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Video Conferencing Etiquette

February 27, 2024

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

Mastering Video Conferencing Etiquette: Guidelines for Professional Virtual Interactions

In the rapidly digitizing world, one area that has seen significant growth is video conferencing. Whether it's an important meeting with a potential client or a casual catch-up with your team, video conferencing solution and calls are increasingly becoming the norm for professional communication. As these virtual interactions become more commonplace, it's crucial to understand and apply video conferencing etiquette to maintain a professional demeanor. Here are some guidelines to help you excel in your online meetings:

1. Be On Time

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

Just as with in-person business meetings however, punctuality is key in video conferences. Joining late can disrupt ongoing discussions and can reflect poorly on your professionalism. If for some reason you foresee being late, let the host know in advance and enter the meeting quietly without interrupting.

2. Dress Appropriately

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

While it might be tempting to wear casual clothing (or worse, pajamas) during a video call, maintaining professional attire is essential. Dressing appropriately not only showcases your professionalism but also mentally prepares you for a business-like conversation.

3. Choose Your Surroundings Wisely

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

A cluttered background can be a major distraction for other family members and participants. Try to ensure your background is tidy, neutral, and free from any potential interruptions. Also, be aware of the lighting; a poorly lit room can make it hard for others to see you, while harsh lighting can be equally distracting.

4. Check Your Tech

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

Ensure your device’s camera and microphone are working correctly before the meeting. It's also a good idea to have a stable internet connection to prevent glitches or disruptions during video chat. If you're new to a video conferencing platform, take some time to familiarize yourself with its features.

5. Mute When Not Speaking

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

To reduce background noise, keep your microphone muted when you're not speaking. Unwanted sounds can disrupt the flow of the conversation and make it harder for others to concentrate.

6. Use Proper Body Language

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

Remember, people can still see you! Non-verbal communication is as important as verbal during a video call. Maintain good posture, make sure to make eye contact by looking into the camera, and show that you're engaged in the discussion.

7. Practice Active Listening

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

Just like in physical meetings, active listening is crucial in virtual ones. Show that you're paying attention by nodding, smiling, and giving other non-verbal feedback. Avoid multitasking as it can be visible and distracting to others.

8. Respect Speaking Turns

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

Interrupting someone during a virtual meeting can cause confusion due to latency issues. Wait for a speaker to finish their point before chiming in, and if you wish to speak, use the 'Raise Hand' feature if available, or signal visually that you have something to add.

9. Maintain Professionalism and Courtesy

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

Just as in any professional setting, be respectful and courteous to all family members and participants. Avoid inappropriate jokes, language, or behavior that could make others uncomfortable.

10. Follow Up Post-Meeting

image illustration for Stork's blog post on video conferencing etiquette

After the meeting, it's good practice to send a follow-up email summarizing the points discussed or actions decided. This keeps everyone on the same page and serves as a reference for those who may have missed the meeting.

Mastering good video conferencing etiquette is becoming an essential skill in today's professional environment. By following these guidelines, you will ensure that your virtual meetings are just as productive, respectful, and effective as your in-person ones.

FAQ

What are the do's and don'ts of video conferencing?

Do's:

  1. Test Your Technology: Before the meeting, check your internet connectivity, camera, microphone, and the video conferencing software. Make sure everything works smoothly to avoid technical difficulties during the meeting.
  2. Be Punctual: Join the meeting on time. This shows respect for others' time and prevents disruptions once the meeting has started.
  3. Dress Professionally: Even though you're not in the office, it's important to maintain a professional appearance. Dress appropriately from head to toe, in case you need to stand up during the meeting.
  4. Limit Distractions: Choose a quiet and well-lit place for the meeting. Make sure your background is clean and not distracting. Inform those around you about your meeting to avoid interruptions.
  5. Use Mute: When you're not speaking, keep your microphone muted to eliminate background noise.
  6. Use Body Language: Non-verbal cues are essential to convey your attention and engagement. Nod in agreement, maintain eye contact by looking at the camera, and show active participation.
  7. Follow Up: After the meeting, send a summary or minutes of the meeting to all participants. This helps keep everyone on the same page and provides a reference for future discussions.

