COVID-19: Guidelines for Electronic Meetings

By Winette van der Merwe

Here are some guidelines to ensure that electronic meetings are as effective as possible:

  • If the meeting is on a new electronic platform, download the software well in advance of the meeting.
  • Test your video and audio before the meeting.
  • Check that your device is charged and/or that the power is plugged in.
  • Position yourself so that the camera is seeing you from the waist or chest up. This is more natural for the viewer who is used to seeing you in person.
  • Look at the camera when talking. This tactic will mimic the in-person feeling of eye contact.
  • Find a quiet space to meet to avoid disruptions.
  • Announce yourself when you join the meeting but ensure that you do not interrupt someone who is already talking.
  • Leave the keyboard alone. Your typing will be distracting. Rather take notes with a pen and paper or, alternatively, mute your microphone if you really do need to type.
  • Mute your microphone when you are not talking, particularly if you start picking up feedback or echoes on the call.
  • Stay seated and stay present. This will ensure that you do not miss out on key information and allow you the opportunity to provide input.
  • Don’t stare at your phone when other people are talking.
  • Ensure that all other devices in your meeting area are on silent.
  • Don’t interrupt others when they are talking.
  • Try to keep emotions out of group meetings. Highlight the issue and then make a personal appointment should there be a need to discuss something further.
  • Respect the right of the chair to mute you if you do not follow the above protocols.
  • When in doubt, please practice common courtesy.

Do your bit to ensure that all those in the meeting are heard, seen and respected.

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