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8 Vital Rules of Video Conferencing Etiquette for Professionals

8 Vital Rules of Video Conferencing Etiquette for Professionals

Video conferencing has become the norm for professional meetings across the world. According to experts, about 90% of businesses in North America are likely to spend more on video conferencing in the coming year.

Unfortunately, many people commit blunders and engage in unprofessional conduct while on a video conference.

While having the best communication tools for your team in video conferencing is good, knowing how to behave during the meeting is vital.

The need for proper behavior has led to the development of rules on how participants should act during video conferencing. Many experts believe we should not sacrifice professionalism because of the causal nature of a video conference.

Below are 8 vital rules considered standard etiquette behavior for those taking part in video conferencing.

1. Be Prepared

Unlike what many people think, there is a need to prepare for video conferences just like physical business meetings.

Some ways to plan for video conferencing include:

  • Know the agenda.

The organizers and participants of a video conference should not be in the dark concerning the purpose of the meeting. An agenda will create a clear outline and help participants cover the topics for discussion within the allotted time.

  •  Get your equipment and tools ready.

Having the right equipment and tools is the best way to get the most benefit from video conferences. The equipment and tools for your video conference include both hardware and software. 

Without the right equipment and tools, it will be hard get, send, or share information during the video conference.

Some important tools for video conferencing include:

  • Internet access.
  • Video software app.
  • Webcam.
  • Microphone.

2. Don’t Be Late

Time is a scarce resource, and most people dislike their time being wasted. One feature of video conferences is that people from different time zones can attend. Not keeping to time is one way to dampen the morale of those attending the meeting.

In one study, 67% of employees said half the meetings they attend are valueless, mainly because of the late start times of those meetings. Video conferences, therefore, should start on time as delays can lead to loss of interest.

Being late to business meetings can also damage your reputation and make people see you as unprofessional and unreliable. A few ways to avoid being late to video conferencing include:

  • Setting your alarm.
  • Signing in early.
  • Reschedule the meeting if you are the organizer.
  • If for any reason you are late, apologize.

3. Do a Test Run

Many things can go wrong during video conferences. Carrying out a test run is a good way to prevent glitches during the meeting. It’s always a good idea to make sure that your hardware and software are functioning properly before the meeting starts. Sending out mails having your business email signature helps to increase credibility and makes your speaker recall you easily

Video Conferencing Etiquette - test run

Some test runs you can carry out include:

  • Checking that your camera is at eye level.
  • Check your internet connection.
  • Test your speakers.
  • Check your microphone.

4. Make Sure You Have a Proper Background

Many people do not realize that the background area during a video conference reveals much more about your personality. An unkempt and cluttered background does not convey a good impression to other video conference participants. 

Fortunately for those who can’t find a good background area in their house, there are now apps like Wave.video with free editable background templates. These apps can help transform your space into a beautiful virtual background.

8 Vital Rules of Video Conferencing Etiquette for Professionals

Other ways to create a good background are:

  • Choose the best-organized space.
  • Light up your background.
  • Use decorations.

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5. Dress Properly

Research published in the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences concluded that people who dress properly are perceived more positively than those who do not. 

Improper dressing is a big problem for video conference organizers. To avoid embarrassment, participants must be conscious not to put on clothes they wouldn’t wear to a physical conference. 

Video Conferencing Etiquette - dress properly

Although there are many advantages of working from home, improper dressing during video conferencing has become one of its downsides.

Some things you should avoid include:

  • Wearing shorts under your suit.
  • Putting on see-through.
  • Wearing Pajamas and nightgowns.
  • Applying heavy make-up.

6. Avoid a Noisy Environment

The audio quality of a video conference can either make or mar the whole exercise. To effectively engage the participants of a video conference, the audio quality must be crisp and clear.

Video Conferencing Etiquette - avoid a noisy environment

One thing that can affect the audio quality of a video conference is a noisy background. A participant attending a video conference from a noisy environment can create a nuisance for others. Background noise from your surroundings can cause distractions to you and other participants.

It is not everyone that has the luxury of a soundproof room. There are, however, a couple of things you can do to enhance the audio quality of a video conference.

The following are some ways to reduce background noise during a video conference:

  • Stay away from sources of noise—Identify and avoid sources of noise around you. For those inside a house, appliances like televisions, fans, and air conditioners should be off.
  • Use a headset—Using a headset is an effective way of amplifying your voice and shutting off background noise.
  • Draw your blinds and windows—Closing your windows and drawing your curtains and blinds is another way of reducing sound in a room.
  • Avoid empty rooms—It is elementary knowledge that sounds echo in an empty room. The echoes are due to sound waves bouncing off the hard wall surfaces of the room. To avoid having an echoey background:
  1. Stay in a furnished room.
  2. Cover the floor with rugs and carpets.
  3. Hang fabric blinds.
  4. Install bookshelves.
  5. Put in flower pots and plants.

7. Avoid Distractions

One downside of video conferences is that one can be easily distracted. In fact, 88% of workers admit to regularly multitasking

Video Conferencing Etiquette - multitasking

Avoiding sources of distraction is key to having a good video conference experience. Attending video conferences from your home, vehicle, or any other location can come with a lot of distractions.

For those in the house, children and other family members can be a huge source of distraction. For others attending the conference from outside their houses, traffic and other surrounding movement are sources of distraction.

To avoid distractions:

  • Don’t multitask.
  • Don’t stay in a crowded place.
  • Avoid sitting in front of a mirror.

8. Speak Clearly

Speaking clearly is an important element of video conferences. You should speak to enable other participants to grasp every word you utter.

Some of the best ways to project your voice clearly during video conferencing include:

  • Use an external microphoneIn-built microphones on our laptops do not effectively produce quality sounds during video conferencing. Using an external microphone is one way to improve video calls.
  • Stay close to the microphone — Staying close to the microphone will help project your voice more clearly and eliminate background noises.
  • Conserve your Internet bandwidth — The more bandwidth your system has, the better the quality of your audio connection. The best way to conserve your bandwidth is to close programs you are not using on your computer.

Conclusion

Video conferencing has come to stay. It has become a popular way for professionals to communicate among themselves. The increase in video conferencing by many organizations has brought to the fore the need to adopt a standard set of behavior by participants.

The guidelines outlined in this article are some of the vital rules to remember during a video conference so people will not question your professionalism.

About the author: Andreyana Kulina is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Brosix, specializing in Content marketing and outreach strategies. Besides her passion for digital marketing, she likes hiking and mountain-biking. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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