Get your “Zooming” right: five rules to abide by for video meetings


Aloe Suarez, Reporter

Schools and workplaces scrambled to develop a plan to go remote back at the start of the pandemic, making Zoom a household name.

While most of the country connected via video chat, user interactions morphed into expected behavior interactions. Such expectations are now a part of employers’ policies.

To help out students in class and prepare for the new normal among the workplace, here are five Zoom etiquette rules to be in the good graces of your professors, classmates, and future colleagues. 

1. The mute button is a beautiful thing…

People tend to forget that they enter Zoom calls unmuted. If there are other commotions happening within the house, a neighbor is cutting their lawn or you are watching/ listening to something till the start of the meeting- everyone else on the other side of the screen will hear. 

Make sure you are on mute before finishing up whatever that is noisy. No one wants to hear about who didn’t take out the trash the night before.

2. …Until the mute button is not.

Video meetings with more than two people can prove itself to be a challenge in getting input. There is a response delay when unmuting- either users fuss with their cursor to click the mute button or forget and talk while the others in unison say muted. These situations call for interruptions. It’s part of the participation process now. 

Know when is the proper time to interrupt. And with that interruption, know what you are going to say. Technicalities take up too much time; make sure what is said matters and is straight to the point.
*Tip: To temporarily unmute yourself, press and hold the spacebar. This allows faster responses and avoids awkward pauses or double-clicking.

3. Interrupting isn’t the same as distracting.

Noise isn’t the only form of distraction. Zoom calls are visual; therefore there are plenty of visual obstructions that get the meeting off-topic. One of them being uninvited guests, like pets or other household members. Eating is also an attraction since there is movement that attracts the eyes’ attention. And, for everyone’s sanity, do not fumble the laptop anywhere while still on display. Motion sickness is a real thing.

Ensure no one will be in the frame (like cats plopping on the laptop keyboard), family members- in whatever apparel or lack thereof- making their way through doors. Eat before or after- not during the meeting. This doesn’t include drinking, however, be appropriate. If there is an issue that will be solved in relocating, temporarily turn off the camera (and microphone!) till the readjustment is solved. 

4. Dress to impress

Working from home can be tempting to dress in well below casual attire. Remember, home is not brought to work rather work is brought to the house. 

Dress to the appropriate occasion as if going to the office. And don’t not where a business style top but wear yoga or chill in some undergarments. The people participating in the meeting will find out somehow- and not in a pleasant way.

5. Make sure to be on time.

Because there is such a comfort factor to working remotely, many may become lax. The early bird gets access to the meeting. Many workplaces and professors now this to happen, so they implement lockouts after five minutes from the start of the meeting. There is no need to run to the other side of campus or the office to the conference room. 

Be on time. If the link isn’t easily accessible, make sure to copy the link for access by adding it to the calendar or bookmarking it. Having that one cup of coffee- the one with ‘not a morning person’ on it- isn’t worth being late. Get everything needed beforehand.

There are some aspects of Zoom meetings that are still unclear, such as mandating everyone’s camera to be on through the duration of the meeting. Frankly, it depends on your employer/professor and the topic of the gathering.