Video conferencing has provided numerous opportunities for networking and businesses alike. While it may seem like a hybrid between phones and in person conversations, it is its own entity with its own rules. The Wall Street Journal describes it as a setting in which one can observe body language and deeper meanings beyond words and yet which does not allow for the same intimacy as an in person conversation. However, the majority of the benefits obtained through in person conversation can be found through video conferencing, and it is important to understand basic courtesy when participating in such a conversation.
Check for Disturbances
Through services such as Blue Jeans, you can connect to almost anyone in the world with an Internet connection. But unlike typical in person conversations, you must make sure that all of your tech is in working order and not creating distractions. If, for instance, you choose to wear a suit microphone or a headset, always check to make sure it is not creating additional feedback through friction or something similar.
As much as possible, you should ensure that conversations take place in private locations where others will not be interrupting. If you have dogs, for instance, it would be best to lock them up in a location where their barking won’t disrupt the session. If you have children, make sure that they are occupied and under another’s supervision if at all possible. It’s important to keep things as focused on the conversation as possible. This isn’t quite as important in social gatherings or friends chatting among friends, but it is essential in a business setting.
Allow for More Than Your Face To Be Seen
Retail Business: Entrepreneur’s Step by Step Startup Guide states that since the majority of communication takes place through body language, it is best to set up the video conferencing session to allow participants to see speakers from the torso up. The majority of conversational body language can be viewed in this manner. Additionally, it reduces the awkwardness of a conversation where everyone’s face fills the screen. By the same token though, you should watch out for overly dramatic movements. Talking with your hands can be particularly distracting. It may help if you record yourself in a separate conversation to see whether you are moving around too much. During the meeting itself, make sure that you remain within the frame. You should look at the screen when you are not talking, and you should look into the camera when you are. Some minimal movements and gestures are fine, but keep it understated.
To make this more convenient, make sure that the camera is angled forward. If it is angled up, it will give an impression of superiority and create an unflattering angle. If you are using a tablet, a laptop, or another similar device, you may need to place it on a stand.
Remember You Are Being Watched
Entrepreneur warns against business owners viewing video conferencing as being identical to talking on the phone or meeting in person. One aspect that everyone must get used to is the fact that you can always be watched and will always be within eyesight of the other meeting participants. As a result, you must conduct yourself accordingly. You should not be checking your phone, scratching, or doing anything else that you would be uncomfortable with others viewing. Multitasking may be common within business meetings, but it tends to be more obvious in a video conferencing session because everyone can see at a glance where you’re looking and whether you’re focused.
Being punctual for a video conference is more than just showing up to the meeting on time. It’s making sure that you are ready for the meeting in every respect. Make sure that your microphone is working and is clear. Be sure that no system updates are required. One of the most important video conference etiquette tips is that when it is time for the meeting to start, you should have nothing more to do than to introduce yourself and take part in the session.
Video conferencing is becoming more and more a part of the business culture. It’s vital that you understand some of the basic etiquette tips to ensure that there are limited offenses given. You can accomplish this through following basic etiquette in a business meeting, but you should also make sure that you are in a place free from disturbances. You should also set up your station so that more than your face fills the screen. Additionally, you should remember that you are always being watched. Everything you do can be seen by all the other members of the group. Also remember to be punctual. Have everything ready to go before the meeting starts and don’t allow technical difficulties to drag everyone else down.
Image credit: CC by scott feldstein