WORKING REMOTELY: TO DO’S AND DON’TS OF VIDEO CONFERENCING
With the sudden shift to conducting business remotely, many of us are having to learn how to use video conferencing tools on the fly. If you’re not a seasoned Zoom-er, here are the do’s and don’ts of video calling to help ensure a positive and professional experience for all participants:
DO: UNDERSTAND THE TECHNOLOGY & TEST YOUR HARDWARE
All video calling software have the same basic features: a mute button, a screen-sharing option, and a chat function. Familiarize yourself with the basics, like how to use screen-sharing to let participants see what’s on your computer, and how to use the chat function to type messages to other users.
Be sure to test your hardware and internet connection beforehand. Make sure your microphone, camera, and speakers are working properly and that your internet speeds are fast enough to support a decent level of quality for a video call. Consider trying a practice run with friends or family members!
DO: PRACTICE GOOD MEETING ETIQUETTE
There are some unspoken rules that comprise good meeting etiquette – being on time, paying attention, maintaining eye contact – and you should apply these same principles to video meetings.
Look into the camera when talking instead of looking at yourself. Direct eye contact with the camera while speaking lets participants know that your attention is on them, and creates an environment where everyone feels engaged and present in the conversation. Be sure to position your camera at eye level!
DO: LIMIT DISTRACTIONS
There are few simple things you can do to limit distractions for yourself and other participants during a meeting. You can make it easier to focus on the meeting by turning off notifications, closing or minimizing running apps, and muting your phone. You should also avoid multitasking – wait until after the meeting to reply to emails or text messages.
You can help limit distractions for other participants by finding a quiet, private space with a neutral background. Be mindful of what other participants can see behind you – a messy room doesn’t give the best impression and can be distracting to others. If a neutral background isn’t an option, you can still hide the appearance of your chosen space by using the background features offered in many video conferencing services. For example, Zoom allows users to add a fun “virtual background” to their video.
DON’T: DRESS SLOPPY
Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress appropriately. If you wouldn’t wear a bathrobe to an in-person meeting with a client, don’t show up to a video call with one on! While it’s perfectly acceptable to dress comfortably, your attire should match the expectations of your audience.
DON’T: KEEP YOUR MIC ON (WHEN NOT SPEAKING)
It’s really important to mute yourself when not speaking and even more so when participating in group calls. Background noise can be incredibly distracting – even small things like cabinets and doors closing can get picked up. A good rule of thumb is to mute yourself whenever you’re not speaking.