Does it work remotely? These are the greatest dos and don’ts of videoconferencing
Opinions expressed by Business owner the contributors are theirs.
Update: Since this story was originally published, the worldwide coronavirus epidemic has made video conferencing an essential component to keeping businesses running. This story was originally published in 2017, but the advice is more relevant than ever.
Here are 10 dos and don’ts that I believe improve the overall video conferencing experience.
To do: Mute the microphone when you are not speaking, even if you are alone in the room. Background noise can be an annoying distraction and drown out the flow of any meeting.
To do: Be aware of your video settings. Check to see if your microphone is muted before broadcasting a two-minute monologue that no one will hear.
Related: 17 Things You Need to Know About Remote Work
Do not: Position the camera too low, too high, or docked on a different monitor. Strange camera angles can be distracting – and unflattering – during video conferencing. Make sure your camera is at eye level and on the monitor you plan to use for the conference.
To do: Make sure your room is well lit (side lighting is best). Few things are worse than having a professional meeting while you feel like you are talking to someone in a prison. Use natural light from the windows or simply turn on the ceiling light in the room to illuminate the conference.
To do: Wear appropriate clothing. I know it can be tempting, especially if you work from home, to wear a work shirt and sports shorts but dress as if you meet face to face. You never know if you will have to get up suddenly or if your camera could fall. So wear clean and professional clothes for your video calls.
Related: 3 low-cost tools for better virtual meetings
To do: Your wall art or décor should be suitable for the work and clean surroundings. If your room looks like a college dorm after a fold, clean it or find another room. This also includes your desk! Avoid having multiple coffee mugs, plates, and trash on the surface.
To do: Test your microphone before the video call, especially if it’s an important meeting. Test it via video conference with your colleague before the meeting. Nothing is worse than trying to share something fundamental and not being able to communicate clearly because the clarity and volume of the audio are poor.
To do: If you’re on a group call with no video, introduce yourself before speaking. Consider something like “Hi, I’m Jim, I have a question”. While several programs will warn you about who is speaking, conference line numbers will not. Therefore, be polite and introduce yourself.
Related: How to move your team to remote work
Do not: Check or read emails or browse articles during the video call. This also includes the additional work beyond the call. It is easy for other participants to tell if you are not fully focused and present during the video call.
To do: When you speak, look into the camera instead of looking at yourself as you speak on your computer screen. It will help other call participants feel 100% involved and present.
It’s important to remember that video conferencing is essentially in-person interactions that allow businesses to communicate more effectively.
Related: Videoconferencing label for dummies