What should you not do on Zoom?


If you’re working from home and wondering what not to do on Zoom calls, here’s a guide which should keep you on the right track!

  • Start updating Zoom or your computer before you join a meeting or you’ll be late!
  • Don’t pick your nose or do anything else you’d normally only do in private – some webcams have privacy covers, so use them or pause your video feed if you really need to do something unpleasant!
  • Don’t clear your throat near your computer’s microphone
  • If you need to cough or sneeze, consider muting your microphone first
  • Don’t interrupt the speaker unless absolutely necessary – wait until he/she has finished
  • Don’t ignore the level of background (ambient) noise and switch rooms if possible or use software like Krisp
  • Don’t type too much while the subject is talking as they will hear your typing and assume you’re not concentrating
  • Don’t ignore the lens on your webcam – remember to clean it before the call to ensure optimum clarity
  • Don’t talk more than necessary – keep your answers brief and to the point if it’s a business meeting
  • Don’t ignore basic grooming just because you’re on a virtual call: How do you look good on Zoom?

Here are some other frequently asked questions about things not to do on Zoom.

Is it rude to drink water during a Zoom meeting?

Normally drinking water during a Zoom meeting is accepted. You can use more or less the same guidelines as you would in a face-to-face meeting – maybe you wouldn’t do it during a job interview, but it’s OK to do it during a long meeting with colleagues. 

These are a few things that you can do to be considerate with the other people in the meeting:

  • Mute your mic while you drink.
  • Don’t drink too often.
  • Avoid taking multiple sips.
  • Coffee or water is acceptable, but never alcoholic drinks. 
  • While drinking is OK, eating is not. 

Remember to use good lighting on Zoom calls to look your best.

Is it OK to smoke on Zoom?

No, as a general rule, you shouldn’t smoke on Zoom. Of course, if it’s an informal call with a friend, you can do it, but not for a work meeting or other formal situation. 

If you need to smoke and you can’t wait until the end of the meeting, it’s best if you turn off the camera and mute your microphone. 

What happens if I get a phone call during a Zoom meeting?

When you get a phone call during a Zoom meeting, you’ll be able to Hold & Accept, End & Accept, or Send to VoiceMail. 

Whether it is OK or not to accept a phone call while you’re in a Zoom meeting that’s another issue. I’d suggest you again consider whether you would take that call if you were in a face-to-face meeting. If the call is very important or you’re on a meeting with just friends, then yes – but mute your microphone and turn off the camera. 

Is it rude to have a Zoom meeting in a coffee shop?

This depends on whether you mean if it’s rude to the people that you’re talking to in the meeting or the people at the coffee shop. 

For other clients in the coffee shop, it shouldn’t be a problem that you have a Zoom meeting there. After all, most people there will be chatting with others anyway – it’s not a library where you’re required to be quiet. However, some coffee shops may have specific rules about it.

For example, ‘No remote working during lunch hour’ – so make sure you get informed in advance. 

On the other hand, for the people in the meeting with you, it might be distracting to see all the busy environment of a coffee shop, and the noise could be a problem.

If your Zoom meeting is formal or with someone you don’t know, like a job interview or a pitch to a potential client – I’d suggest you skip the coffee shop and go to a co-working space or something more private. 

Finally, remember that you can always choose another background for your Zoom call – as long as the coffee shop isn’t too loud to give the game away, you may be able to pretend you’re somewhere else.

Remember to download some funny virtual Zoom backgrounds to lighten the mood too.

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Shotkit Writer & Camera Gear Reviewer

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

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