Tips for Virtual Meetings

This page outlines how to prepare for a virtual meeting at the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Test your connection, software and devices

1. Test your internet connection

Refer to the Instructions for How to Test Your Internet Connection for a quick and easy way to ensure that you have adequate bandwidth to participate in a video conference.

2. Test your computing equipment/devices with the video conferencing platform

Zoom and Microsoft Teams both provide an automated testing site to help attendees prepare for virtual meetings. Ideally, complete this test from the location where you will join your meeting. 

If you know the video conferencing platform that will be used to host your meeting, join a test session by clicking on the link for the meeting's video conferencing platform in the list below:


If you do not know the video conferencing platform that will be used to host your meeting, review the instructions for How to Determine Your Video Conferencing Platform.

Experiencing trouble during your test?
Verify that your computer and web browser meet recommended system requirements or get more help.

Etiquette for virtual meetings

The same etiquette expected for in-person business meetings also applies for remote events. Practicing the following tips will help to ensure that your virtual meeting is productive and efficient.

1. Join your meeting at least 15 minutes early to work out any technical issues.

2. Participate in your meeting from a quiet location where others will not overhear your discussion of sensitive information.

3. Turn off any unnecessary applications or notifications on your computer desktop before joining your meeting.

4. Take steps to minimize background noise:

  • Mute yourself when you are not speaking.
  • Use headphones or a headset with a built-in microphone when possible.
  • Use pen and paper to take meeting notes instead of your computer and keyboard. The sounds of typing on a keyboard are easily transmitted and can be distracting to others. 

5. Be conscious that your webcam is on:

  • Turn your webcam on when speaking for the benefit of participants with disabilities who rely on lipreading and nonverbal communication cues.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Make sure your background is appropriate and professional.
  • Remember that everyone can see you, and what you are doing, just as if you were meeting face-to-face.

6. Introduce yourself before speaking.

7. Speak clearly into your microphone to ensure captioners, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, and/or assistive technology users accurately capture and relay your comments to participants with disabilities.

8. If you need to leave the meeting temporarily, notify the meeting host before disconnecting from the meeting and then rejoin. Never place the meeting on hold.

9. Stay engaged, listen closely and wait to speak until the current speaker finishes his or her thought. This helps all participants to hear each other clearly.