4 Most common virtual meeting mistakes and how to avoid them

Whether you have an important work meeting or a virtual job interview, know what mistakes to avoid.

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A laptop screen showing 7 individuals on a virtual video call

Now that many companies have embraced hybrid or fully remote offices, virtual meetings have quickly become a part of everyday life and the new normal for millions of people all over the US. But etiquette for virtual meetings is a little different than what you’re used to in person. Whether you have an important work meeting coming up, or your next job interview will be via video conference, you should know what mistakes to avoid before you even make them. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the most common virtual meeting mistakes that you should steer clear of.

1. Not checking your technology

If you don’t check your camera, microphone, and internet connection are working properly, then you might be setting yourself up for a last-minute emergency. Rescheduling that important meeting may not be an option, so your best bet is to check that your technology is working properly and to make a backup plan, including:

  • Have a secondary internet connection from your cellphone ready
  • Keep an extra microphone or pair of headphones handy
  • Buy a spare webcam that can be quickly plugged into a USB port

2. Giving a boring presentation

Virtual presentations need to be even more interesting than in-person ones, so you should make sure your remote audience is paying attention. Giving a boring presentation will likely result in half of the meeting attendees switching windows or getting lost in their emails.

Put some effort into getting your audience immediately hooked on your presentation topic and use visually interesting slides to engage everyone until the very end. Asking people to switch on their webcams can also be a great way to compel them to pay attention or take part.

3. Trying to multitask

It’s no secret that multitasking doesn’t work, but trying to focus on other tasks while you’re in a virtual meeting is distracting and unprofessional. Checking your phone, replying to an email, or working on a report while you’re in a virtual meeting is guaranteed to make you lose focus and miss important information. Worse yet, if someone directs a question towards you while you’re in another window and not paying attention, you could end up embarrassing yourself or coming across as rude.

Do yourself and everybody else a favor – mute your notifications and work on your listening and communication skills by actively participating in the meeting!

4. Not muting your microphone

We’ve all been there - you’re in a virtual meeting and that’s all you can hear is someone blowing their nose or munching on an apple. When you’re on a call with several people at once, background noises or sounds from people who aren’t talking can be disruptive and annoying. The golden rule of any online meeting is to mute your microphone unless you’re speaking - and ask others to do the same.

Now more than ever, it's critical to adapt to changing workplaces. Check out more of our advice and tips for job seekers

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