Videoconferencing is one of the premier inventions of our high tech modern times that allows for an easy way for business to conduct meetings, discuss business, conference with clients, brainstorm, pitch clients and create teaching sessions no matter where any of the parties are in the world.
As opposed to old school teleconferencing, video conferencing allows you to conduct business “face to face” without having to be there. This means a more cost effective and immediate means of doing business, even on a global level.
Etiquette in business always comes into play, no matter the business setting and the same holds true for video conferencing. Some may somehow assume that just because the meeting is taking place online, over video that it is somehow less formal or less important than one that is conducted in the board or conference room.
This simply untrue! Moreover, you should treat your virtual meeting place with the same respect you do an office in your building. There are important etiquette practices that apply to an online meeting setting, let’s look at some of these.
Etiquette Rule #1: Be On Time
Just as your clients, bosses or team members do not want to stare at an empty chair waiting for you to arrive, do they want to stare at an empty screen. Being on time is a must, and is a normal part of business professionalism that needs to be observed at all times.
Whether you are leading the meeting or simply attending, be on time. Attendees may somehow feel they can slip in unnoticed if they should be late, however this can result in a disruption of the meeting, making the late arrival far worse.
Etiquette Rule #2: Introductions
Introduce yourself before speaking so that all attendees know who’s talking and can address you by name. Be sure to take note of other speaker’s and their names, so you can properly address them as needed.
Etiquette Rule #3: Speak One At A Time
It is important for only one person to speak at a time to avoid confusion and to heard clearly. Over video, people speaking at once will be even harder to understand than it is live. So, give others a chance to speak, and then enjoy your turn without interruption.
Etiquette Rule #3: Speaking Loudly Or Shouting Into The Microphone
Often, we tend to shout when not speaking face to face, as may occur during a phone call, and this can also happen over videoconference.
What can be an innocent mistake in under estimating the audio level of your mic or the attendee’s speaker can quickly turn into an annoyance.
Practice with friends or office members from both sides of the seat, so you get comfortable with how the audio sounds to avoid this etiquette fauxpas. In addition, always remember to use your normal conversational tone in all your videoconference sessions.
Etiquette Rule #4: Speak Clearly
Make sure to speak clearly and deliberately, as you are talking into a microphone that can easily distort a mumbled or uncertain voice. It’s also important to check your audio components before the meeting with a sound check that can identify any issues.
Etiquette Rule #5: Proper Clothing
Sometimes you may find yourself videoconferencing from your home office and forget that you are wearing pajamas, or you may just leave the old work shirt and jeans on. Depending on the context of the conference, you may want to consider the fact that clothing matters even over video.
The color of your clothes matter too, where pastels tend to look better over video than whites. Navy blues, and dark grays also look good. Colors to avoid are white, black, and red that are not properly displayed by the camera lens.
Single colors also win over prints that tend to look too busy over video. Ladies, you are also wise to remove any noisy earrings or bracelets that can be a distraction during the meeting.
Etiquette Rule #6: Get Rid Of Background Distractions
Make sure to hold your meeting in a quiet place, where people walking behind you, talking on the phone, or gathering in a busy office will not be a distraction. In fact, the only thing your audience should see (and hear) is your face, your voice, your desk and the area where you are sitting.
Taking note of the etiquette rules above can help you have successful and issue free meetings and enjoy all the convenience that is brought by this aspect of modern technology that is videoconferencing.