10 Dos and Don’ts of Videoconferencing Etiquette

With globalization and the rise of business outsourcing and freelancing, video conferencing has become an integral part of business communications. Moreover, advancements in technology make it increasingly easier to connect with employees, clients, and partners. It’s integral that you equip your employee with the skills and knowledge needed for effective videoconferencing. That said, here are 10 dos and don’ts of videoconferencing etiquette.

Do: Check and test your equipment a day or two and a few hours before your conference. Do a speed test to check if your internet connection can cope with the task. Do a simulation call with a colleague so you know how the gear will fare in the actual thing. Early before the meeting, give the equipment a test run once again to see if everything’s still in order.

Don’t: Use subpar videoconferencing equipment. There are many factors that can hinder effective communication during videoconferences, and technical issues are on top of the list. Invest in high-quality videoconferencing gear that offers high-definition video and sound output to prevent technical difficulties, as well as break down some of the barriers of communication that doesn’t happen face-to-face.

Do: Position your camera at a proper angle. Make sure the camera placement is stable and angled at your eye level to establish direct engagement with the other parties in the conference. Also, stay in a well-lit room, or supplement the ambient lighting with task lighting to make yourself more visible. Even high-def cameras can only do so much.

Don’t: Cause a distraction with the positioning of your camera. Don’t angle it too low, too high, too close, or too far. Check if you’re not captured in an awkward or weird angle as it can be distracting to the other participants. If possible, use a separate camera since the ones that are built in in laptops and PCs are not as flexible and of high quality.

Do: Dress professionally. Sure, no one will see that you have pajama bottoms on, but wearing the appropriate work attire for the conference shows respect and professionalism. Plus, wearing the right attire can help build your confidence especially if you have an important presentation.

Don’t: Leave anything out that you don’t want others to see. Be conscious of your background, and clean up any clutter before the conference. Better yet, use a plain curtain to cover the background or sit in front of a vacant wall. Also, avoid having your back to the door so your meeting won’t be completely disrupted if someone barges into the room.

Do: Start the meeting at the agreed time. Being late is a surefire way to get off to a bad start. It sends the wrong message—that you don’t value the other participants’ time—and hinder effective communication throughout the meeting. Set up your equipment the day before, and make sure everything’s well and ready so you can start the meeting promptly.

Don’t: Be caught unaware when the camera starts. This usually happens when you’re unprepared or in a rush. This is exactly why it’s vital to do a simulation call hours before the conference to find the perfect position to present yourself well on the camera.

Do: Put your microphone on mute when you’re not speaking. Sometimes, you don’t always have control of the sounds in your environment. Microphones tend to catch minute noises, and not everyone can tolerate them. Muting your microphone can quickly eliminate background noise.

Don’t: Look at yourself in the screen when you’re talking; look into the camera instead. Although you’re not face-to-face with the other meeting participants, it’s still important to establish eye contact or something close to it. It facilitates direct engagement and is generally a good practice when communicating.

Final Word

Nowadays, videoconferencing is a standard in business operations. With more companies outsourcing parts of their operations and more employees opting to work remotely, it’s important that professionals are trained in the proper ways of videoconferencing—from working the equipment to the etiquette—to establish effective communication and build better relationships with employers, employees, clients, and partners.