7 taboos to help you get the most out of online meetings

Although online meetings and conference calls have become more popular in recent years, a study has found that the majority of office workers aren’t take them as seriously as your generic ‘big group of people in an office’ meetings.

Globally, 76 per cent of working people have participated in a business-related video conference over the past six months, with 82 per cent of working people using video conferences to communicate with colleagues, 39 per cent with prospects and 34 per cent with board members. So why aren’t we any good at it?

Research conducted by join.me,  the popular online meeting tool, exposes the behaviours and experiences – good, bad and just plain, odd – of the rapidly growing number of people meeting via video around the world. Survey respondents were sourced from North America, Europe, Australia & New Zealand.  Questions covered usage patterns, direct experiences and opinions on best and worst practices. Findings ranged from the mundane to just plain weird. Here are 7 tips to help you get through that big meeting on your screen with a little bit of dignity and job security intact.

  1. Dress the part

12 per cent of Britons admitted to attending a video conference with a professional top and pyjama pants. And 17 per cent of people worldwide report seeing someone dressed inappropriately. Even if you face an early start, do yourself a favour and scrub up for the camera, even if it is just the parts which are on camera.

  1. Stay out of bed – you snooze, you lose

More than 5 per cent have actually seen someone taking a video conference from their bed, though 36 per cent admit to finding a place in the house that makes you look more professional in prep for your video conference.

  1. Don’t use video as a mirror

14 per cent have seen someone using the video camera as a mirror to fix their hair, makeup and appearance. Prepare for the meeting properly. Get up and go through your morning routine as usual. 1 in 5 Britons admit to applying make-up before getting on a video conference, whereas Germans and Kiwis tend to go natural with only 13 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively admitting to the same thing.

  1. Stay out of the bathroom– Enough said.

Seemingly a self explanatory point, but your bathroom doesn’t make for a good office space. 16 per cent of people surveyed voted this was the worst thing someone could do on-screen – and horrifyingly enough, 3 per cent have actually seen someone taking a VC from their WC.


  1. Don’t Pick Your Nose – Don’t pick anything.

Nobody likes to see it in person and the same goes for online meetings. 1 in 10 people report that they have seen someone pick their nose on-screen during a video conference. You may be in the privacy in your own home, but that little green light next to your camera means everyone can you see you rummaging around in your nostrils.

  1. No Pets – No DogNo Cat. Or any other animal for that matter.

16 per cent of people have seen an attendees pet make an unexpected cameo. Your little fluffy might be the cutest thing in existence, but they won’t have any excellent business advice to give you during the call, so set them aside just for a little while.

  1. No Strange Sounds– Please do not emit awkward, inappropriate bodily noises. 

Yes, 8 per cent people reported to have heard awkward and inappropriate bodily noises on a video conference. Holding your flatulence in is basic etiquette which should be adhered to in real meetings, video conferences and just, in general.