Videoconferencing Rules and Etiquette

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What you will need

  • Your laptop
    • While a cell phone can work in a pinch, it is not ideal on a number of dimensions
  • A web camera (if not already on your laptop)
  • Headphones with a microphone
  • A quiet place

Before entering the meeting

  • Ensure your technology works correctly BEFORE the meeting.
    • If you’ve switched devices, find out if they are working. There is a feature in Zoom to test your microphone and speakers.
    • If you know your internet is slow, use phone dial-in for voice (and understand how that works)
    • Understand how the transmission speed works in your location – just because you can see others does not mean they can see you. Choose a location with stable Wifi, plugin an ethernet cable (if possible), use the phone dial-in so your voice is guaranteed to be heard.
  • Be on time (not really a videoconferencing rule – it’s always a rule!).
    • Being late on a videoconferencing meeting may be as disruptive as walking past the presenter in a in-person meeting!
  • Be in a place where you are not disturbed
    • Don’t videoconference from the coffee shop!
    • You need to be able to turn on camera (no cluttered bedroom background) and microphone (no chatter, no washing machine running).
  • Wear work-appropriate clothing.
    • Assume that you will be seen head-to-toe.
  • Frame the camera correctly, and look into the camera
    • Be able to look into the camera, not to the side.
    • Assume you are having your wedding photo/ graduation photo/ photo for your grandma taken.
  • Have the right light.
    • Not too dark, not light from the background – we want to see you
  • We may ask you to share your screen to help troubleshoot issues. Please familiarize yourself with this feature.

While in the meeting

  • General rule: if you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face meeting, then you shouldn’t do it in a virtual one.
  • Speak clearly. Don’t shout.
  • Mute your microphone if not speaking.
    • But also know when to unmute your microphone!
    • Be mindful of your own desk noise in proximity to the microphone (keyboard, paper shuffling)
  • Look into the camera. Keep the camera on!
  • Leave the “self view” on to remind what you look like to others (no making faces)
  • Pay attention. (That’s why you keep the camera on!)
  • When hiccups occur, handle them silently.
    • if your call drops, dial-in again – and when you are back, don’t shout “I’m back”.
    • if your voice or video connection breaks up – switch to using the phone dial-in option (silently).
  • It is OK to
    • politely interrupt somebody if that person is particularly faint and you cannot hear them.
    • if in a big room, introduce yourself when speaking (the far end may not always be able to clearly see your face). This is not necessary when in a single-person location.
  • Don’t carry on side conversations.
    • Especially not with the microphone on!


The latest version is at labordynamicsinstitute/replicability-training