The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way we live and work. Home is the new workplace and video conferencing a vital tool to manage remote teams and get work done.
Whether it’s a virtual meeting with your staff or your clients, it is important to follow proper video conferencing etiquette. Doing so will ensure that your online meetings are just as professional and productive as those conducted in office.
Keep the following tips in mind while video conferencing:
Before the meeting
Set up your space
Find a quiet corner in your house where you can focus without any interruptions. Make sure the space is clean with no dirty mugs, dishes or laundry visible behind you when you face the camera. Your remote work space should also be well lit. If there is not enough natural light, brighten your screen by placing a light source behind the camera for a flattering effect.
Avoid wearing stripes or checks (they may blur on camera), neons, loose-fitting T-shirts or revealing clothes. Looking presentable during a virtual meeting is not only professional, but it also feels good. That confidence will reflect in your behaviour and how you approach work.
Position your camera
Place your camera at your eye level. If you are working on a laptop, place something beneath it that raises the camera lens to your eye level.
Test your equipment
Test-call a friend or colleague to make sure your camera, speakers and microphone are working fine before you join the meeting.
Share the agenda beforehand
Send out an email before the meeting detailing the agenda for it. This will keep discussions on track during the meeting, and help others to come prepared as well.
Know your way around the software
If working remotely is new for you, familiarize yourself with the features of the video conferencing software being used. If you will share your screen to make a presentation during the meeting, make sure you know how to do that beforehand.
During the meeting
Be on time
This is paramount. Avoid scheduling back-to-back virtual meetings. If you are going to be late due to an emergency at home, make sure to let your colleagues know at the earliest possible.
Mute your mic when not speaking
Do so to prevent disturbances from your end during the call. If your mic isn’t muted, everyone will be able to hear the smallest movements you make (like shifting the chair, coughing, typing on the keyboard). If the meeting is being held with a large group, it is best to ask questions using the chat feature. Also, remember to mute your mic and turn off your camera if you need to get up during the meeting.
Look into the camera
It is natural to look at the screen during a video conference. But looking into the camera creates the effect of eye contact. It will make your audience feel as if you are directly addressing them.
Avoid doing other things, such as watching TV on mute, talking to someone in the house, snacking, checking your phone, etc. while you are on a video call. You may have muted your mic, but others can still see you on the camera. Looking distracted is unprofessional and also rude to other participants.