “zone” only to be cut off because of a poor connection or malfunctioning equipment.

You don’t just lose your train of thought, but you can also miss important information, disrupt the flow of the meeting, and frustrate your client or team.

As such, you should test your internet, computer, and gear before the meeting to ensure good and consistent quality of video and audio.

Pro tip: In case you’re screen sharing, make sure no sensitive information (embarrassing tabs, unnecessary files, etc.) is showing on your screen to prevent others from accidentally seeing it.

Ask for the agenda

A meeting agenda helps keep the meeting on track. If, for some reason, you don’t receive it, like a technical malfunction or the host not creating it, don’t hesitate to ask for it.

Pro tip: Suggest Conversations® to your meeting leader for creating effective meeting agendas.


Virtual meeting etiquette tips for managers

If you’re leading an online meeting, good virtual meeting etiquette includes the following tips:

Make introductions

Introduce yourself, then go around and make introductions. If there’s a special guest or speaker, introduce them too.

Doing introductions is a key part of running an effective meeting. It’s a gateway icebreaker and lets people know who everyone is and what their role is.

virtual meeting

Assign roles for each person

An online meeting where people have no idea what to do can negatively affect the team’s engagement and productivity

To improve the flow of the meeting, let everyone know who will be doing what. Who will be speaking and when? Who will keep track of time? Who will take notes? Who’s the tech host?

Set the agenda

Similar to an in-person meeting, starting a digital meeting without a plan can waste a lot of time, hurt productivity, and cause everyone to go off track.

Make it a point to create a clear meeting agenda specifying the topics and the person leading each discussion. Send it to all meeting participants a couple of days before the meeting, as they may suggest additional topics they want to cover.

Pro tip: Use Conversations® to build meeting agendas to ensure your online meetings stay focused and collaborative.

Decide on a policy for muting

Any virtual work meeting requires a policy on muting; should the participants keep their mics muted or turn them on?

In most cases, meeting hosts or facilitators ask everyone to mute all mics unless they’re talking, especially during large video calls that can get pretty hectic. Muting is also the right move when background noise is too loud or if there’s a feedback echo.

That said, with at least 58 percent of all communication being non-verbal, many people -including non-native speakers- rely on non-verbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and movement of lips to get the full context.

As such, muting a meeting shouldn’t always be the way to go.

Pro tip: On Zoom, you can mute/unmute your mic by clicking or tapping the microphone icon on the screen or holding Alt+A (Windows) Command+Shift+A (Mac)on the keyboard.

Holding Alt+M (Windows) or Command+Control+M (Mac) mutes/unmutes everyone except the host.

Never leave the room

As the meeting leader, you’re not supposed to leave the room even more than the participants.

Just imagine how it would disrupt an in-office meeting if you walked out in the middle of things. 

Pro tip: If there’s an emergency, leave a chat message telling your team how long you’ll be gone.

Stick to the timeline

Try your best to wrap up the meeting on time. It’s easy for online conferences to drag on, so stick to the discussion points to avoid wasting time.

Pro tip: Using a time-tracking collaboration tool such as Time Doctor can help you keep tabs on the time.

Speak slowly and clearly

As advanced as video conferencing apps are nowadays, the clarity of the image and audio depends on the strength of the internet connection. Mumbling or talking with a low voice only makes things harder.

You should speak clearly at an acceptable volume. Also, be aware of non-native speakers and speak slowly to give them a chance to fully understand you by observing your face or reading your lips.

Hybrid meeting etiquette

A hybrid meeting is when some of the attendees are physically present with you in the office, whereas other attendees are present via an online video conferencing tool.

team members in hybrid meeting

While the etiquette rules discussed above would also apply here, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind.

Include everyone

When leading a hybrid meeting, you want to be as inclusive to remote attendees as to those with you in the room.


  • Before the meeting officially begins, include the online attendees in pre-conference chit-chat to break the ice and set the tone.
  • During the meeting, engage remote team members and direct questions at them if they haven’t made an input for a while.
  • After the meeting is officially over, make sure the remote attendees don’t miss out on the wrap-up conversation. Do this by clearly stating the following steps and calling your remote teammates right after to debrief and catch up

Stay seen and heard

During a hybrid meeting, it’s easy to lose track of what’s being seen remotely. You may be out of frame, the video may be lagging, or the sound may be breaking.

If the room doesn’t have a telepresence video and you’re simply using one camera, be sure to stay within the picture by moving or adding another camera to the setup.

Consider assigning an in-office participant to keep an eye on the remote situation. Is the image clear? Do they need a zoomed-in picture of the content? Are you loud enough?

Don’t forget to mark the locations of the microphones in the room and ask in-person attendees to avoid making noises close to them (side talk, paper crunching, etc.).

Give remote speakers the advantage

Remote attendees are at a disadvantage in hybrid meetings since they’re not in the room and can’t express themselves as easily as in-person attendees.

As such, give online team members the edge. For example, if you happen to speak at the same time, let them say what they need first. If they ask for a repeat, give it to them.

Don’t whisper

Last but not least, you shouldn’t whisper to or have a side talk with an in-person attendee while the remote attendees can’t hear. That’s simply rude and bad etiquette.

Additional tips for virtual meeting managers and attendees

Whether you’re a manager setting expectations for hybrid or fully remote teams or an attendee, keep in mind the following points going into your next remote meeting.


  • When speaking, make eye contact with the camera, not the screen.
  • Put up a sign to let those around you know you’re in a meeting.
  • Don’t freak out if a kid or pet comes into the frame.
  • Don’t speak over others.

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Final thoughts

In summary, the keys to a successful video meeting aren’t complicated. To ensure proper virtual meeting etiquette, be prepared and punctual, maintain a professional appearance, and be mindful of your surroundings.

For managers, setting clear roles, agendas, and mute policies, while ensuring everyone’s inclusion, especially in hybrid meetings, is key. Lastly, always maintain respect and attentiveness throughout the meeting.

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