During Covid-19, millions of Americans are working from home. For many, their only connection to the outside world is through one of numerous virtual platforms. Meetings online enable them to conduct business and make important decisions. These calls allow families to see their loved ones at a distance although missing the warmth of a great hug. Even weddings and other celebrations are taking place in this “new normal” format.

I admit I have a pet peeve. Whether mentors connecting with mentees online or any other group that is using this important format, have you noticed that some people are rude and inappropriate? I created a virtual etiquette set of rules that makes sense to me. They are common courtesy. They apply for mentor/mentee sessions but also for all virtual calls. I am wondering if I am the only one that thinks etiquette and manners are important here?

Keep the following virtual etiquette rules in mind.

Dress appropriately for the session. While many of us are working from home, clothing such as pajamas are not permitted. Make a good impression.

Be aware of your surroundings. Select a quiet location before beginning the session. Look around and make sure that if the session is in the video as well as audio format, your background needs to be appropriate. Therefore, a set up that happens to include your personal cocktail bar, for example, should not be considered. Sitting on your bed is not either.

Make sure that your audio voice is high enough so others can hear you.

Mute your microphone when you are not talking. For virtual calls, regardless of the participants, it is good to remember the mentoring rule: “We have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you talk!

Do not be distracted. Paying attention is key. If you are also fiddling with your keyboard, cell phone, or writing, others will feel that they are not important to you.

During your session, no food or drink is allowed. This one recently really got me! A person on a Zoom call was flossing his teeth.

Stay seated in one place during the session. Do not move around and stay present.

Dr. Susan G. Weinberger