AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.

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Online Meeting Etiquette

With remote-working, we are now engaged in many video calls to replace daily meetings, attending training and webinars. WAM have compiled some tips on online meeting etiquette for small or large groups.  Please note, we refer to Zoom in parts as this is the most common platform that is used across our employers. 

Chairing & Introductions

There should always be a chair for online meetings. The chair is responsible for turn-taking, asking participants to mute/unmute their video/audio and introduces the speakers during the meeting. The chair should outline the protocols and format of the meeting.

Don’t forget to introduce yourself, your role and the purpose of the meeting. Also give a bit of context as to the number of people attending the meeting as this may be useful for those who are blind/visually impaired who may not be able to see how many participants are in the meeting. 

Microphones

As host, you should ask all guests/attendees should mute their microphone and to only switch it on when they are speaking. This prevent background noises and limits distractions.

  • Some platforms allow the host to mute all participants on request.
  • If using Zoom, you can set to mute participants upon entry when setting up the meeting.

Videos

If you are in a large meeting, think about whether it’s necessary for everyone’s video to be displayed all the time. Perhaps it is only necessary for the chair, or a few people who will be presenting at the meeting or the sign language interpreter if you have one present at the meeting.  

  • In Zoom, the host has control to turn off participants’ videos during the meeting or you can set this up so videos are not displayed upon entry.
  • In Zoom, the host can choose to spotlight someone where their video will be displayed as the main speaker. This is useful when you as the host or as the chair want to start the meeting or if you want to put the focus on someone else.
  • Most platforms will allow the participants to pin another attendee’s video, this is useful for when there is a sign language interpreter present. The attendee who wishes to watch the sign language interpreter can pin the interpreter themselves.

Turn-Taking

Much like a face-to-face meeting, participants should not interrupt another person when they are speaking. It’s important to be extra mindful of this when you are part of an online meeting.

  • The chair should give the go-ahead for someone to speak and introduce them. This is particularly important for users who may be blind/visually impaired and therefore cannot see who is speaking.
  • Attendees should use the “raise-hand” feature in the platform or;
  • Simply ask attendees to put their hand up when they wish to speak.

Lighting & Background

  • Test your video settings in advance of the meeting.
  • Ensure the light in your room is suitable and your face is clearly visible. Never sit in front of a window as this creates a shadow on your face and can make it hard for people to see your face especially if they are reliant on lip-reading.
  • Try to have a simple background with minimal visual noise. This helps for people to focus on you and not on your background.
  • Adjust your monitor/webcam so that you are at eye level.

Screen-Sharing

  • If you are screen-sharing, make sure you follow good accessibility practices by reading out what is displayed on the slides.
  • Spotlight the presenter’s video so that attendees can see both the presenter and the screen share at the same time.
  • Allow time for participants to respond to slides
  • Ask attendees to use the Chat feature to ask questions if necessary.

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