Posted on: 20 January 2015Share
The ways in which people communicate with their colleagues has changed dramatically, and in the past if you wanted to have a proper meeting with someone across the state or country, getting on a plane was the best option. Now that video conferencing is becoming more commonplace, it's important to understand the unwritten rules of etiquette that will help ensure you remain professional and engaging. Here are a few video conferencing etiquette do's and don'ts to keep in mind:
Get Your Presentation In Order Before The Conference Begins
If you've ever been to a meeting, whether virtually or in person, and the presenter was disorganized, chances are this bad first impression had an impact on the rest of your experience. This is why it's vital you are well-organized and make sure everything is working properly before you begin.
While getting ready, here are a few points to keep in mind:
Is the Equipment Working? – From the microphone to the web camera, test everything at least two to three times to ensure it's working before the meeting. Once the other participants are connected, give them a few minutes to test and become familiar with their own equipment.
Are All Your Materials Easily Accessible? – Remaining visible to the participants is vital, which is why you must make sure that all your materials are within arms reach. Otherwise, you run the risk of excusing yourself constantly.
Do a Quick Run Through With a Live Audience – If you have time before the meeting, ask a colleague to watch your presentation. Ask them to take note of the volume of your voice, your posture and provide feedback about what you can do to improve their experience.
Minding Your Manners
Even though the other participants in your meeting are several miles or states away, it's vital to pretend like they're in the room. This simple trick will help you stay focused on them and not become distracted.
However, because you're utilizing technology, it's important to tweak your presentation style. For example, if someone is having trouble hearing you, don't raise your voice and instead, ask them to check the volume of their speakers.
Here are a few additional ways you can make sure you don't offend or annoy your fellow participants:
Watch Your Body Language – If you're accustomed to using your body and hands to emphasize your point, Inc. recommends toning down your body language. Remember, even minor bodily movements can be very distracting to people watching you on a monitor or television screen.
Announce Yourself, and Ask Everyone To Do the Same – Before you begin speaking, make sure to provide your name and ask everyone to do the same. This will help ensure that anyone who is having trouble with the technology is still aware of who has the floor.
Remember to Take Turns – Just like in real life, it's common courtesy to wait for the other participants to finish talking before you speak. If there is a silence and you are unsure, don't be afraid to ask.
Focus on the Meeting – Finally, it can be difficult to remain engaged while communicating with a web camera and colleagues that aren't in the same room. This is why it's important to remain completely focused on the meeting, and not your cellphone or instant message on the computer screen.
Hosting your first video conference can be stressful, especially if you are not familiar with the technology. This is why it is vital to research as much as you can, practice and if you're really struggling, reach out to a colleague with more experience.