Video Conferencing Etiquette: How to be Professional on Video Calls While Working from Home
Video conferencing is more popular than ever, due to an uptick in people working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Video chat services like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime are quickly becoming essential in order to keep remote employees connected and communication lines open.
If you’re not familiar with video conferencing, and wondering where to start and how to put your best face forward, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of video conferencing best practices to help you slay your next video call...because we wouldn’t want you to turn yourself into a potato (see photo below)!
Video Conferencing Tips and Etiquette
1. Test your tech.
Imagine showing up to an in-person meeting completely unprepared. You wouldn’t. It’s the same with a video call. Test out your technology prior to any meeting. Have a friend or family member help out if necessary. Be sure you understand how to join the video call, and test your audio and video.
2. Be on time.
We recommend logging into the video call early. This allows you to be sure your video and audio are working properly and that you have a clear connection. You wouldn’t show up late to an in-person meeting, so don’t show up late to a video meeting. An early arrival ensures the meeting can start on time. Plus, how distracting would it be for people to be logging on during your meeting?
3. Mute yourself when not speaking.
We cannot stress this one enough - especially if you have children or animals that tend to get excited the moment mommy starts her video call. Microphones tend to pick up background noises too, like typing, or a partner coughing (heaven forbid). A simple click of the ‘mute microphone’ button on your video conferencing service will take care of that for you.
4. Focus and look at the camera (put down the phone).
Be engaged on your video call, ensuring eye contact with your team. You may think you’re being sneaky sending that text message under the desk, but everyone can see you looking down. The same can be said for unnecessary typing, looking at a second monitor, or looking at yourself on screen instead of into the camera. Remember, looking into the camera = eye contact!
5. Dress Appropriately.
Even though you are working remotely, and ‘daytime pajamas’ seem tempting, this is still a work call. How would you dress in the office? Observe the same type wardrobe requirements on a video call.
6. Properly frame the camera.
You wouldn’t want to stare up someone’s nose (or worse) during an in-person conversation, and the same rules apply here. Be sure to sit at eye level to the camera lens, and frame the shot from mid-waist up, if possible. This can easily be achieved by placing your laptop, computer, or webcam on a stack of books, or tilting your screen for a more desirable angle.
7. Your background matters.
While you don’t need to fret about having a perfectly staged room, ensure the space you’ve chosen is neat and tidy. The last thing you want your coworkers (or boss) to focus on is your hoard of toilet paper in the background.
8. Find your light.
Poor lighting in a video is just as bad as poor audio. Luckily, you can easily mitigate this issue by keeping a few things in mind. Do not sit with your back to a window. Being lit from behind will result in the video looking blown out - in other words, you’ll be a dark silhouette with light bursting from behind you. Instead, set up your camera so natural light is in front of you, if possible. If you don’t have a window to contend with, no problem. Be sure to set up your camera in a well lit space. Try lighting from either side of you, or position a soft, white light (like a ring light) in front of you where the camera is placed.
9. Log off.
Ensure you’ve properly signed out of the video call when it’s ended. This includes hitting that ‘hangup’ button and closing the browser tab, if necessary.