Video conferencing is an exciting way to connect with people as if they were in the same room as you. With high-definition video and audio, you’ll be able to upgrade your conference calls and even substitute in-person meetings for busy teams. The best part about video conferencing is that it can be done from anywhere in the world; even your office or home. There are some rules to follow when video conferencing, however, so keep reading to learn more about the etiquette of this fast-growing communication method.
Being punctual for any type of meeting is not an option, it’s a requirement. Not only does being late make you look unprofessional, but it also affects the productivity of the meeting when everyone has to stop what they’re doing so you can join in. The distracting nature of a late participant simply isn’t conducive to efficient meetings, and therefore it’s everyone’s responsibility to be on time.
If you’re hosting the video conference, you should be early by at least a few minutes to ensure everything is working correctly. Dealing with technical difficulties twenty minutes into a video conference will quickly become frustrating for everyone involved.
Always be sure of when your meetings are. Use a tool such as Google Calendar to remind you of important meetings and send notifications when it’s nearly time to attend. This will help keep you on track and ensure you’re not the one entering the video conference late.
Mute Your Audio Unless You’re Speaking
If you’re video conferencing from home or a noisy office, your background noise will quickly become distracting if not irritating to the other callers. Dogs barking, children playing or crying, noisy vacuums, etc., serve as annoying distractions and can make the call miserable for everyone.
Unless you’re speaking, take the time to mute your microphone to minimize your background noise. This will help keep the video conference on track and ensure that you’re not distracting other callers with your television or adorable puppies.
Make Sure Your Background is Appropriate
This is very important when video conferencing. If you’re calling from home, you’ll want to do so from a room without inappropriate items like offensive posters, pictures, or other distractions. Even something as simple as an ornate clock can serve as a distraction.
It’s important to place yourself in a neutral room that is free from distractions. Remember that your participants can see everything your camera sees, so if that pile of laundry is still on your bed from last Monday, perhaps your bedroom isn’t the best place for a call.
State Your Name When You Speak
Identifying yourself is necessary on audio-only calls so everyone knows who’s speaking; but it’s equally as important in a video conference so the participants can connect your name, face, and voice. If you’re working with a remote team, this is crucial to getting to know everyone better.
Including your title can also be helpful so that the conference’s participants understand in what context you’re making comments. If you’re the CEO, the callers will want to know so that your comments don’t seem out of place. A CEO will have vastly different input than say, a human resources manager.
Have a Good Connection
It can be incredibly frustrating to stare at a pixelated version of what should be someone’s face in a video conference. Poor connections mean poor audio/video quality, making video meetings difficult to navigate and quite ineffective. Be sure you’re using a stable connection when joining the conference. If your home internet isn’t great, there are thousands of locations that offer WiFi that you can use to increase your call’s quality.
Having a decent camera can also help boost the quality of your call. Invest in a webcam if video conferences are a regular occurrence in your business, so your face and voice are always clear and concise.
You should prepare your discussion materials at least a few days in advance, so you’re not scrambling during the call to locate information. If you’re presenting, have everything you need ready before you join the call; programs opened, files loaded, etc. Being unprepared is not only unprofessional, but it also makes you look unorganized or incapable of handling your end of the conference agenda.
Being prepared is also your way of letting everyone in the conference know that you value their time. People don’t like to feel like they’re having their time wasted, and you’re certainly not encouraging anyone to give you a promotion or a raise if you’re constantly unprepared and disorganized.
Focus on the Call
Try to avoid daydreaming, texting, emailing, or any other distracting activities during your video conference. You’ll end up getting lost and may become unable to answer questions or provide input to the conversation should your distractions lead you too far astray.
Not only is this detrimental to productivity, but it’s also incredibly rude and disrespectful to the other participants. It’s almost like saying “I don’t actually want to be here, your time means nothing to me”. Would you appreciate if someone’s actions made you feel this way?
Video conferencing a popular option for increasing the efficiency and versatility of meetings. By following these simple etiquette rules, whether you’re an organizer or simply a participant, you’ll be able to increase the efficiency of your calls and ensure that everyone who joins ends the conference with a sense of completion and satisfaction.