With its power to link large numbers of people in virtual space with zero risk to health and safety, video conferencing is now more than ever proving its value to businesses the world over. But to get the most out of your video conferencing, there are certain conditions you’ll need to ensure and some best practices to follow. We’ll be looking at these recommendations in this article.
What is Video Conferencing Etiquette?
Video conferencing etiquette refers to the set of practices and behaviors that are considered appropriate and respectful when participating in a video conference or virtual meeting. Practicing good video conferencing etiquette can help to create a more productive and professional virtual meeting experience for everyone involved.
To make your video conferencing meetings more productive and rewarding for everyone, review the general video conferencing best practices and learn how to improve the experience whether you are an onsite participant or a remote participant.
Video Conferencing Etiquette: 14 Essential Dos
1. Create an agenda
Start with the conference agenda. Write down only important topics, and think about who would be interested in participating in the meeting. If this is a workshop, invite colleagues who are directly related to the topic and will be able to speak. Other interested parties can send a transcript of the call
2. Establish ground rules and event protocols
If you’re hosting a video conference with multiple presenters, get a copy of their presentations beforehand, just in case they have difficulties with sharing content from their end. You can ensure that all participants have equal access to content by sharing all of it within the video conferencing connection and using online tools.
It’s often wise to appoint a meeting facilitator who’s responsible for providing an agenda to the participants and keeping the conference on track by encouraging attendees to get involved and limiting side conversations or multitasking. At the start of the meeting, this person should also set out the verbal cues (raised hand, in-app alert, etc.) to indicate that a participant wishes to speak.
As a participant, you should follow all instructions in the video conferencing invitation and take note of important supplementary information, such as a backup phone number in case you’re disconnected.
3. Make sure that everyone invited
To make sure that everyone invited to the conference knows when it will happen and that it’s actually taking place, you should send out an email or text message prior to the event, giving all essential details. This should typically be done a day or two before the conference to give attendees some time to prepare.
If you’re scheduling an impromptu meeting due to take place in a matter of hours or even minutes (depending on the level of urgency), you’ll need to use the real and near-real-time tools of your business communications platform to spread the word. This could include SMS or mobile app alerts, instant messaging, or phone calls.
4. Create a backup communication plan
You’ll need to create a backup communication plan in case you have trouble connecting with remote participants. This might include using a mobile phone or speakerphone or an online collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams.
If the video conference is for a large number of participants, add a link to the chat or social network in the reminder email where you can ask the moderator a question in case of technical problems.
5. Make sure the equipment works perfectly
Check all hardware and the application you are using beforehand. A classic example of not-so-professional behavior is being late because your app was updated.
20% of users say that the most significant problem they have encountered during video conferences is poor audio quality.
6. Be punctual
Being punctual is critical for business, for your reputation, and for your first impression. Arrive on time for the meeting or even a few minutes early to avoid holding up the rest of the participants. By joining the call on time, you demonstrate that you value their time and are committed to making the meeting a productive and efficient use of everyone's time.
It helps to keep the meeting on schedule and ensures that everyone has enough time to discuss the agenda items and make decisions. Delaying the start of the meeting due to latecomers can cause unnecessary delays and disruptions.
Additionally, arriving on time reflects positively on your professionalism and reliability. It demonstrates that you are organized, responsible, and take the meeting seriously. Being punctual builds trust with the other participants and shows that you are dependable and can be relied upon to follow through on commitments and meet deadlines.
7. Dress appropriately
Remote work is becoming more popular and no longer surprising. One of its features is frequent video calls. Meetings, rallies, and negotiations - everything takes place online.
Dressing appropriately for a video meeting is an important way to demonstrate professionalism, credibility, and respect for the other participants. It can help to create a more focused and productive meeting environment and can help to enhance your image and credibility with the other participants.
It is not necessary for everyone to wear a suit for a video call. Much depends on your field of activity, position in the company, and internal rules.
In most cases, a clean shirt and neat hair are all you need to look your best on a video call.
For lawyers, politicians, and officials, a tie and suit will not be superfluous.
Creative workers are more fortunate. A T-shirt and jeans are already office wear for them, so it is also suitable for videoconferencing from home.
