Chin up, comb your hair and PLEASE keep the mute on


There are all sorts of suggestions out there now on how to run an effective virtual meeting (TURN ON MUTE, for everyone’s sake, unless you’re speaking), but what about the informal rules. We have a few we think everyone should follow:

1. Try to keep your camera parallel or above your face — particularly if you’re prone to double (triple) chins.

2. Put a new shirt on every day. It makes everyone think you’re really keeping yourself in shape. They don’t need to know that you’re wearing pajama pants and fuzzy slippers.

3. If you’re on a call with five people or fewer, everyone should either be on camera or everyone off camera. If you’re not on camera, it makes the rest of us wonder if you’re sitting in your closet during the meeting.

4. Be on time. Of course, this is a good idea anytime, but remember in some meeting platforms, your name is announced when you join — both interrupting the speaker and calling you out by name, so that others can heckle you.

5. Let’s face it, we’re all learning a little bit more about our co-workers’ lives outside the office — who has dogs, who is working at their kitchen table vs. who has a beautiful paneled home office, and who doesn’t really know how to work technology. But please make sure there’s nothing revealing in your background. Keep the S&M equipment to yourself.

6. If you see a publicly advertised meeting on one of Pitt’s websites, you might want to check with the organizers to make sure you’re really invited. Don’t be a Zoombomber (look it up).

7. Don’t get too close to the screen. Nobody wants to see your nose hairs.

8. Makeup is optional; combing your hair is not.

9. No eating on camera; a sip from a drink is fine. We all still need our coffee.

10. We all love your child or dog or cat, but one little peak at them is enough. We don’t need them in the background screaming, “I have nothing to do.” Get them situated away from the computer before you log onto a meeting.

And while this might not be virtual meeting related, we found this suggestion to be spot on for those working from home: “Leave the house in the morning to go to work, walk around the block and then come back into your house and settle down to work. Helps make the mental transition.” (As well as a really short commute.)