Video conferencing etiquettes you wish you knew

Ever wonder what are the written and unwritten rules of video conferencing? Our article gives you the 12 best tips that you will wish you knew earlier. With so many video conferences happening each day it’s a shame that more people aren’t aware of some of the common courtesies.

The best courtesy you can offer to your next client during a sales meeting or team working session is the etiquette of a solid internet connectivity and a properly configured video conferencing system. If your business is looking for the best services for a smooth and uninterrupted video conference, contact us at Network Telecom. We can offer you free advice to help you determine which service provider would best suit your business’s unique requirements. We are experts in the telecommunications industry and can provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice.

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1. Make eye contact with your camera, not your speaker


Video conversations on Skype and Google Hangouts are different than your usual face to face meetings. The common mistake made when someone is video conferencing is that they tend to look at the person on their screen. This is a habit of face to face conversations where you want to provide your undivided attention to the person. This is typically done by looking the person in the eyes. But when we are looking to give someone our undivided attention it is important to look into the camera when we listen and speak. Doing so helps the person you’re speaking with see that you are giving them your attention.

2. Avoid doing other things while on a video conference

One of the temptations when conferencing a colleague or friend is to continue internet surfing or working on an email. This can be especially rude when your attendee can hear your typing or clicking on web pages. If the meeting is truly that important, ensure that you are providing them with your undivided attention.

3. Use the mute feature when you are listening

This etiquette is especially important for large conference calls.  Having even just one person create background noise can detract from the conversation, and often distract people from what the speaker is trying to say. It is often a considerate gesture to place yourself on mute when you are listening to ensure you and your team members can hear the speaker.

4. Ask them to interrupt you if your audio breaks up

One of the most awkward situations is when someone is talking to you on the conference call but their audio starts to chop up and you can only hear one or two words in each sentence. By inviting the person to jump in when things aren’t clear you can limit the amount of content you’ll need to repeat. This also gives the other party the freedom to jump in when they like.

5. If you need to leave early, mention 15 minutes before leaving

video conference etiquete timing

There may be times you’ll need to duck out of a meeting early. To ensure that you do not exit abruptly it is often recommended to let your meeting attendees know that you may have to leave earlier. At the beginning of the conference,  it is helpful to let your colleague or friend know that you may have to leave sooner than scheduled

6. Plan ahead and try and minimize distractions to your attendees

This video of a British professor getting his BBC interviewed hijacked by his cute daughter is incredibly warm to watch. Even though the video call didn’t go as planned, we’re glad we got to meet this professor and his kids.

One strategy to manage potential interruptions is to ask for help to ensuring kids are looked after, or to have a sign on the back of your meeting room to notify passersby that there is a meeting in progress. This can help you reduce unnecessary distraction so the conference attendees can stay focused and on-point.

7. Allow your guest to finish their comment before jumping in

This is what we call speech collision, where multiple people try to talk at once, which makes it difficult to carry forward the conversation. Allow your colleague to finish his or her point before speaking. This can also be done by checking to see if they wanted to add anything else. It’s best to look for long pauses, between 2-5 seconds, before you begin your response.

8. Ensure your area is well lit and reduces glare

Having a well lit area to video conference shows that you care about the other party’s presence and you also want to be present. Test your web cam prior to the meeting to check on visibility and whether the image is clear and conference ready. This is a great way to ensure you make the most out of the technology of conferencing so you can provide emphasis not only with your words but with your gestures and expressions.

9. Check your audio and use a headset when possible


Background noise can be excessively distracting sometimes, particularly when you may have other people conference calling around you or even simply an old laptop fan that is being picked up by your mic. By using a headset you can reduce up to 80% of the ambient noise around you to ensure that your words and remarks are the only things that gets across, not static and distractions.

10. Confirm that the person is able to see your screen share

Oftentimes team members will review code or documents together. There have been too many incidents where someone begins talking about the details of a document while the other person either hasn’t received an email attachment or the screen share hasn’t been enabled. Being mindful of your team members and confirming that the screen share is operating is a helpful way to get a conference call flowing smoothly.

11. Dress appropriately even if you are working from home


Believe it or not there is a dress code for video conferencing calls, especially when one is video conferencing for an interview. The common courtesy is to dress as if you are meeting someone face to face in person. If it’s a business meeting that means shirt and tie at the least, while meetings with colleagues can be more relaxed. It is impolite to appear unkempt if you are required to be present on camera.

12. Nothing beats a great internet connection and a properly setup video conferencing system

Even if you nail the other 11 courtesies, without a solid internet connection to keep the video and audio clear and crisp, you simply won’t be able to have a good meeting. Get a professional to ensure your company’s network and video conferencing system is operating in tip-top shape.



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Image courtesy of Phil Wolff

Image provided by Raines Cohen

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Top 10 Video Conferencing Tips Infographic