By Kayla Matthews
You may be tempted to wear your yoga pants to your video conference call, but your virtual call should be treated like any other business meeting, even if it’s not technically face-to-face. That’s because, for one, you should treat the other callers as if you were in an actual meeting. You also shouldn’t interrupt other people speaking, and you should allow a pause or two after someone speaks in case there’s an audio delay. Eye contact is also key.
But that’s just the beginning of proper video conference etiquette. To make your call as successful as possible, don’t just stick to the scheduled call time. Follow these tips to make your virtual meeting a success.
1. Dress Simply
Everything is bigger and bolder on video. As such, forgo dressing in loud patterns or bright colors. Muted colors and pastel tones work well on camera. Along the same lines, wear small jewelry pieces, as larger items may be distracting (and, frankly, take up too much of the screen).
2. Set the Stage
Keep things professional and ensure you have an uncluttered background so that video attendees can focus on you and what you’re saying. It may also help to close the drapes or blinds wherever you’re sitting, as the combination of natural and indoor lighting could affect the video quality.
Additionally, set up your camera so that you are the main focus rather than, say, the top of your desk. The less visual distractions, the better.
3. Stay Focused
Since you’re on camera, it may be easier to let your focus wander because you’re not face-to-face. However, people can tell when you’re not paying attention, even on video. That said, put away or turn off your phone, don’t type on your keyboard and don’t have side conversations with someone else in the room (even if you’re on mute). After all, you’re still on camera, so everyone can see you.
4. Check Your Equipment and Audio
Prior to the call, ensure that everything is working properly. Even with reliable video conferencing software installed, you should run a check on everything. Test your audio, including your volume level. Take a look at your document sharing tools if you plan on showing documents on screen, and make sure they work. The last thing you want to do is waste time on the call because something isn’t working as it should be.
5. Introduce Everyone
If you’re leading the call and there are multiple people on the line, chances are not everyone knows everyone else. Kick off the call by introducing yourself and then explaining who everyone else is. That way, when they start talking, everyone has an idea of who they’re listening to.
6. Keep the Noises to a Minimum
More likely than not, you’re doing your video call from home or in an office. Either way, extraneous noise can impact the call quality as well as distract those participating. As such, close your door to keep noises to a minimum, and don’t type on your keyboard (because yes, people can tell that you’re not paying attention). Lastly, whenever you’re not speaking, put yourself on mute so it’s easier for everyone to hear who’s talking.
7. Act Like Yourself
Everything is magnified on video, but that shouldn’t stop you from being yourself. Rather, just pay attention to your gestures, and keep them natural. Also, go ahead and use that normal tone of voice (especially since you’ve already tested the audio). Some feel inclined to shout on video, but as long as you have a quality video conferencing company, there’s no need to raise your voice. You can still be heard just fine.
While video conferences are more convenient then trekking to an office for a face-to-face meeting, it’s not an opportunity to slack. It’s still a business meeting; treat it as one, and you’ll do just fine.