Prepare for Virtual Meetings
Thank you for serving as a remote participant in a National Science Foundation (NSF) meeting! We want this experience to be as simple and rewarding for you as participating in a face-to-face event. This site provides critical information to review and actions to take prior to and on the scheduled meeting date.
- Test Your Internet Connection
- Test Your Computing Equipment/Devices with the Video Conferencing Platform
Tips for Virtual Meetings
- Complete any Program and Administrative Tasks
- Review Etiquette for Virtual Meetings
NSF virtual meetings use either an audio-only teleconference line or one of two video conferencing platforms (Webex or BlueJeans).
If you participate via video conference, these platforms allow you to meet virtually from anywhere with adequate internet connectivity. When your meeting host schedules your video conference, you will receive an email invitation with instructions for joining the event. Webex and BlueJeans meeting invitations each contain a link (URL) which you will use to join your event on the day and time it is scheduled. Note: NSF recommends that remote meeting participants use a headset with an integrated microphone for the highest quality audio.
Test your technology before joining your meeting to ensure a productive meeting experience.
Problems with degraded audio and video quality can have multiple causes including your Internet connection and computing equipment. NSF recommends testing prior to the meeting to eliminate potential problems.
Test your technology if you...
- Have not recently participated in an NSF meeting as a remote participant.
- Plan to use new computing equipment to join the meeting.
- Plan to join the meeting from a different location than previously.
- Are unfamiliar with Webex or BlueJeans
Test Your Internet Connection
Refer to 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.
Test Your Computing Equipment/Devices with the Video Conferencing Platform
Webex and BlueJeans each 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 your meeting's video conferencing platform in the list below:
BlueJeans Automated Test Session (install and test)
Instructions for the BlueJeans Automated Testing
Webex Automated Test Session
Instructions for Webex Automated Testing
When you do not know the video conferencing platform that will be used to host your meeting, review the Instructions for Identifying the Meeting Platform that Will Be Used for Your Meeting.
- BlueJeans Automated Test Session (install and test)
Complete any Program and Administrative Tasks
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.
Join your meeting at least 15 minutes early to work out any technical issues.
Participate in your meeting from a quiet location where others will not overhear your discussion of sensitive information.
Turn off any unnecessary applications or notifications on your computer desktop before joining your meeting.
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.
Be conscious that your webcam is on:
- 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.
Introduce yourself before speaking.
If you need to leave the meeting temporarily, drop from the meeting and then rejoin. Never place the meeting on hold.
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.