The onset of Covid-19 undoubtedly and unexpectedly affected the way we live day to day. It also managed to derail certain business processes, including how we communicate and collaborate. As a result, videoconferencing in programs like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype for Business have seen an influx in usage. At the start of social distancing, these communication platforms were new to many. But as time moves on, so does the expectation that employees are able to follow proper videoconferencing etiquette.
Videoconferencing Etiquette Expectations
Prepare and Check Your Sound/ Video Settings Prior
We all know technology can dysfunction at times. You’ll want to check to ensure your mic is getting sound and your video is showing a clear picture. In addition, you should check your internet connection and have a backup plan, in the event it fails.
Don’t Be Late
Although you are not face to face with an individual, being on time is still equally important. Showing up to a videoconference at the exact starting time is actually showing up late. You should log in 5-7 minutes prior to the start of the presentation. This allows you to be ready to begin right at the start time.
Mute Your Microphone
I’m pretty sure if you’ve been on a videoconference, you’ve heard the words, “Please mute yourself or we can’t hear you, you’re on mute!” We get it, things happen! But this should not be a regular occurrence. Be mindful of your mic status at all times. Stay on mute at all times unless speaking.
Position Your Camera Properly and Look Into Camera
While it is tempting to look at yourself or directly at participants on the video call, it is best to look directly into your camera instead. This way, participants viewing will feel as though you are looking directly at them versus off to the side.
Make Proper Introductions
Don’t assume everyone is familiar with all participants on the call. Unless you’re absolutely sure everyone is known, proper introductions should happen at the beginning of the videoconference. You’ll also want to state your name as you begin to speak.
No Chewing, No Exceptions
Let’s be honest, microphones magnify sound and the sound of chewing is not a pleasant one. Be considerate to all participants by not eating or chewing gum during a videoconference. I do recommend having a drink nearby to keep yourself from getting dry mouth when speaking. You’ll still want to drink while on mute.
Be Mindful of Background Noise (Especially Cell Phones, Other Individuals, and House Sounds)
Absolute silence can be hard to achieve without prior preparation. It is best practice to put yourself in a do not disturb mode on your computer, silence your cell phone, take the call away from other individuals when possible, and don’t forget to settle your pet as well.
Be Present, Limit Distractions, and Don’t Multi-Task
While it is tempting to work on other things while videoconferencencing, be aware, other participants can tell when you’re distracted and/or multi-tasking. Being present is very important. To be present, you need to listen intently, speak up and participate in conversations, and offer valuable input. Don’t be known as a lurker!
Following these simple and direct guidelines will ensure your success using the various communication platforms.
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