Summary: When you follow proper video conferencing etiquette, you always look great to those who receive your feed. Even if they don’t use good etiquette themselves, they’ll reward you for your professionalism.
To speed interaction and keep travel expenses down, companies that want to participate in today’s competitive marketplace have turned to video conferencing solutions to handle meetings inexpensively and efficiently.
Many employees of these companies, however, haven’t been trained in proper video conferencing etiquette, and that can mean that meetings don’t go as smoothly as they could, time is wasted and it’s embarrassment rather than confidence that the people on the other side of the connection see.
Here are some tips for coming across in a professional manner when you meet via video conference:
Assume everything is working well.
Today’s video conferencing equipment is more dependable than ever, so there’s no reason to yell at the microphone or ask if the people on the other side can hear you. In the rare instance when something goes wrong, they’ll speak up and say so.
Mute your microphone when it’s not in use.
Microphones are designed to cancel out extraneous noises, but there’s no reason to leave a mic open when you don’t plan to speak. Air conditioning noise, rustling papers and your whispers detract from a meeting’s effectiveness.
Treat cameras and microphones with the same courtesy as a person.
That means you don’t step into areas where you know the cameras can’t cover you and you don’t stray away from a stationary mic. It’s rude to make unexpected movements that startle a person in the room with you, and video conferencing equipment doesn’t always respond well to those situations either.
Look into the camera when possible.
Most people learned the importance of good eye contact in school. When using video conferencing services, looking into the camera means the people at the other locations feel you’re looking directly at each of them. That kind of eye-contact coverage is something you could never accomplish in person.
Make sure people know who’s speaking.
State your name each time you speak, and tell your location if there are multiple locations involved. That helps with switching and it helps users in all locations keep up with the framework within which you make your comments.
Always assume the cameras and mics are on.
Don’t worry. Your mic will go off when you press the mute button if you have modern, up-to-date video conferencing equipment and the cameras may not be watching you every moment, but assuming a camera or mic is always on is good advice for anyone who speaks in public or appears in the media. If equipment is present, someone could be listening or watching through it, so only say and do things you don’t mind everyone knowing about.
Some people who are perfectly relaxed in person tense up when cameras are around, but there’s no reason to be concerned. Cameras don’t make you look fat or old. They portray you as you are, and if that’s good enough in person, it’s good enough for video conferencing.
If you keep these tips in mind, you can appear confident and professional to the people who are seeing your feed — even if their equipment or their actions make them look bad to you.