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Perfect Zoom Etiquette: 17 Must-Know, Easy Rules and Zero Mishaps

COVID-19 has forced us to work from home and communicate online far more. Learn the perfect Zoom etiquette and avoid embarrassing mishaps!

zoom etiquette rules

If you’re working from home, you’ve no doubt found yourself having meetings over Zoom. Of course, you can also talk to friends and family members using the platform too, but in that case, etiquette doesn’t matter quite so much! If you’re having work meetings, understanding the big do’s and don’ts of Zoom etiquette is vital if you want to avoid embarrassment or, even worse, look totally unprofessional. 

“I can’t hear you.”
“Your camera isn’t on.”
“What did you say?”

These are phrases we are extremely familiar with these days. If you haven’t had an embarrassing or awkward video call experience yet, you’re doing well!

COVID-19 has changed our lives in so many ways and for the time being at least, many of us are forced to work from home or interact with our loved ones via the Internet.

Can you imagine if all of this had happened in pre-Internet days? It would have been far tougher than it’s already been. Whatever you think about social media, it’s certainly helped keep people connected during the pandemic. 

[Read: Proper social etiquette and the rules redefining modern manners]

17 must-know rules and steps to total Zoom etiquette

So, to help you out and to keep you on the right side of the professionalism spectrum, let’s check out 17 steps towards completely mastering Zoom etiquette.

#1 Familiarize yourself with the platform before you begin. Never just jump in cold. Zoom is pretty easy to use, but you do need to play around with it a little first. Practice with a friend or family member and make sure you understand the settings. [Read: The best things to do when you’re stuck at home but still feel productive]

#2 Make sure your audio and camera are on before you start. It’s not the best idea to start with someone telling you your camera isn’t on or they can’t hear you. It’s annoying at best and wastes time. All you need to do is check your settings before you go live!

#3 Check your Internet connection. If you know you’re going to be having Zoom meetings quite a lot, it’s a good idea to check your Internet connection first. It’s normal for connection speed to fluctuate a little, but if your speed is regularly slow, you should call your provider and see if they can give it an upgrade. [Read: How to beat the quarantine blues and still love your life]

#4 Look behind you. Zoom etiquette really comes down to how professional you look and how you carry yourself. It’s not easy to do either of those things well if you have a terrible background! Tidy up, get rid of anything which isn’t appropriate or professional, and make sure that your space looks the part.

#5 Check your camera positioning. If you’re using a laptop in particular, make sure that the camera is tilted enough so that you’re not cutting your head off! You might pull your laptop screen down a little to avoid glare but it’s easy to forget that someone is just getting a view of your mouth and neck, and little else! Zoom etiquette 101 – make sure people can actually see you!

#6 Close the door behind you. If you can lock the door, even better! If you have children in the house or animals, they’re no doubt going to come wandering in at some point and embarrass the life out of you! We’ve all seen those celebrities having Zoom interviews on TV and someone walks into the room half naked! Don’t be that person…

#7 Cut down on background noise. If there are other people in the house, make sure they know that you’re on a call and to keep it down a little. There’s nothing worse than someone doing the vacuuming while you’re trying to talk to your manager!

#8 Turn off your phone or put it on silent. Pretend that you’re actually at work here, so make sure you rid yourself of phone-related distractions and the possibility of it ringing or jingling while on a call. You can always check it once the meeting has finished. This is one of the key points of Zoom etiquette!

#9 Make sure you’re well-presented. I get it, we all live in our sweatpants at the moment and hair washing is only done when necessary. However, it’s a big point in Zoom etiquette to actually make an effort, if only for the duration of the meeting! It’s fine to keep your sweatpants on the bottom half that they can’t see, but make sure your top section looks super-professional!

#10 Don’t interrupt people, let them finish. Lagging Internet connections can make interruptions a little more likely, but if someone is speaking, give them a second to finish or allow the connection to catch up. There’s nothing more annoying than to keep stopping and starting when you’re talking. [Read: How to talk to anyone and master the art of conversation in any situation]

#11 Be prepared with papers and what you want to say. If you need anything for the call, e.g. notes or anything else, make sure you have it beside you. This is even more important if you are wearing sweatpants on your bottom half and you must stand up and retrieve some paperwork!

#12 Listen to people and don’t drift off. When you’re sitting at home with a laptop in front of you, it’s very easy to switch off and start thinking about other things but you have to pretend that you’re in a meeting at work. People will quickly notice that you’re not really paying attention or that you’ve basically switched off. Look at the camera and keep nodding along occasionally!

#13 Don’t multitask while on a call. Yes, people can tell that you’re doing a crossword or playing Candy Crush while you’re on a Zoom call! Avoid doing anything else and simply focus on the meeting. It’s a huge Zoom etiquette no-no to multitask while on a call. 

#14 Look at the camera and not at yourself. I get it. You want to check if you’re looking cute or not. If you gaze at yourself on the screen and not at the camera, people are going to tell! Stop checking yourself out for a moment and pay attention!

#15 Refer to people by name to make it more like an in-person meeting. As each person speaks and you give your input on what they’re saying, make reference to their name. It makes the meeting seem more real and it also shows that you’re totally paying attention and not secretly browsing Instagram. 

#16 Avoid eating and drinking. Zoom etiquette deems it pretty unprofessional to sit there eating and drinking while having a work meeting! Sure, go for it with your family and friends, but it’s not the best idea when your manager and colleagues are virtually in your living room. A sip of water is fine, but anything more isn’t. [Read: How to be classy with traits that command respect]

#17 Make sure the meeting link isn’t over-shared. It’s not the best idea to share links to Zoom meetings online or anywhere else that people can see them, as you could end up with gatecrashers!

People are bored, after all. Simply share the meeting link with those who need to virtually attend, and that’s all. 

[Read: 13 positive and productive things to do with your time in lockdown]

Zoom etiquette really comes down to common sense, but it’s also about familiarizing yourself with the platform in the first place.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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