Don'ts:

  1. Don't Be Late: Joining a meeting late is disruptive and unprofessional. If you can't avoid being late, inform the host in advance.
  2. Don't Multitask: While it may be tempting, avoid checking emails, surfing the web, or doing other tasks during the meeting. These actions can be distracting and convey disinterest.
  3. Don't Interrupt: Due to slight delays in digital communication, interruptions can be more jarring and disruptive in a virtual meeting. Wait for your turn to speak, or use the software's built-in features to signal that you want to say something.
  4. Don't Eat During the Meeting: Unless it's a casual team meeting or explicitly stated to be okay, avoid eating during the video conference. It can be distracting and might come across as unprofessional.
  5. Don't Use Inappropriate Language or Behavior: Maintain a professional and respectful demeanor at all times. Jokes or comments that might be acceptable in a personal context may not be suitable for a professional meeting.
  6. Don't Forget to Sign Out: At the end of the meeting, make sure to leave the conference properly. Staying in an empty conference can utilize unnecessary bandwidth and may appear unprofessional if others notice.

Remember, every virtual meeting is a reflection of your professionalism. These do's and don'ts can help ensure you make the best impression during your next video conference or conferences.

What is the golden rule of video meetings?

The Golden Rule of video meetings is: "Treat other participants as you would like to be treated." This adage, rooted in empathy and respect, translates into several specific actions in the context of video conferencing meetings:

  1. Respect Time: Just as you'd appreciate others being punctual, ensure you're on time for all video meetings.
  2. Eliminate Distractions: As you'd want others to be focused and engaged during the meeting, make sure you're not multitasking or allowing distractions to divert your attention.
  3. Active Participation: If you expect others to actively participate, ensure that you are contributing meaningfully to the conversation as well.
  4. Professional Conduct: Maintain a professional demeanor throughout the meeting, including your attire, language, and etiquette, just as you would expect from others.
  5. Proper Use of Technology: Make sure your microphone is muted when not speaking, use the 'Raise Hand' feature or other platform-specific tools to avoid interrupting others, and ensure your camera is on and properly positioned to foster a more engaging and personal connection.

By following this Golden Rule, you not only create a more productive meeting environment for remote work, but you also show respect for your colleagues and clients.

What are the 5 etiquettes in audio video conferencing?

1. Be Punctual: Respect everyone's time by joining the meeting at the scheduled start time. If you're going to be late or can't attend, inform the meeting room host or other participants in advance.

2. Check Your Equipment: Make sure your audio and video equipment is functioning correctly before the meeting. This includes ensuring you have a stable internet connection, your microphone and camera are working properly, and you're familiar with the various video conferencing tools and platform being used.

3. Mute When Not Speaking: To prevent background noise from disturbing the other in person meeting, keep your microphone muted when you're not speaking. This makes it easier for everyone to hear the person who is speaking.

4. Respect Speaking Turns: Wait for the speaker to finish their thought before chiming in. In larger meetings, consider using the 'raise hand' feature or typing in the chat to signal you have something to say, rather than interrupting.

5. Maintain Professional Demeanor: Dress appropriately for the meeting, choose a neutral and non-distracting background, and be mindful of your body language. Even though you're not in a physical office, professional demeanor is still important in virtual meetings.

What should you avoid doing during a videoconference?

1. Arriving Late: Tardiness disrupts the flow of the meeting and can be viewed as disrespectful of others' time. Always aim to join the meeting a few minutes early.

2. Not Checking Equipment: Technical difficulties can be a major disruption during a videoconference. Ensure that your camera, microphone, and internet connection are functioning properly before the video meeting even begins.

3. Poor Video and Audio Quality: Your colleagues or clients should be able to see and hear you clearly. Avoid sitting in a poorly lit room or a noisy environment.

4. Multi-tasking: It can be tempting to answer emails, browse the internet, or carry on with other tasks during the meeting, especially when your camera is off. However, this can lead to missed information and shows a lack of respect and attention to the meeting.

5. Eating or Drinking: Unless it's a casual meeting or a long meeting where eating has been explicitly okayed, avoid eating or drinking noisy or messy foods.

6. Inappropriate Attire or Background: Even though you're likely working from home, it's still important to maintain a professional appearance. Also, make sure your background is clean and free of anything that could be distracting or inappropriate.

7. Interrupting Others: Wait for your turn to speak. With the slight delay that can occur in video and video conference calls sometimes, interruptions can be more disruptive than they are in person.

8. Not Muting When Not Speaking: Always mute yourself when you're not speaking to eliminate the chance of background noise.

9. Ignoring Non-verbal Cues: Body language still matters in a video call etiquette or videoconference. Avoid displaying signs of disinterest or distraction, like looking at your phone or away from the camera.

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