Videoconferencing comes in handy when you either work from home, are on the road a lot, or need to talk to colleagues in different locations. Sometimes they are casual check-ins, but other times they are big-deal opportunities: your one and only chance to pitch an idea to an exec., or meeting a high ranking colleague for the first time. You can be prepared for anything in terms of your pitch or presentation, but it is just as important to pay attention to the videoconferencing etiquette.
Etiquette? Videoconferencing has etiquette rules? Hell yeah!
There are some very important Hell Nos! involved too. Here are some of them:
Don’t type while you are on a videoconference. That would be like typing while you are talking to someone if they were in front of you. Sure, it’s fine if you are working together on something, sharing a screen, and everyone can see what you are typing. But other than that, typing while you are on a video conference call is straight up rude.
It also makes a really annoying noise. Not only are you obviously not paying attention to the call, but you are also creating a distraction for those who are. For that reason, if you need to jot down some notes, use a good old fashioned notepad and a pen. Look up between notes and engage in the conversation again. It might seem like overdoing it, but remember that you need to make more effort to appear attentive in a video call than you do when you are in the same room as people because body language cues are out.
Looking at your hands
Look up, and look at someone. Try to make eye contact as much as possible when you are on a videoconference as maintaining eye contact builds trust. It also screams “I’m listening,” which is crucial as you’ve not got your body language cues to help you portray that. Look at your computers camera and it will look like you are looking directly at whoever can see you.
A good tip, is to move the video-chat window so that it is close to your computer’s camera. That way, you can look at other’s faces and it will also seem as if you are making eye contact with them.
Do not eat while you are on a video call unless the environment is very casual. If you would not take your burrito into the boardroom, then don’t take it into the conference call. Watching someone chew on camera is almost as bad as having it in the same room. And think about it, with the camera set-up it means that you literally have an audience staring at your face. So don’t put stuff in your mouth. Nobody looks good eating.
Leaving without telling anyone
It’s very tempting, isn’t it. You are in a large meeting, and you don’t really have much more to add anyway, and would anyone really notice if you left? There are two answers to that question, and if the answer is no, you should consider your relevance to the meeting in the first place. Otherwise you can bet that someone will notice, and when they do, it’s just … weird.
According to a survey done by Lab42 for Join.Me, 24 percent of respondents said that sneaking out of a meeting without announcing departure is the worst thing someone can do. If you do need to exit for a potty break or something, just excuse yourself in a private massage to someone at least. If you are the host, call for a five minute break.
Yes, we know that you can do online shopping—and a whole heap of other things—when you are on a conference call. But that certainly doesn’t mean that you should. Don’t fool yourself into believing that other people can’t tell when you have totally checked out because they can.