Conferencing through video calls is one of the essential needs for remote working. Working remotely necessitates conducting virtual team meetings. The medium which facilitates these remote meetings are video conferencing calls. But it is very important to follow video conferencing etiquette to have an effective discussion and efficient collaboration.
Many professionals might have recently stepped into the remote working world, or there may be some professionals who might be a new joinee in a company. They need to be aware of the video conferencing etiquette to fair well in the remote meetings. In this article, we are going to discuss the various do’s and dont’s of video conferencing elaborately.
The Do’s and Dont’s of Video Conferencing
1. Test your Devices before
One of the important video conferencing etiquette is to maintain continuity in the discussions without any disruptions on the net connectivity, visual clarity, audio quality, and software malfunctioning. These all can be prevented by a sanity check before the meeting starts.
Ensure that your software in your mobile devices or laptops or desktops are up to date and do not throw up any errors in between the meetings or discussions. The net connectivity must not falter as it may disconnect you intermittently breaking the flow of conversations. Your webcam should have good visual capability and your face should be clear throughout the meeting. Ensure that you can connect to the embedded audio and video facilities of the remote meeting software or tool.
As part of remote meeting etiquettes, it is advisable to perform a test run of the devices, software, and tools before dialling into a video conference call.
2. Be punctual and on time
Video conferencing etiquette demands you to be on time and not be the reason for a delay in initiating the meeting. The key reason for it is you are visible to the other participants, your body movements and expressions are noticed by all. Late entry disturbs the smooth flow of conversations and distracts the other members in the video call.
It is recommended to log on or dial in at least 5 minutes before the start time of the meeting to avoid any last-minute technical glitches or unnecessary disturbances. Since you would be facing the participants visually, you need to maintain proper eye contact for generating a feeling of trust and acceptance.
Fact to remember
A late joiner in a meeting is normally not appreciated and sometimes even criticized as not being sincere or dedicated in his or her work. Hence to avoid such kind of odd situations, one of the video conference best practices is to maintain punctuality and join in before time.
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3. Dress appropriately
Though attending remote meetings happens at the comfort of your home or a co-working space, yet it is important to be appropriately dressed. You may prefer to be comfortable in your house to wear or even some casual wear. But you need to remember that you will be visible to all the participants in whatever attire you are in. Therefore it is advisable to be in proper professional attire while attending video calls.
It is advisable to imagine attending the video conference calls like that being in face to face meetings. You can then select your attire appropriately without any confusion.
Remember the way you dress and present yourself reflects a lot about your personality and behavioural attributes. The other participants in the meeting must respect you and your professional qualities, and a lot of it depends on how you dress. Dressing appropriately and professionally is a very important video, conferencing etiquette.
4. Select an appropriate Work Place
While you are live on a video conference call, it’s not only your face that is visible to others but also the background behind you. If you position yourself at a place with disturbing background pictures or posters, you humiliate the seriousness of the meeting.
There are two options to ensure the background features are great. You can paint the walls white or light colours. If you have pictures in the background, ensure they depict topics or words that are professional and not funky. The second option is to utilize the background changing facilities provided by the various remote meeting software.
Fact to remember
You might be participating in meetings or conferences or training sessions attended by people of various designations, roles, and even different cultures. You need to pay serious attention while designing your workplace and especially the place where you will position yourself for the video conferencing call. It is an essential video conferencing etiquette that needs to be followed by remote professionals.
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5. Use the Mute button
One of the video conferencing best practices is to use noise-free microphones. But still, they may pick up external background noises like the sound of vehicles outside or coughing and sneezing sounds or a fan moving, etc. Hence as part of video conferencing etiquette, it is advisable to use the mute button of your remote meeting software when you are not speaking. The sounds and noises easily distract other participants and prevent the smooth flow of conversations.
In certain instances, you can even experience heavy breathing sounds which are quite distracting in remote meetings. There are even cases wherein you may receive a phone call which you need to attend urgently in between a meeting. These external noises are a cause of irritation for the other participants and are not considered good remote meeting etiquettes. It is advisable to avoid such situations by simply pressing the mute button.
