Online Privacy & Tech Etiquette

Brush up on your tech communication skills and stay up to date on privacy so you can make the most of your smartphone, the Internet and social media.

Chairing & Preparing

  • Determine your method of meeting (Skype, Google Hangout, teleconference, etc.) and include necessary links and/or instruction(s) on how to connect to the meeting along with the meeting invitation.
  • For groups that will be meeting regularly, set aside time to create group agreements and expectations in your agenda.
  • Send any readings, outlines, or other pre-work in advance with the agenda. Set the expectation that participants come to the meeting prepared, having read any shared documents, considered any prep questions, etc.
  • State your purpose (reason for meeting) and outcomes (tangible result(s) to achieve by meeting) in the invitation and restate at the start of the meeting. Try to link long-term goals, milestones, and/or outcomes to your purpose.
  • Focus on the tone and expectations of the meeting based on attendees. Are attendees members of a team or a group? Teams have a common bond, interdependency and commitment to shared goals. To achieve shared goals, teams often meet regularly. Groups, in contrast, meet less regularly and are not accountable to each other in the same way as teams because they are not interdependent.
  • Have a plan for managing "dead air." Pose open ended questions, prepare some questions ahead of time, and hold attendees accountable on the expectation of participation.

Being an Effective Participant

  • Identify yourself before you speak in the teleconference/video call. 
    • Example: "Hi, Jane here, I was thinking that we could discuss an alternative approach. What do you think about ..."
  • Be mindful of your microphone and/or camera. Try to mute when you are not speaking to avoid unnecessary ambient noise (keyboard, printer, etc.) or interrupting the meeting by speaking with another colleague who may drop in to your work area.
  • Come prepared, having reviewed any required content and having tested your set up to ensure you can connect seamlessly to the meeting. If you require assistance, connect with the chair or meeting host. Perhaps they will be able to test your connection prior to the event.
  • Avoid side conversation during the meeting. Add information in the chat when prompted, or as outlined in shared agreements around behaviour. It may be helpful to add a question to the chat with the expectation that they will be addressed at a specific point in the meeting. The chat box may also be a good location to share a link that is pertinent to the conversation at hand.

Sharing Screens & Presentations

Sharing your presentation or screen can help effectively convey information to the group, or help stick to the meeting agenda. Using Skype for Business, you should share specific programs (e.g., PowerPoint) rather than your desktop to avoid distracting notifications and to protect any confidential information on your desktop.

Using Polls

Using polls within your online meeting can help with decision making when there are clear choices (e.g. three date/time options for the next meeting) or to check in on attendees' understanding of a finite topic (e.g. asking a question based on previously discussed content). Polling for a question with a correct answer may help the chair determine what needs further emphasis or explanation.

Using Video & Chat

Engaging through video and instant messaging (IM) can add to the experience of some meetings and detract from others. Seeing team or group members' faces can add a sense of accountability and shared purpose. Instant messaging can allow others to add questions to be addressed once the main content pieces are discussed.

A Video Call in Real Life (Just for Fun)