You’d think mastering video conferencing would be relatively simple, but video conference etiquette can actually be somewhat delicate. Check out our list of conferencing rules for beginners. Do you recognise yourself or a colleague in any of these?
Don’t be tardy to the party
Would you stroll into a real life meeting room 10 minutes late and clutching a steaming hot cup of coffee, with a YouTube video still playing on your phone? The rules don’t change just because you’re conferencing in cyber-land. It’s still good manners to show up on time!
Dress up for the occasion
Your laptop might propped up on a pile of laundry, but it’s difficult to take someone seriously on day three of their Pink Panther pyjamas. Especially if they don’t even wear pyjamas.
Try to make sure that what’s in shot is smart and presentable.
Remember, people can see you
Just like in a face-to-face meeting, minds can start to drift during a video call. With everyone arrayed across one screen, video conferencing actually makes it easier to keep an eye on everyone at once. Keep that in mind when yawning, rolling your eyes, or watching the TV over the top of your screen.
Keep eye contact in check
Eye contact is an important part of physical body language, and helps people communicate with each other more effectively. It might seem a little odd at first but look down the camera from time to time, gesture with your hands, or give a reassuring nod to help strengthen communication when there’s a barrier in place.
Keep the snacks crunch-free
Eating a crunchy biscuit during a meeting is usually fairly safe (unless there’s an over-dunk disaster). Put that sound next to a microphone and trust us, it really does take the biscuit. Keep the snacks to an audible minimum but if you do have the urge to crunch, just remember to mute your mic first.
Find your lighting and angles
OK, so it’s not quite influencer-profile-photo time, but keep in mind that the whole point of a video conference is to enable other participants to see you properly.
Try to sit somewhere with great natural light and frame your face well. Sitting on your bed, in the dark, with the lens pointed up from underneath your chin is neither flattering nor conducive to good co-working.
Tell your friends, family and pets to scatter
Nothing crashes through the professional facade quite like a couple of kids arguing, or bleary-eyed underpants-clad other half appearing mid call. Make everybody around you aware of what you’re doing, and ask them for some peace and quiet while you do it.
Speak up and make a contribution
When you’re not sitting around a table with people, it’s easy to feel less pressure to contribute. Video calls are the perfect way for wallflowers to simply blend into the background. However, if you want your video meeting to be productive, you need to pipe up and be proactive about doing your bit.
Read the room and know when to mute your mic
If you’re dealing with a great deal of background noise, try turning off your mic when you’re not actually speaking – especially when it’s somebody else’s turn to talk.
Don’t turn yourself into a potato
If you haven’t seen the viral tweet about the woman who accidentally turned herself into a talking potato on a Microsoft Teams meeting then go and find it right now.
If you have, let it be a lesson to you about the importance of knowing how to use your technology. Get to grips with it and have a practice before the real thing if you’re not feeling all too confident.