Tips for a successful video conference etiquette

While video conferences have been present in work settings for some time, over the past two years, with the rise of the pandemic, video conference calls have become somewhat of a necessity. As many workers transitioned from the office to working from home, conference call meetings became the solution to allow remote participants to communicate with one another.

Although the pandemic seems to be slowly but surely moving further and further out of sight, there is a good chance that video conference calls are going to remain a constant as remote work has become a valued work model. If remote working was adopted in your place of work and management shows no signs of calling workers back in the office, it is essential that remote participants develop and refine their personal video conferencing etiquette.

8 Video Conference Etiquette Tips

Here are 8 video conference etiquette tips:

  1. Do not be afraid of video calls
  2. Be materially prepared
  3. Mute yourself when not speaking
  4. Wear appropriate clothing
  5. Inspect your background
  6. Pay Attention
  7. Know Your Remote Participants
  8. Limit the attendee list

1. Do Not Be Afraid of Video Calls

It can be tempting to ignore video calls altogether and instead opt for the classic voice calls. Online meetings with video can give workers an awkward feeling, and if having the webcam on is optional, they’ll certainly save themselves from showing their face. While technically you can get the same amount done with a phone call, it can also greatly hinder your meeting as you are not getting a full grasp of the person communicating. 

Unless the person speaking has a gorgeous radio voice, individuals tend to tune out when other eyes are not keeping their attention accountable. This explains why video calls are used for extended virtual meetings, while voice calls are perfect when employees are information seeking.

By actually seeing the person you are talking to, you will be able to get a better understanding of what they are thinking and trying to communicate. Human beings are left to assume when communication is limited to a single channel, and this information gap can be a stressor. Body language can be employed when video conferencing, and this humanizes interpersonal interaction on digital mediums.

2. Be Materially Prepared

You must be fully prepared for your video call. This means that you should have the necessary resources and technological devices ready to go. In the context of working from home, it’s the opportunity to check that you have a stable and secured Internet connection.

For example, if you have a PowerPoint presentation that you are going to share, make sure that the slideshow is open in another tab so when the time to share your screen comes, you can do so seamlessly. How many times have you had to wait on someone to retrieve the main information of the given video conference?

Another key part of preparation is to ensure that you are early to the conference call. This is especially important if you are the meeting host. Making sure you are already on the call will give you the opportunity to greet people as they join the meeting and will put you in a good position to start your meeting professionally.

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3. Mute Yourself When Not Speaking

While it is important that people can hear you when you need to be heard, it is equally important that remote participants do not hear you when you do not need to be heard. The best way to avoid extra unnecessary noise coming from other people’s surroundings is to make sure that you are on mute when you are not speaking. This small courtesy demonstrates a certain level of thoughtfulness to the group you are with.

When people are working remotely, they can be in a whole host of different surroundings, with different noises and distractions that can slow the pace of a meeting. It is therefore a good idea to get into the habit of muting yourself when you are not talking. When you unmute your microphone, it will also signal to the other interlocutors that you are about to jump into the conversation and they’ll leave you the floor.

4. Wear Appropriate Clothing

One of the most important aspects of video conferencing etiquette is the fact that you need to present yourself exactly as you would if you were having the meeting in the office. A simple way of addressing this problem is by wearing comfortable and professional work clothes

Although being in pajamas all day may seem alluring, if you are suddenly asked to turn on your camera, you’ll find yourself in an embarrassing position. One of the best video conferencing tips is therefore to wear formal work clothes for your meetings, even if you are in a familiar setting. 

5. Inspect Your Background

Humans are curious beings by nature, and you can be certain that they will notice your surroundings during video calls. If your bookshelf is behind you, they’ll know the titles of the books that are exposed. If you have plants, they’ll know which one needs more watering. This might seem intrusive at first, but it is your responsibility to polish your place of work at home.

Backgrounds are more important of an issue when it comes to video call etiquette. If you do not like having co-workers peer into your private life, you can always use one of the virtual backgrounds that are available on most conference call meeting platforms. You can even download your own plain background and use that.

Your background and the surroundings you are in will also dictate how you look on the screen, with lighting being the main contributing factor. It is a good idea to find a place where the light is not too harsh or too dim on your face to make sure that everyone on the call can see you appropriately.

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6. Pay Attention

This might seem like an obvious one, but is an important one. It can be easy to get distracted or drift off when you are on work video calls, but you need to ensure that you are not one of those people. An easy way to keep focused is to look in the eyes of the person currently sharing information during video calls. Closing tabs or applications can also limit the urge to multitask.

Once you have your camera on, you then need to make sure that you are actively paying attention. As your microphone will be off, no one will hear you, but you can show that you are engaged by visually reacting to what the speaker is saying. You can also make a little Post-it that says “On Air” and stick it on the door leading to your home office, this will stop family members or roommates from barging in unexpectedly and distracting you.

7. Know Your Remote Participants

It is possible to have genuine human interaction online and while working! Just because there’s more distance between you and your meeting participants, it does not mean you should be putting any less effort into getting to know them.

Something that has become evident in our 21st-century globalized world is the fact that our connections have broadened thanks to technology. This explains why you should know and gather certain key pieces of information about your remote participants to accommodate the video conference call in respect of their needs.

For example, a great way you can bridge the gaps between yourself and others across the world is by having interpreters available in their mother tongue to ensure that the information is grasped by those on the other side of the video conference. This small gesture demonstrates initiative and can build lasting business relationships.

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8. Limit the Attendee List

It can be tempting to get everyone to hop onto your video conference call in order to deal with everything and everyone at once. However, this is going to cause you more problems than it is going to solve. Having too many people on a conference call can easily get confusing and overwhelming.

We recommend having multiple smaller meetings as opposed to one large meeting because it is not as easy to control a group of people online as it is in person. You will find yourself in a position where everyone is talking over each other, while key issues are overlooked. Employees could also start believing that meetings are futile since only a small chunk of the information might concern them.

Intuitively, it might seem that lots of little meetings will take longer and require more logistics, but that’s not generally the case. Lots of time can be wasted on meetings with too many remote participants since they tend to be hectic and deviate from the main topic if not properly orchestrated. Fortunately, communication professionals like at SM-Global are there to optimize your video conference meetings.

Want to organize a video conference or webinar? 

Remote work saves companies and organizations valuable time and money. No matter how far apart they are, teams can now connect with each other thanks to technology. If you need to organize conferences and webinars, SM-Global rents its ZOOM licenses and provides you with the services of a specialized technician in order to make sure your video calls run smoothly.

Our team can host general assemblies for all the key participants and actors prior to your video calls and webinars. We are also available if you have any questions regarding the ZOOM video conferencing platform. Feel free to contact us, if you’re interested in any of our communication services

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