Almost all video conferencing software have mute buttons. Still re-check their functioning and usage before the meeting starts to eliminate any issues in between conversations.
6. Adequate Lighting
Ensure there are proper lights to illuminate the area from where you attend the video calls. Attending calls in a gloomy environment decreases the picture clarity. The other participants may not feel comfortable interacting with you. Since the essential purpose of video conference calls is to visually interact with each other, hence downgrading that aspect will not assist the motive behind the remote meetings.
Maintaining adequate lighting so that your face and the background are visible is an important video conferencing etiquette. The other members of the call must feel your presence to be able to converse with you effectively. Remote working bars individuals in meeting face to face since they do not operate in a common office space. The video conference calls are meant to assist that particular drawback by remote viewing each other.
Fact to remember
Your success in remote working largely depends on how you develop an interpersonal relationship with the team and your leadership. Since video conferencing is a powerful medium to enable trust and confidence, you must dedicate adequate attention to ensuring you excel in all such meetings and discussions. Proper lighting plays an important role and must not be overlooked as one of the remote meeting etiquettes.
7. Eye-contact with the Camera
Maintaining direct contact with the camera is a video conferencing etiquette that you must follow throughout the entire duration of the meeting. You must reserve the entire time to focus on the meeting and not club it with other work activities like emailing or writing down notes or calling someone. These activities portray a negative image of yours among the participants about being not focused or attentive. They may also feel that you are not providing due importance to the meeting and disrespecting others attending the call.
When you look into the camera, you are looking into the eyes of the person who is speaking in the call. You need to inculcate this habit to earn the respect of other participants. It is against any professional etiquette to concentrate or look somewhere else when a person is trying to convey his or her thoughts in remote meetings. It essentially defeats the purpose of creating a healthy environment between the remote team members.
It is recommended to practice looking at the camera both when you are speaking or when someone else is speaking. You can create an imaginary situation at home and develop the habit before joining any video conference calls.
8. Greet and Meet
Wishing your fellow remote team members joining the video conference call and even the leadership team is considered as an ice breaker and one of the video conference and teleconference best practices. “Good Morning”, “Good Evening”, “Good Afternoon”, “How are you doing today?” etc. are some of the good practices to greet a person. You can enquire about the weather conditions or discuss any special news. These questions ease out the situation between the participants before initiating the meeting.
A sense of bonding and togetherness is created, strengthening the interpersonal relationships between the remote team members. It eventually helps in the effective functioning of the team through efficient collaboration. Stay cheerful and smiling when you greet a person. You need to remember that you are being observed by all the participants in a video conference call. Your facial and body expressions illustrate your behavioural attitude.
Practice greet and meet conversations through a mimic act at your home before joining a video conference call.
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9. Do not Interrupt conversations
There may be situations when you need to ask questions for more clarity or may have a different viewpoint on a specific subject being discussed. It is inappropriate to interrupt the speaker and place your thoughts. It may lead to disruptions in the meeting flow and continuity in the conversations. The other participants may dislike your attitude and you may be warned by the host of the meeting or the meeting coordinator for interrupting.
It is recommended to use the chat features of a video conferencing software or tool to place your thoughts or communicate with others. You can specifically select the person with whom you want to chat instead of disturbing others. Such an action will not disrupt the meeting and you can comfortably express your opinion with the speaker or the host of the meeting.
Be conversant about the different useful and advanced features of the video conferencing software before the meeting starts. Leverage them during the ongoing conversations to respect the virtue of professionalism.
10. Do not lose concentration
Maintaining your concentration level determines the success of remote meetings and video conference calls. Distracting yourself to side conversations in phone calls or typing in your desktop and laptop are not good practices in virtual meetings. You may miss some important discussions and announcements.
You may sometimes attend training sessions being conducted by an instructor. As a recipient, you may be required to keep yourself visible so that the instructor feels comfortable and can understand the body language of the attendees. Focusing on the training lectures shows respect for the tutor. You can also grasp the concept fast and ask questions as required.
Since now we have discussed some of the key tips for video conference and teleconference best practices, hope you can effectively conduct or participate in virtual meetings.