The recent months have turned the world on its head and have forced companies and corporations around the globe to make huge changes to how they run their day to day operations. Because of this, video conferencing and applications like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams have seen a surge in popularity. However, since this way of working is fairly new for the majority of people, below are a few of the rules and general etiquette to keep in mind when attending an online meeting.
Test your setup in advance
Before you join a video conference call, it is essential that you test all of your hardware and make sure that it is ready to go so as not to cause delays when you join the meeting itself. After all, technical issues at the beginning of a meeting are incredibly frustrating and you definitely do not want to be the reason for everything being delayed while you scramble to fix things that should have been tested ahead of time. Be sure to test your internet connection by running speed tests around your house to find the best location to sit, and test your camera as well as your audio setup. We recommend you use an external microphone and a pair of headphones to prevent any echo being fed back into the call, as while you can test all your equipment through your computer settings, it is always a good idea to jump into a quick test call with a friend or colleague to make sure everything is working in a live environment.
Use a background
Not all of us have the luxury of a home office, so when the pandemic forced us to work from home, many professionals had to cobble together a makeshift workspace wherever they could. This meant that people set themselves up all-around their homes, sometimes in less than ideal places. You should absolutely use a zoom meeting background in order to prevent distractions caused by people or pets walking around behind you, or even if you simply have an untidy room that you didn’t have time to clean up. With hundreds of options available, you can always find something to suit your needs regardless of whether you want to maintain a professional appearance, or even add a little humor to your meeting.
Watch out for body language
Watching out for body language is something that we take for granted when communicating in person, but in a video conference call, much of what we rely on to convey emotion is easily missed or hidden by our camera. Because of this, take note and pay special attention to whoever is speaking as they will likely give you subtle visual cues that can be used to avoid interrupting them before they are done.
In addition, try to avoid grand gestures like waving your hands around while you talk and leaning too far back in your chair. While these are normal in the face to face interactions, they can be distracting on camera, and leaning back can affect your audio quality, especially if your mic is in a fixed position on your desk.
Prevent potential distractions
Another fairly unique issue that comes with remote work is the fact that home and outside distractions are far more prevalent. While in a physical meeting it is possible that someone mistakes your room for theirs and walks in, the chances are unlikely, on the other hand, having someone walk past in the background or have a home phone ring is a very real possibility that can easily disrupt. To avoid these potential distractions, try to keep the door to whichever room you are using closed, if possible avoid having a landline in the room with you and be sure to let anyone you live with know that you will be in a meeting. In addition, the typical meeting etiquette still also applies, that being you should silence or turn off your phone for the duration, and avoid interrupting people at all costs. Make note of your computer notifications too as they can pop up and be loud for anyone on the other side of your call. Most operating systems include a do not disturb feature that you can enable to ensure you get no interruptions while it is on.