Although many prefer face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings are a common part of today’s business environment. It is critical, however, to consider certain things when you’re conducting these meetings.

Proper etiquette is essential to the success of a virtual meeting. Many people treat virtual meetings as more relaxed than face-to-face ones, which is not always appropriate. Etiquette can go a long way in making participants view you as competent and an authority on the issue at hand.

Here are a few additional tips that can help you carry out more efficient and professional virtual meetings.

1. Be prepared
Preparedness is key when it comes to professionalism and helping a meeting run smoothly. When you’re gathering the content and resources for a virtual meeting, you should be sure to remember your audience – something that’s not quite as easy during a virtual meeting.

You also want to be sure that you have given everyone the details they need to access the meeting, such as passwords, URLs or call-in numbers. You definitely do not want to be left with no attendees because people could not access the meeting.

2. Engage participants
Virtual meetings can easily become very stiff if you don’t have a relationship with the person on the other end of the meeting. Rather than just leaping right into the task at hand, try going around and allowing all of the meeting’s participants to introduce themselves.

Although it may seem somewhat cliché, it is always helpful to give people the opportunity to share a little personal information – such as the highlight of their weekend, or a fun fact. It may seem awkward at first, but it will go a long way in making people feel more connected to the other participants.

3. No side conversations
Although it may be tempting to hold side conversations when you’re not the one on screen, it can seem unprofessional and is often very distracting. Since virtual meetings often don’t hold people’s attention as well as face-to-face meetings, the last thing you want is to distract people from the task at hand.

Virtual meetings are great assets and there are many ways to ensure that you are conducting them in a professional and interesting manner. If you’d like to take a look at more suggestions for conducting virtual meetings, check out this Inc. article.