8. Choose a quiet location
Find a quiet location to minimize background noise and interruptions. It can help to ensure that everyone can hear clearly and understand each other, which is especially important if there are participants who are joining the call from different locations with varying levels of background noise.
A quiet location also helps to create a more professional and productive meeting environment and enhances your focus during the call. By eliminating distractions, you can better concentrate on the discussion and contribute more effectively to the meeting.
Avoid locations with distracting background visuals, such as windows or mirrors. Consider the following:
- If you’ve set up a conference room, make sure that microphones are distributed so that they can pick up all the speakers.
- If participants are at a location with excessive background noise, have them mute their microphones if they’re not speaking.
- If you’re a conference participant, don’t position yourself so that a lighting source is directly behind you.
- Sit with your back to a wall, and if there are windows in the room, lower the shades.
- Set up early, and make sure that your audio and video are working.
9. Choose a clean background and good lighting
Prepare as if you had an appointment in person. You need to choose a well-lit place with a suitable background. Here are some tips from network ethics:
- Position yourself so that there is a wall behind your back without distracting details.
- Try to keep the light source on the side or in front of you.
- Use artificial lighting if there is not enough daylight.
- Set the camera at eye level so that your face is in the middle of the frame.
When using backlights, give preference to light bulbs with neutral white light. Place the lamps a little further away from you so that they illuminate your face more softly. If you're using daylight, don't sit with your back to a window, as you risk blowing out the image.
10. Stay attentive
Stay focused and attentive during the meeting. Avoid multitasking or browsing the internet, as this can be distracting and impolite.
Staying attentive is a sign of professionalism and attentiveness. It demonstrates that you value the time of the other participants, keeps you engaged in the meeting and the discussion, and allows you to contribute more effectively. In addition, it helps you better understand the other participants' perspectives and ideas, ask better questions and provide more thoughtful responses.
- Look into the camera to maintain eye contact with the participants.
- Be sure to wait for the previous person to finish their thought.
- Close messengers and unnecessary tabs to focus on the meeting.
- Avoid parallel activities that may distract from the event.
- Speak clearly, at an average pace and quietly, without excessive gesticulation.
- React to the statements of the interlocutors with facial expressions: nod, smile.
11. Mute your microphone when not speaking
Muting your microphone when not speaking during a video call is an important consideration that can help to ensure that the meeting is productive, focused, and valuable for everyone involved. It shows respect for the other participants and helps to create a more professional and engaged meeting environment.
The extra noise can be distracting and even annoying to other participants. And if a cat meows in the background, everyone will definitely not be up to work. Therefore, turn on the microphone only when you start talking.
12. Be polite to other meeting participants
It is important to be as polite as you would in person. This means paying attention to each speaker, listening carefully, not getting distracted and not giving in to the urge to do something else. Be respectful of others on the call, allowing everyone to have a chance to speak and avoiding talking over others.
Here's an important tip for you: smile and try to look confident. This is the easiest and most reliable way to make a positive impression on other video conference participants.
13. Use appropriate technology
At the very least, you’ll need a camera, microphone, and headphones or speakers. For video conferencing, a headset or earbuds are preferable to avoid audio feedback and echo. Once the conference begins, mute your microphone when you’re not speaking to avoid adding any background noise.
If you’re using a webcam, avoid awkward angles and position it at eye level. Using self-view mode, you can test the angle of your camera prior to a conference call.
With the video conferencing capabilities of modern business phone systems, it’s possible to attend and participate in a meeting from your mobile phone. If you’re using a mobile device, keep it as steady as possible, and hold it out in front of you at eye level.
During the conference, look directly at the camera, and avoid looking down. Also, resist the urge to fidget or multi-task during the meeting.
14. Keep a record of what’s said
It’s a good idea to record the conference for participants to review or to give anyone who was unable to attend an opportunity to view the discussion. If you are providing a transcript, let everyone know ahead of time that you’ll be recording the conference. Modern teleconferencing platforms often provide call recording software as standard – and these transcripts can serve as the “minutes” of your meeting.
Transcripts can be made available as email attachments or via the media streaming tools provided by your business communications platform or collaboration software.
Related: Conference Call Etiquette: 12 Essential Dos and Don'ts
Get the Most Out of Your Next Video Conference with net2phone
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If you’d like to know how net2phone’s business communications solutions can facilitate your video conferencing, contact one of the net2phone experts.