Videoconferencing Guidelines

We use Zoom as our default videoconferencing system. The rules below apply for other similar tools too, even though they mostly focus on Zoom.

This page defines general etiquette guidelines for joining meetings, and important security configurations and rules.


  • Consider if video chats are really the most efficient option. Sometimes sharing a Confluence wiki page, starting a Discourse thread, or having a conversation over chat are enough. Limit video calls to those that are really necessary.

  • In the Zoom settings, select the following options:

    • Video: "Turn off my video when joining meeting"

    • Audio: "Mute my microphone when joining a meeting"

  • Test your webcam and microphone before joining meetings. Sometimes plugging and unplugging them, or just rebooting your laptop, might change the selected device.

  • Beware of microphone feedback loops if you aren’t using headphones.

  • Turning on the camera is optional. Cameras don’t always have to be on throughout each meeting.

    • In particular, if your network connection is poor, try turning the camera off first.

  • Turn off your microphone if you aren’t actively participating in a conversation. This will avoid ambient noises slipping into the meeting.

  • Having your screen off to the side, instead of straight ahead, could also help your concentration, particularly in group meetings.

  • Take time at the beginning of meetings to catch up before diving into business.

  • Have a break in between video meetings: try stretching, having a drink or doing a bit of exercise.

  • Plan a few five minute breaks for calls longer than one hour.


When using Zoom follow these rules:

  • Regularly update your Zoom client (check for updates in menu "About")

  • Stay cautious when sharing Zoom URLs, especially if the password is embedded or access control isn’t in use.

  • Use your address for your Zoom account.

  • Avoid Zoom for confidential ("VERTRAULICH") content.

  • Don’t share recordings of non-public meetings without access control.

General security rules for creating meetings:

  • Don’t use your personal meeting id for external meetings, create new meetings ad-hoc as needed.

  • For VSHN internal meetings:

    • use access control settings to restrict the meeting to VSHNeers.

  • For external meetings:

    • Protect the meeting with a password.

    • Consider using the waiting room.

    • Consider locking the meeting after all participants have joined.

    • Consider using "Only authenticated users can join" access control.

  • For your personal meeting room:

    • Activate the waiting room so you have the admit participants individually.


The following resources provide more information about the subject: