Video Conferencing Etiquette

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen a rise in video conferencing. With remote work being the new norm, businesses have turned to tools such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams to maintain business continuity and keep team members engaged and productive.

After taking part in many of these virtual meetings over the past several months, I have come to notice that many of us can be utilising video conferencing more effectively. From late arrivals to awkward silences to children screaming in the background, video conferencing can make you never want to work remotely again! That is why I have put together this very simple blog on video conferencing etiquette.

The dos and don’ts of video conferencing

Stay actively engaged

I know that it is tempting to look at your emails or do other work while you’re on a video call. Although no one can see your screen, unless you are sharing it, it is still obvious to others that you aren’t engaged and present if you don’t contribute as you would in person. If you are attending a meeting, please give the speaker your undivided attention. Not only is this polite, but it also ensures that you haven’t missed any important information which can come to bite you at a later date.

Mute your mic when you aren’t speaking

Imagine you are talking to the team about your progress on a project. As you’re talking, one team member is clicking loudly, another has dogs barking in the background and another is munching and crunching on their lunch. These background noises can be distracting, causing you to feel put off and lose your train of thought. Putting the mic on mute allows the speaker to feel as if their voice is being heard and removes the risk of coming across as rude to a person on the other end of the call!

Arrive on time to meetings

You might have more time on your hands since you are working from home, but time is still precious so is starting and ending meetings on time is. Be respectful of others’ time and schedules by being on time to your virtual meetings and ensuring resources are not wasted.

Encourage small talk

Say what you want about small talk, but it’s an important part of person to person communication. Take a few minutes to check in with your team members during a video call. Maintaining connections is crucial when everybody is working from different locations and will help create some semblance of normality.

Start with an agenda and end with a recap

Make meetings more productive by outlining the meeting agenda at the beginning of the video call. This helps everyone to stay focused on the intention and focus on the discussion. At the end of the virtual meeting, recap the discussion to highlight important ideas and actions that will be made following the meeting.

A final word of advice on video conferencing etiquette: remember to be patient with others during online meetings. Offer technical help or reassurance when necessary and help everyone to feel like an important member of the team – even when you’re all working far apart.

All of the above is common sense – but it’s very seldom surprising how uncommon common-sense can be. Have a lovely weekend.