A Note From the Desk of Christina DeArment: OWB’s Resident Millennial 

Like much of the country, the OWB is working tirelessly to make the abrupt shift from hosting occasional conference calls to relying on virtual meetings to collaborate with industry members and partners. We understand that conducting business exclusively virtually is probably new to you, too. Here are some tips and tricks to help navigate this new world we are all working in, to make it as positive an experience as possible.

Virtual Meeting Etiquette:

  1. Mute Yourself – Sitting in a quiet room? Shuffling papers and typing on the keyboard can still be heard by the rest of the group. Sitting in a quiet room not moving? Street traffic, train whistles and dogs barking can distract the group. If you place the conference call on hold to answer a call on the other line, your hold music might be the Linfield Marching Band (this is a real life example. hehe.).
  2. Announce Yourself – If you are joining a phone-based conference call, make sure to let people know when you’ve joined the call and who you are when you start talking. This is not as necessary when you are communicating through an online conferencing program like Zoom or GoToMeeting because attendees can see when you join and when you are talking.
  3. Phone Alerts On Silent – As you would for any other meeting you attend, please put your cellphone on silent so when you un-mute yourself and are speaking to the group your phone isn’t making distracting noises in the background.
  4. Join 5 or 10 Minutes Early – If you aren’t confident with the technology, try to join the virtual meeting five minutes early so you can test your audio and work out any technical glitches before the meeting starts.

Trouble Shooting:

If you have difficulty hearing or being heard ask yourself a few questions:

Are you muted?

Some web conferencing tools will set attendees to be muted when they join the call to minimize distraction. It depends what program you are using but there is normally a microphone icon that you can click to mute or un-mute.

Did the organizer mute you?

Even if you think you are being very quiet, there might be background noise that the group is picking up on if you don’t mute yourself. The organizer might mute you so that the call is clearer for the others. If this happens, simply send a message through the program chat feature and ask to be un-muted.

Did you select computer audio or phone audio? 

When you join a virtual meeting, regardless of the program, you will be prompted to select which audio feature you’d like to use. Do you want to use the audio on your computer or your phone?

If you select phone audio, you will be provided with a phone number to call with an access code and maybe a pin number (depending on the program). The access code allows you to enter the meeting and the pin number identifies who you are to the meeting organizer and allows you to be heard by others.

If you select computer audio, you will hear the audio through your computer speaker and you will rely on the tiny mic on your computer to be heard. If you don’t know where the mic on your computer is, google your computer model to figure it out so that you aren’t accidentally covering it up.

Is your mic good enough quality?

I have found that the mic on my computer is not very good. When I use it, people report that they hear me cutting out or sometimes it sounds like I’m underwater. I purchased headphones that have a small mic and that has been working perfectly.

Is the sound of your computer off?

It’s always worth checking.


Moving from in-person meetings to virtual meetings is a challenging transition but we are all in it together. If you continue to struggle, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your own resident millennial.