Meeting Room Etiquette When There is No Room
Monday, March 30, 2020

Meeting etiquette has been written about ad nauseam, but given the recent surge in remote work, I did want to make one point.

Virtual meetings should be treated with the same respect that you would treat in-person meetings. If you booked a conference room for half an hour and someone else had the room right after you, you'd have to wrap up your own meeting quickly to let the next group have the room. Just because there's no physical room to relinquish in an online meeting, this shouldn't be an invitation to let meetings run long – especially if it means keeping you or others from their next scheduled meeting or obligation.

It's no secret that most people (myself included) hate meetings. Instead of making things worse by giving people yet another reason to hate meetings ("everyone's always late!"), let's use these virtual meetings as an opportunity to improve things. Work on improving estimates ("how long does the meeting need to be?") Work on improving prioritization ("we've run over the last several meetings, so we need to stick to the key issues today.") Work on improving adaptability ("we're running behind, so let's shift gears a bit.") Work on improving communication ("let's take side conversations offline so that we can keep things moving.")

While meetings do occasionally run long, when it happens regularly, it can raise questions in people's minds about who and/or what is actually important. With virtual meetings being the new normal for now, let's do our best to be mindful of everyone's time. We're probably never going to love meetings (virtual or otherwise), but we can all certainly do things to help make them a bit more tolerable – if not productive!

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