The 5 Best Etiquette Rules for Video Conferences
In 2020, video conferencing was as ubiquitous as making bread and clapping for healthcare workers. But many have also struggled with the art perfecting video conferences. Today, we share tips on how to hold great video conferences that keep your team connected.
1. Be Punctual
Treat your video conferences as you would any other meeting. Make sure you have everything set up in advance and are prepared to enter the conference call on time. This can help you avoid setbacks driven by technical difficulties you may encounter, and therefore, you won’t have to waste any of the time set aside for the meeting wrestling with your computer. It is advisable to do some test runs with the technology you’ll use to ensure everything runs smoothly during the meeting. This is especially important when you’re preparing for meetings with external clients.
2. Dress for the Occasion
There have been many jokes about work-from-home attire and attending video calls while wearing pajama bottoms or gym leggings. However, wearing office-appropriate attire, even at home, is more than a matter of courtesy. Dressing appropriately shows your colleagues that you take these meetings seriously. There is also evidence to show that dressing in work clothes helps you maintain focus, whereas lounging around in athletic wear all day can put you in a distracted mindset.
3. Lights, Camera, Action
In a world where face-to-face interactions are difficult if not impossible, video conferencing has become the norm. But one downside of video calls is that it can be harder to ascertain important visual cues and facial expressions. Consequently, the right lighting is important when conducting a video conference, as this ensures that people can see you clearly and easily interpret your body language. This is especially important for maintaining connection between colleagues during a time of social distancing.
Along the same lines, it is important to position the camera in a way that allows you to look into the lens. The camera should be at eye level, facing you straight on. Putting the camera too high or too low can disrupt eye contact and make connection between participants more difficult — not to mention the unflattering angles improper camera placement can produce!
4. Unmute the Primary Speaker Only
In large group meetings, it can be difficult to manage the many voices present. The sound of typing, phone notifications going off, someone coughing: It can all disrupt the flow of the meeting. Add to this the external noises of many employees’ work environments (e.g. children, pets, other household members working from home), and it becomes a fight to hear each other. This is why all those not currently speaking should mute their microphones during a video conference. This allows for clarity of communication and better engagement.
5. Make Meetings Dynamic and Interactive
It can be easy to zone out during even in-person meetings. Now that we’re all dealing with Zoom fatigue — the phenomenon of being tired out by video conferences due to both eye strain and all the extra work we need to do to decipher important interpersonal cues — paying attention can be even harder.
If you are leading the meeting, try to make it as interactive and dynamic as possible. By asking questions, provoking discussion, and engaging in collective brainstorming, you give your staff members easy ways to stay engaged and awake during the meeting.
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