Remote Meeting Ground Rules

This article is Part 2 of our series on Remote Meetings:

Most of the usual in-person Meeting Ground Rules will apply to remote meetings (e.g., Be On Time, Don’t Leave Early, Don’t Interrupt Others, Be Respectful, Don’t Attack New Ideas, Complete Action Items On Time, Don’t Multi-task).

But there are additional Ground Rules specific to remote meetings and hybrid meetings that will help you run them more smoothly.

To lead effective virtual meetings, you will need to create, communicate, and hold participants accountable for Virtual Meeting Ground Rules, as well as the general meeting ground rules.

Below are examples of virtual meeting ground rules (Zoom meeting ground rules) that you may want to consider.

Remote Meeting Ground Rules – Examples

1. Check that Your Camera and Microphone are Working Prior to the Meeting.

2. Be in a Quiet Room where You are Unlikely to Be Disturbed.

Most of us just chuckle when a child or pet is seen or heard, but you should work to prevent distractions and interruptions as they eat up precious remote meeting time.

3. Be on Camera.

4. Look into Your Camera as Often as Possible.

There are times when you need to look at content, but it’s important to look at the other participants also. Eye contact is expected in an in-person conversation. The camera is the eyes for the remote participant (align your camera so that you can see the speaker and the camera).

5. Have Good Lighting.

Virtual meetings dampen body language and facial expressions, so make sure the room lighting allows others to see your face and expressions clearly.

6. Clear your Office Background.

You want participants focused on your message, not the room behind you. Keep it neat and simple.

7. Be on Mute for Presentations, Assuming You Aren’t the Presenter.

8. Be off Mute for Discussions.

If you’re participating in an active discussion, come off mute. It’s easy to forget to toggle back and forth each time you speak, so just leave the mute off for the discussion.

9. No Multi-Tasking.

Virtual meetings demand just as much of everyone’s attention as in-person meetings. If necessary, make sure other applications aren’t visible on your screen, and turn off alerts.

10. Take a 5-Minute Break every Hour.

11. Use The Chat and Raise-Your-Hand Features.

These two Remote Platform functions will help prevent people from talking over one another and make it easier for less assertive people to participate.

12. Inform the Team Before Leaving the Meeting.

Rather than just disappearing, let people know you have to drop. You can use the chat feature for this.

13. Share Only the Appropriate Application.

If you share your whole screen, with other applications visible, it can distract others. Also, you might inadvertently share something sensitive or embarrassing.

14. NO, Pants Aren’t Optional!

You need to present a professional appearance in Remote Meetings. No tank tops, baseball hats, pajamas, or tee-shirts with rock stars or superheroes.

If you ask your team to help you create the Ground Rules (or at least some of them), you get stronger buy-in on following them. Once you’ve settled on the Ground Rules, ask each team member for agreement to follow them.

Using Remote Meeting Ground Rules to Manage Meetings

Make sure you enforce Ground Rules by reminding participants during the meeting or at the end of the meeting if they don’t follow a Ground Rule.

You can also use the Plus Delta meeting feedback tool at the end of meetings periodically, so that the whole team can give feedback.

Most of us are still experimenting with remote meetings, so it would be a good idea to periodically ask the team if there are any new Ground Rules that they think would make your meetings more efficient.

For more information remote meetings, take a look at our blog: Remote and Hybrid Meeting Tips.

For more ideas on optimizing your meetings in general (Remote and/or In-Person), see our blog on 15 Meeting Management Tools.

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With Our Consultations Coach: Vicki Rich, MBA, ACC