As with conference call meetings, video conferencing is helpful when the participants are at different locations. However, as you are also able to see each other, it adds another dimension to the etiquette challenges you need to consider.
Whether you are using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype, Slack or any other application, there are 12 video conference meeting etiquette rules you need to know…
1. Keep the camera at eye level or slightly above
It is more flattering to your face than an angle that is lower than eye-level. Eye-level or slightly above is a more natural position from the viewer’s perspective and similar to that of an in-person meeting. Also, it has a slightly slimming effect on the face.
2. Ensure the lens of the camera is clean
This prevents your image from appearing cloudy to others due to fingerprints or dust on the lens. The sharper your image the more attention it commands.
3. Look into the lens of the camera
This is a good video conference meeting etiquette rule to follow. The lens of the camera is equivalent to your eyes, so it creates eye contact with the viewer and can keep them more engaged with you. Resist the temptation of looking at yourself or others on the screen. The viewer can mistake it for a lack of interest in what is being discussed.
4. Be aware of your framing
Ensure you are in the middle of the camera frame i.e. there's not too much space at the top or on either side of you. Our mind prefers symmetry so it's more appealing if your face is centered in the frame. A good gauge is for your eyes to be in the top third of the frame. This will better align the viewer’s eyes with yours.
5. Be mindful of your sound quality
Don't depend on your device's microphone. If you don’t have an external microphone, consider using your cell phone's earplugs, the microphone will be of better quality than your computer. If this is not an option, then sit closer to the device.
6. Have good lighting
This is an underrated video conference meeting etiquette rule. The difference between a face-to-face encounter and video should be minimum. The lighting from your device is usually insufficient. Natural light is best, which is why sitting facing a window works so well. Avoid backlighting and lighting above the head as it casts unflattering shadows.
7. Be aware of your background
Avoid distractions in your background such as other people or pets, sensitive information, personal items, clutter, bold designs, etc. It can detract from your message and the purpose of your meeting.
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8. Personal dress and grooming
Maintain the same standard as with in-person meetings. Video meetings are no different. Your video representation should match the occasion, your target audience and the purpose of the meeting. For work-related meetings, keep your dress code professional.
9. Your verbal and nonverbal communication
This video conference meeting etiquette rule is sometimes forgotten. Similar to personal dress, maintain the same standard as with face-to-face meetings. There is a tendency to be more casual when meetings are not in-person, especially if you are attending the meeting from home. Avoid using words and body language that are inappropriate e.g. questionable language or poor posture.
10. Reduce excessive gestures, fidgeting and alternate conversations
All these actions are annoying to most viewers and it looks unprofessional e.g. speaking to pets… not only is it unappealing for some, but they will also be unable to see your pet if it is out of the frame. It is not a good practice.
11. Mind your manners
This is another overlooked video conference meeting etiquette rule. Avoid eating on camera, not paying attention when others are contributing and not putting your audio on mute when not contributing. Not muting your microphone may create feedback that can interrupt the speaker. As obvious as these may be, they are still frequently done during video conference meetings.
12. Turn off your video if you need to step away from your device
Life happens and there may be a valid reason to leave the meeting for a brief moment. This practice will save you from having to deal with an embarrassing situation because others sharing your space were not aware that your camera was live.
Video conference calls have made it easier to connect and do business at anytime and anywhere. The benefit is great but the basic rules of meeting etiquette should always be applied.
How to have meetings that make a powerful impact is covered in the blog: 12 Tips to make your meetings high impact and get the job done.
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