Tips and hints for effective, productive and professional online meetings

Please find below some practical hints and advice for attending meetings in today’s rapidly evolving online environment, along with some information about why we record our online meetings.


  • Acknowledge and respond to the meeting invitation.
  • Review in advance any materials sent to you. Consider any questions or issues you may want to raise during the meeting.
  • If appropriate, offer to help pull together any relevant information for other attendees.
  • Ensure the relevant meeting software is working on the device you are going to use. Many platforms have a test address where you can go to test your connection, microphone, and internet speed. If new to using a certain platform it may be useful to watch a tutorial or demonstration.
  • Optimise your working setup for video conferencing. Review your working area and turn your webcam on before your meeting to see how your workspace appears in the background. Dependent on your software certain online conference platforms allow you to add a virtual background when on a call (Zoom) or slightly blur the existing background (Microsoft Teams).
  • Improve your lighting. Participating in a video conference from a dimly lit room makes it difficult for other participants to see you and can compromise the fidelity of your video conferencing system’s display. Back lighting can be especially problematic. Try to use natural light from the front or side when possible. Overhead lighting works as well.


  • Aim to join the meeting 5 minutes before the advertised start time. Some meetings will require you to wait in an ‘holding area’ first. The organiser of the meeting will know you are there and allow you to join the call when appropriate.
  • Join the meeting with your sound on mute and don’t forget to mute your mic when you are not speaking, remembering to unmute when ready to say something.
  • Notice the name on the screen when you join the call. If necessary change the name to show who you are, some people also like to include their company name for additional clarity.
  • Minimise distractions by silencing your phone (if you not using it to call in) and closing down other apps and browser windows to eliminate notifications.
  • Try to avoid rustling papers, eating noisy food or other distracting noises in the background.
  • If you need to leave the meeting for a comfort break or any other reason, remember to turn off  your microphone and your camera while you are away from your laptop.
  • Follow the guidelines set down by the organiser for making contributions to the call. Some people prefer to ask attendees to raise their hand, while others may ask you to put your comment into words using a live chat facility.
  • If you are sharing your screen while presenting to the other meeting attendees, make sure that only intended content is seen. Before you launch a video conference, close unnecessary tabs from your browser window and other apps you’ve been working on. For extra control of what participants see during your presentation, choose the option to screen share only one screen or one app (i.e. only a PowerPoint presentation) instead of your full desktop. This way the focus is on you and your presentation, not on anything that will distract from your message.
  • Online meetings can take on the format of an informal discussion, so make sure you are providing comments that you are happy to be repeated/documented, or make it clear that you are talking ‘off the record’ if you want your comments to stay within the participants of the meeting.



  1. So that all members can view the meeting, even if they can’t join the live session.
  2. To enable us to produce an accurate written record of the meeting if needed.
  3. So that minor details are not lost or forgotten.
  4. So new contributors can get up to speed with what has already happened.
  5. To aid understanding of how we got where we have and why decisions were made.