Vidiquette: Video Conferencing Etiquette (pt. 1)

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Video has become a greater part of our daily work lives, and the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought its use to the forefront. Video conferences lack universally accepted rules of engagement, unlike text messaging and email. As visual communication increases, video conferencing etiquette is developing more and more. Since being on video can sometimes be uncomfortable for people that are new to it, a little guidance into vidiquette can provide much needed comfort! There are a few key fundamentals to follow that will make video conferences a more positive and comfortable experience for not only you, but your colleagues.

1. While on video calls remember you are on camera. Some people who have been doing audio calls for years have come accustomed to multitasking during meetings. When on video, everything you do can actually be seen. It sounds obvious but can easily be forgotten! Looking at your computer display, typing on a keyboard or even carrying on IM conversations are some of the many multitasks that can be equivalent to speaking too loudly on your phone in public. Video conferences can be much more interpersonal and interactive. Attentiveness, non-verbal cues and facial expressions matter. Behave the way you would in a live meeting!

2. Looking at the camera is a key value of video conferencing that can lead to a stronger video conference. One of the most critical contributions to creditably is making eye contact. After you use the picture-in-picture to make sure the view is what it should be, turn it off so you don’t get distracted by seeing yourself. Be courteous if you are looking at a video monitor and computer monitor as it can be distracting to others when you are presenting.

3. Having the volume level set correctly is also critical for making sure you have a successful video conference. You must ensure that when you connect to the conference, your voice is clear and audible. With personal devices, this means testing the microphone you’ll be using. This helps avoid the awkward video interviews where you end up having to use gestures rather than words because of audio challenges. If in a conference room, keep in mind that those who were in the conference before you may have lowered, raised or muted the volume for their participants. A rule of thumb is to set the volume mid-level or slightly higher which will enable you to clearly hear and be heard during your video call.

4. If you are in a conference call with three or more parties, mute your audio when you aren’t speaking. Polycom NoiseBlock technology mutes non-verbal background noises but some noises won’t be distinguished between relevant and irrelevant sounds like barking and the vacuum. Perhaps let your fur baby enjoy some fresh air during your meeting! When you want to say something simply press or click the “unmute” button and make your point, then when you are done you can return to mute mode. Muting can be appreciated when calling into a conference from a cell phone, where signals can be prone to cause static and background noises.