Virtual events and meetings have become part of our everyday business landscape, but how has the working-from-home phenomenon affected our manners? They do still matter. Have you hosted events with a Chewer, a Nature Lover, an Orator, or a Sneezer in attendance? Are YOU a Chewer, Nature Lover, Orator, or Sneezer? Keep these ten etiquette tips in mind when attending your next virtual event.
Since events, webinars, and classes have moved online en masse this year, we've heard and seen some pretty amusing anecdotes. While we're all conducting business and training sessions from home more than ever before, there are still social norms, rules, and etiquette, even when you're sitting at home in your slippers.
Ten Tips For Virtual Event Etiquette
- Test your tech - Prepare your connection, sound and video settings, and any other technical details in advance. Troubleshooting is much easier before the event begins.
- Find a quiet place - We have a joke here at EventBuilder: the minute I get on a call or meeting, my neighbor's landscaper appears with his leaf blower. Make a plan prior to the start of your event for a quiet space.
- Show up on time - If you wouldn't waltz into an event or meeting 10+ minutes late in person, you shouldn't do it with virtual events, either.
- Headphones are your friend - Comfy, noise-canceling headphones can go a long way in blocking out the ambient noise you can't escape from. Sometimes noise in your house is unavoidable, as anyone with a dog and a doorbell can tell you. A decent set of headphones can help.
- Mute your microphone - Set your microphone on mute unless you're speaking and/or interacting with your fellow attendees. Chewing, sneezing, the wind rushing through the microphone if you're outside...bad form. Nobody wants to hear you blowing your nose, trust me.
- The Interrupter - We've likely all attended events when one person wrestles control of the conversation topic. Familiarize yourself with chat features, Q&A timing and guidelines, and raised hand options so you can have your question or comment answered without speechmaking or interrupting. In other words, read the virtual room and give other attendees a chance to engage as well.
- Webcams are unforgiving - If webcams are part of the event, remember you and your environment will be seen by other attendees. Consider taking advantage of virtual backgrounds if you find yourself stuck in a less-than-desirable location.
- The distract-o-meter: your cellphone - On your webcam, if you're looking down, it's pretty clear you're on your phone or multi-tasking. Do the presenter a solid; put your phone on silent mode and keep it out of reach, set aside your other tasks, and look toward the speaker on your camera/screen. Be an active, respectful listener.
- Dress the part - I understand the temptation of pajamas in a work-from-home situation. However, that can sometimes make it difficult to get into the right mindset for an event or webinar and make a good impression. When your event begins, look professional. I personally prefer to do this even without a webcam. My mantra? “Get dressed = feel awake.”
- Need a break? Turn off your webcam and leave yourself on mute - Getting up and leaving the room with your webcam and microphone on is distracting to fellow attendees. If you need to take a break, making sure you're on mute and turning off the camera before you take your leave is the polite thing to do.
Manners Still Matter
As virtual events evolve and grow, so do the social guidelines surrounding them. These are some event etiquette basics to keep in mind as your calendar fills up with online gatherings. Remember, we're all experiencing this new normal together, so let's make the Emily Posts in our lives proud.
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