Zoom etiquette going into 2021

(other platforms are available 😀)

I have made no bones about moving some elements of my consultancy into virtual training in 2019. This was fundamentally clear to anyone who saw me on webinars and Facebook Lives in March and April 2020 with many commenting and asking ‘where did you get your banner?’. Many where asking how quickly did I have that? My answer being that I had already bought the banner with an explanation as to why.

Initially we were forgiving of the ‘backgrounds’ online, even enjoying the sneak peak into houses we had not seen before, focusing more on the book shelves, clutter and style of our colleagues instead of what they were saying.

In May 2020 I even discovered an ‘enhance your appearance’ setting in the video setting of Zoom. So that was why I looked better on my brand new Macbook rather than my 10-year-old iMac! Quite frankly it saved me a fortune as I was considering buying a new iMac thinking the webcam alone was well worth the upgrade!

Hopefully by now those of you holding online events have a banner (rather than the image you can import into Zoom that gives you a funny looking head), a professional background (no beds please), ‘enhance your appearance’ button on, our ‘see yourself’ turned off. That is my new fav!

But what about the huge heap of lovely dental folk attending these meetings?

I work alongside many other trainers and representatives and have been met with many questions of late that start with ‘how do you handle….?’

If you know me you will not find it surprising to know that I have requirements if you are online with me. I now stipulate these requirements for two reasons:

  1. I have fallen victim myself
  2. Manners are everything

So, here is my Zoom 2020 etiquette list, designed to support the army of dental trainers and representatives who are doing a grand job in difficult circumstances, and to refocus the profession with the etiquette that we should provide face to face:


  1. If you have had to register do not share the link with anyone, it really messes the registration limits for an event and can stop you gaining ECPD. Everyone needs to register themselves.


  1. Be on time – at least two minutes early, logged on and ready.


  1. If it is a video conference rather than a phone call conference everyone has to have their video on. You would not turn your back to a presenter in your practice and turning the video off is the online equivalent.


I welcome any attendee to put themselves in the shoes of a presenter. Even seasoned pro’s can become nervous on a stage. But the one thing they know is that as soon as they start the crowd will give them energy and they will soon find their flow.

Now imagine that you have to deliver this training into a lifeless webcam to a screen of black horizontal rectangles. You are making their life very difficult. We are missing the smiling faces in front of us.

If this is a study club or CPD event we also need to know you are really there.

I and many others will now remove delegates from the meeting if your video is off.

  1. If you have been asked to mute stay muted, do not unmute and talk to the presenter unless asked to do so at the right time.


Likewise, if we want you to be unmuted please do not mute yourself.


Use headphones if it is a large / group call to limit feedback. There is always one person who has their sound on maximum, do not let it be you. We can see who it is and do not want to call you out in the training and ask you to turn the sound down, we would rather you save face.

A general rule of thumb is:


  1. Do not join multiple people to one smart phone – it is not good and we can’t see you or hear you.


  1. Do not eat your lunch / dinner / snack directly over the webcam. It is not a great look, we do not like to see your tonsils, and it is very off putting to see a person stuff a baguette into their mouth like a starving lion, then witness the spillage and the mop up!


  1. Do not use your phone / PM people in the meeting or send emails. Again, we can see you. It is just rude.


  1. Be there. A great statement from the book Fish. ‘Be there – actively listen, be involved, participate.’


  1. If you need to ‘pop out’ then be a dear and please leave the meeting and re-join when you are ready to fully participate. You could even excuse yourself by private messaging the host.


  1. If this an ECPD event then you need to arrive on time that means before the start time to ensure you can claim the full ECPD. You also need to stay until the end. And leave at the end yourself! Do not rely on us to close the meeting – we are waiting to see who is really ‘there’.


  1. Think of questions as you are listening. Everyone should have one question to ask when it gets to the Q&A. This shows respect.


  1. Thank the presenter at the end by group message or by voice. It means a lot, and they will want to come back and do it again for you.


  1. Do complete the feedback form promptly. It is important to us and not just a tick in the box exercise.


  1. Dress to impress. Sitting on the sofa in your PJs is not acceptable so do not do it.

It is distracting and no-one will thank you for it. It is not cool. Please wash and dress for the event.

Now you may be a dental representative or trainer who’s wondering ‘so how do you this Laura?’ The answer is simple – advance communication.

I will liaise with the manager, lead or owner before the training to confirm the outcomes and time frames.


On this call / Zoom I confirm with them:


  1. When they will receive the Zoom details for the session e.g. the day before or use this link from today as it is set to repeat.


  1. When I will start the meeting e.g. 09:58 for a 10:00 start.


  1. I will allow a maximum of 3 minutes before I start so the latest I will begin is 10:03. Everyone needs to be not only on by then, but have their video and sound on. If they are muted and video is off / focusing on the ceiling I shall remove them.


  1. Everyone is to have a pen and paper to take notes and this includes questions for the Q&A slot.


  1. A link for the feedback form will be given 5 minutes before the end for them to complete immediately.


Finally, I ask:

I have been fortunate enough to work with so many practices in the last few months and delivering training online – thank you all for your professionalism.

It has meant a lot to me and gives me energy to provide you with great online training sessions.

Wishing you all successful meeting in the future!


















Contact us for expert advice on your practice's needs.
Sign up to our monthly newsletter: