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video conferencing etiquette

Video Conferencing Etiquette: 10 Tips for a Successful Video Conference

In an increasingly remote world, video conferencing has become very popular, letting us collaborate with people like never before. While they have made communication easier, these conferences are difficult without proper video conferencing etiquette. So, here are some ways in which you can prevent unproductive and frustrating video conferences.  

 

10 Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips

Luckily, improving your video conferencing etiquette can be achieved by following a very simple checklist. If you keep an open mind, you can maximize productivity immediately. Below, you’ll find 10 insider tips on how to master video conferencing etiquette in any industry. 

 

1. Set the Tone by Arriving on Time

Being punctual is the first and most important thing for people with good video conferencing etiquette. It is productive and effective to join any video conference at least five minutes earlier to settle in. Some aim for earlier, depending on your choice and comfort levels. 

Making this a habit can help you ensure everything is in order. Your first checklist should be the quality of audio and video, your notes, and any materials you’ll need for the video conference. This helps you avoid technical issues and shows respect for others’ time. 

The earlier you are to the meeting, the more you can prevent potential hiccups as well. Your meeting partner may even ask to reschedule, so you’ll minimize the time wasted in scheduling. 

 

2. Perform Regular Tech Checks 

Dealing with tech issues as a meeting starts can be frustrating and ruin the conference’s quality. To avoid that, take a few minutes before a video conference to check your equipment’s functionality. This can save you lots of stress and time. 

About five to ten minutes before the meeting, do a quick tech check by connecting to the video software you’ll use. Check your camera, microphone, speakers, and wifi to ensure they work correctly. Finally, confirm that any programs or files you need to share are accessible.

When you’re not in a meeting, plan ahead and ensure these issues are addressed. If you regularly partake in video conferences, you may even consider premium subscriptions that streamline your processes. The more prepared you are, the better your meetings will be.

 

3. Mute Yourself When Not Speaking

One vital but often overlooked piece of virtual meeting etiquette is using your mute button when you’re not talking. Failing to mute causes distracting background noise whenever you shift in your seat, rustle papers, or pause to sip your coffee. 

These small sounds may seem trivial on your end but can make it difficult for others to hear the speaker or focus. They also make you look very unprofessional. So, make a habit of muting as soon as the call starts or anytime you finish speaking. 

Most conferencing platforms make it simple to toggle your sound on and off as needed. To speak up, manually unmute. Then re-mute once you’ve said your piece. With a quick double-check, you can avoid disrupting the call flow or drowning someone out, which is vital to keeping conversations coherent. This video call etiquette tip takes minimal effort, but extraordinarily boosts your professional presence.

 

4. Fix Your Camera Angle 

Besides muting, many people ignore the importance of finding the right camera angle for their video conference. While it seems like a small detail, positioning your camera correctly makes a significant difference in video conferencing. 

You want the frame to capture you straight on, about chest level, or slightly above. Setting the camera at odd low angles can be quite awkward or unflattering. So, place the webcam at eye level. Doing so makes it appear like you’re making direct eye contact with other participants. 

Additionally, ensure your face and upper body fully fit in the frame. Back away far enough from the camera so your gestures and facial expressions read clearly. Taking a minute to frame the right shot sets the tone that you are professional and considerate.

 

5. Connect with Your Audience

With a few thoughtful tweaks, you can use conferencing technology to make remote attendees feel as included as in a face-to-face meeting. Saying hello to your participants in their language before the interpreter takes over can aid you to create a more meaningful connection with them.

First, look directly at your camera when speaking so it mimics natural eye contact. Then, have the shared screen showing slides or notes visible to aid long-distance participants. 

Checking in occasionally with a quick “Does anyone have clarifying questions or thoughts?” also gives quieter individuals an opening. Remember, body language and side chatter don’t translate through the camera, so you want to be as verbal as possible. 

Leveraging tech tools can keep all participants actively in the loop. With some attention and care, video conferencing can enable engaging discussions regardless of participants’ locations.

 

6. Choose Proper Software and Hardware

Even with a well-planned meeting agenda, lacking the right video conferencing tools can decrease participation and cause frustration. 

Before scheduling a video call, test meeting links beforehand and troubleshoot installation issues. If you perform frequent video calls, investing in an external webcam and headset helps improve audio and visual quality. A clearer picture and sound will upgrade your meetings, so consider those as well.

Assembling proper software and hardware components reduces any technical issues you might have faced. And, with the right tools in place, you can focus on communicating and collaborating rather than dealing with distortions and freeze-ups. 

 

7. Have a Professional Attire

Chatting from your home can bring a sense of informality to video conferencing. Despite this, business-appropriate attire should apply to video calls, regardless of your work culture.

Dressing professionally in a video conference sets the exact tone it would for an in-office client meeting or presentation. You don’t have to wear a full suit, as it may feel overly formal for some video chats. Just aim to pull together a polished outfit. 

For men, that can mean a collared shirt, sweater, or casual blazer. For women, a nice blouse, smart jacket, or dressy top that reads well on camera. As long as you feel comfortable and confident, the message you put across will get through. 

Skimming through wardrobes also avoids distracting prints overwhelming your video window. The convenience of video calls means your professional image now comes across through a single small screen. So dress like you’ll want to be seen and perceived.

 

8. Set Up Good Lighting

Have you ever noticed how poor lighting can make even the most vibrant person appear strangely wan or shadowy on camera? Bad lighting does no favors for video call engagement. 

Instead, optimize the lighting in your regular video chat spot. To find the perfect lighting, find a light source and position extra lamps or natural light to shine softly onto your face. To avoid harsh backlighting, make sure to shut the blinds behind you. Test different seat placements so overhead fixtures or windows light you from the front rather than above or side. 

Good lighting ensures you appear sharp, vibrant, and approachable on video chats. With a few tweaks and different lamp positions, you can set up a workspace oasis with lighting optimized for beautiful video calls every time.

 

9. Look Into the Camera

Glancing more at the faces on your screen rather than the camera lens is a rookie mistake.

Not looking directly into your camera can make you appear distracted and disengaged. 

Meeting the camera’s gaze helps create a lively back-and-forth dynamic, even as you’re video chatting from miles apart. When someone else speaks, focus your attention directly on your camera to mimic natural eye contact. This builds rapport and shows your interest.

Lastly, scan all participants’ windows when listening so everyone feels included. Making eye-to-camera contact demonstrates professional video etiquette skills. So, try to embrace the camera lens as your conversation partner. The impression will resonate that you’re fully present.

 

10. Actively Listen and Engage 

You’d be surprised to learn how easy it is to lose focus during video conferences, especially lengthy ones. Distracted expressions and wandering eyes translate loud and clear on camera – even when you don’t utter a word. So, challenge yourself to remain fully mentally present during each video conference. 

Minimize multitasking and avoid the temptation to check emails or texts. Bring your complete attention to the speaker, no matter how long-winded. Nod in interest, lean slightly toward the camera, and respond to quips. Make it abundantly clear through your body language that you’re focused wholly on the meeting, not counting the minutes. 

With some active listening, you steer discussions with poise while staying up to speed if managers or clients should ask you to chime in. Nothing conveys distraction like disengaged disinterest, so stay tuned whenever your face graces the video screen.

 

Closing Thoughts 

To summarize, video conferencing etiquette is vital for a good meeting. This simple checklist prevents tech issues, removes communication barriers, and improves the quality of conversation. As long as you follow these simple video call etiquette rules, your virtual meetings will become more professional, productive, and effective. 

Good video conferencing habits let you focus on communication rather than tech troubles that lead to awkward moments. This way, the materials presented can be translated into solid action plans, paving the way for successful discussions.

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