Now more than ever, we are finding ourselves using video conference calling to interact with fellow colleagues, clients and customers. Whether your preferred choice of platform is Google Hangout, Zoom, Star Leaf or Skype, there is video conferencing etiquette you should always follow.
Simon Bellard, HR Consultant, outlines some useful points to consider prior to and during video conferencing calls.
- Ensure you are fully prepared
It is worthwhile to make contact with your recipients prior to using a video chat facility, in order to ensure that they have the technology to undertake such a meeting and are comfortable in doing so. It will also give you the opportunity to test your kit to ensure it is working as it should do beforehand.
There are facilities to share screens, which can be very beneficial in some meetings, so ensure you know how to do take advantage of this feature.
- Look professional
Meetings via video chat are an alternative way of communicating, but they should still be considered professional in nature. This is not to say that you should wear a suit, but consideration should be given to wearing a smart shirt, blouse, dress or tailored t-shirt. Think of your reputation and your audience and how you wish to come across on camera.
- Consider your background
Think about what others can see behind you. If you have a blank wall in your house that could be used, then this may be your preference and will help with your professional outlook. You wouldn’t want your colleagues, friends or business clients to see a sink full of dirty dishes or clothes out to dry!
- Don’t go straight to video
It will also be good to confirm with the recipients that they are happy to engage in video meetings rather than just calling them up out of the blue and switching to video mode. Many people may not have any experience of conducting meetings in this way and are likely to be more receptive to this kind of communicating if they are given prior warning.
- If cameras are on, put yours on too
This may sound very natural; however, some individuals still don’t switch their cameras on for video calls which can make you seem uninterested in the discussions. Whilst the cameras are rolling, it is also a good idea to stay seated as getting up frequently can be distracting for other participants.
- Look into the lens
It is important to look into the lens when engaging in video calls, even if you are not actually talking. Constantly looking around and speaking to other people around you in the middle of a meeting doesn’t look good
- Structure your meeting
It is useful to establish a host for a meeting to ensure only the people who are invited can be given access to the platform. This will increase the security function for this method of communicating.
The host may also wish to establish some common etiquette with all invitees so that there is some sort of structure to the meeting, i.e. prepare an agenda and agree with all participants that only one individual should speak at once to avoid interruptions.
- The microphones are always on!
Don’t forget that when the meeting is in full swing, microphones are switched on and can pick up voices. If you are hosting the meeting, always be careful about what you say and warn individuals that their microphones are still on. Consider who may still be listening, even if some of the group have left the meeting.