Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips for Meaningful, Productive Collaborations Working from Home
Video conferencing has become an absolute must-have for companies that are practicing social distancing and combatting the spread of COVID-19 by moving to a remote work environment. Video conferencing is the next best thing when you can’t meet in person physically because it simulates a face-to-face setting that can improve communications, increase understanding, and promote a sense of unity when teams cannot be together in person.
Because so much of how others perceive you is through nonverbal cues and observations, knowing your video conferencing etiquette can help you ensure you and your teams are communicating effectively and as intended.
Here are some video conferencing etiquette tips you can use to hone your video communications skills and make sure you present your best self on video while you’re working from home during the pandemic.
Make sure your video conferencing solution is set up and functioning properly.
Before you begin connecting via video with your business contact or customers, it’s important that you make sure that your video conferencing solution is set up correctly and that all your tools and features are working as intended. You can make a great impression on your contacts by presenting yourself well on video, but making sure your technology doesn’t experience any glitches will make your time more efficient and productive.
Maximize your broadband usage.
Most video conferencing solutions work through your internet connection, so you should make sure you have sufficient bandwidth available when you do your video conferences. You should close any large programs or systems that you don’t need during the meeting and avoid any hefty downloads while you’re participating in a video conference. This will help ensure that your solution runs smoothly and you do not experience any dropped video or audio during the call due to a poor connection or inadequate bandwidth.
Test your video solution and tools prior to using it for group collaboration.
If you’ve just set up a new video solution or you’re working from a remote location on a shared WiFi connection, make sure you check your video capabilities prior to beginning a video meeting with business contacts. You can test your connection by video calling a friend or colleague and running through an audio and video check. It’s also a good idea to practice any tools you may need during the call such as file, media, or screen sharing.
Embrace the power of the mute button.
Video conferencing solutions are improving with each iteration, but when you have several people on a conference, static or background noise can become incredibly distracting and hinder the progression of your meeting. Whenever you are not speaking, you should mute yourself to decrease the background noise and help contribute to good call quality and clarity for everyone on the call. If you are the video call leader, you should share this tip with your participants at the beginning of the meeting to help minimize delays or distractions once the meeting begins.
Unless you are on mute, you should avoid typing during video calls. Most people will be using their laptop or a mobile device to participate in the meeting, and the clickety-clack of keys can be incredibly distracting when the keys are so close to the audio speakers.
Don’t eat your lunch or snack during video calls.
You may have grown accustomed to eating your lunch during audio conference calls, but you should refrain from eating lunch or snacks during video calls. Remember people can see you during video conferences, and they can become easily distracted by your tasty lunch and chewing noises.
Check your settings and volume (and use headphones).
Before you initiate or participate in a video conference, always do a quick check of your sound settings and volume to make sure that you have everything ready to go, and that people will be able to hear you well on the call when you speak.
You’ll quickly learn where your volume should be set once you’ve participated in a few video calls, but aim for a medium volume and adjust up or down based on what device you’re using for the video call. If you’re the group leader, it’s a great idea to do a quick soundcheck at the beginning of the video meeting to ensure everyone can hear one another.
Using headphones can also reduce feedback or static on the video call and filter out any background noises to make sure you have a crisp, clear audio experience with minimal distractions.
Ensure your webcam is positioned correctly.
During a video conference, you want people to be able to see your face and observe your expressions, so you should position your webcam or hold your mobile device so that your face and torso can be seen clearly. Make the positioning as natural as possible by making sure the camera isn’t too close or too far away, and is facing you directly.
Make sure your home office is clean, appropriately decorated, and has good light.
Video conference participants will be able to see you and your surroundings during a video call, so make sure your office or workspace is clean and well-lit. If you have your workspace decorated, make sure that everything is in good taste and that nothing will offend or distract the other members of the video call.
Dress the part.
Some of your video calls may end up being impromptu and casual but make sure that you’re dressed appropriately for all the of the calls you take via video. You should look put-together and professional and put your best, fresh face forward in your video meeting.
Pay attention, take notes, and don’t be tempted to multitask.
During your video calls, you should pay attention and take notes. Writing notes by hand can be a great way for you to capture all of the details you need to remember from your meeting, and it will be less distracting than trying to type notes. If you no prefer to type your notes, make sure to mute yourself so your typing isn’t distracting to others.
According to a Lifesize survey, 82 percent of video users are less likely to multitask on a video call versus an audio only call. Unlike audio calls, people can see you during your video calls so will be able to see if your attention goes elsewhere. Engage, connect, and enjoy your meeting and don’t try to clear your inbox during a video call.
Look directly at the camera as you speak (and don’t become distracted by yourself).
When you’re speaking during a video call, look directly at the camera and keep your face relaxed and natural as you would in a real face-to-face interaction. Most video conferencing solutions will show a small video image of yourself in the bottom corner, but try not to stare at yourself when you speak, as it will look odd and disengaging to others in the video meeting.
Don’t leave without dismissing yourself or letting someone know.
If you have to leave early or step away for whatever reason during the video call, make sure to let someone know in case you’re called upon while you’re away. If someone knows you had to leave or will return shortly, people won’t waste time waiting for you and can move on if need be.
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