Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don'ts of Video Conferencing
As more and more businesses go remote, these are ways to be more effective and efficient on conference calls.
Update: Since this story originally ran, the worldwide coronavirus outbreak has made video conferencing an essential component to keeping businesses running. This story originally ran in 2017, but the advice is as relevant as ever.
Here are 10 do’s and don’ts that I believe elevate the overall experience of a video conference.
Do: Mute your microphone whenever you’re not speaking -- even if you’re alone in the room. Background noise can be an annoying distraction and stifle any meeting’s flow.
Do: Be aware of your video settings. Check if your microphone is muted before delivering a two-minute monologue that no one will hear.
Don’t: Position your camera too low, too high or hooked onto a different monitor. Weird camera angles can be very distracting -- and unflattering -- during video conference calls. Make sure your camera is eye level and on the monitor you plan to use for the conference.
Do: Make sure your room is well lit (side lighting is the best). Few things are worse than having a professional meeting while feeling like you're talking to someone in a dungeon. Use natural light from windows or simply turn on the overhead light in the room to brighten up the conference.
Do: Wear appropriate clothing. I know it can be tempting — especially if you work from home — to wear a work shirt and athletic shorts but dress as if you're meeting face to face. You never know if you're going to have to get up suddenly or if your camera might fall. So wear clean, professional clothing for your video calls.
Do: Your wall art or decorations should be work-appropriate and your surroundings clean. If your room looks like a college dorm room after a bender, clean it or find a different room. This also includes your desk! Avoid having multiple coffee mugs, dishes and trash on the surface.
Do: Test your microphone before you video call, especially if it's an important meeting. Test it by video conferencing your colleague before the meeting. Nothing is worse than trying to share something critical, and not being able to communicate clearly because your audio clarity and volume are poor.
Do: If you're in a group call without video, introduce yourself before you talk. Consider something like "Hi it’s Jim, I have a question.” While several programs will notify you as to who is talking, conference line numbers will not. Therefore, be polite and introduce yourself.
Don’t: Check or read emails or peruse articles while on the video call. This also includes doing additional work beyond the call. It’s easy for other participant’s to tell if you aren't fully focused and present during the video call.
Do: When you're talking, look into the camera instead of looking at yourself talking on the computer screen. It will help others on the call feel like you're 100 percent engaged and present.
It’s important to remember that video conferences are essentially in-person interactions that allow businesses to communicate more effectively.