With so many of us working remotely in 2020, we’re all reliant on email and online meetings to collaborate and connect with our colleagues.
One of the key remote workplace tools of our time is online video conferencing. Seems like we’re all doing video meetings. But are we doing them as well as we could be? What is good video meeting etiquette, anyway — and what should we avoid?
We put together a few tips to help keep your video meetings on track.
CHOOSING YOUR TECH
1. Choose the right video conferencing platform
Most video conferencing platforms offer a basic suite of tools, such as screen-sharing and a chat function. Check your video meeting software has all the attributes you need – for example, if you’re looking to hold a virtual brainstorming session, you may need a virtual whiteboard. Can you record the meeting if you need to?
2. Make it easy to access
If you’re video conferencing with an important client, or if your participants are out and about, make it easy for them to get on the call. Avoid last-minute downloads or plugins. Your attendees should be able instantly to connect on any video-enabled device.
3. Ensure it’s secure
Similarly, if you’re discussing sensitive issues, make sure your online video platform is secure. You will need to clearly see who is on the call, and ensure you can restrict access to only those participants that have been invited.
4. Support and backup
Get the right level of support. For example, if you’re having an investor hook-up, you may want the reassurance of local technical support to ensure your video meeting goes off without a hitch.
RUNNING THE MEETING
5. Start and finish on time
We’ve all been to meetings that ran over-time because they started late. No one wants to hang around a physical meeting room waiting to be let in. The same is true for video conferencing. Everyone is busy. Respect your attendees’ schedules and start and finish on time.
6. Share your agenda
Well-run meetings add value. For important or more structured meetings, have an agenda and share it with your attendees. Add it to a slide so everyone can see it. Be clear about why the meeting is necessary and why everyone is there. Stick to your agenda.
YOUR PERSONAL SETUP
7. Consider your background
If you can, sit in a quiet area. The camera only sees one square metre so make sure the area behind you is uncluttered, even if the rest of the room isn’t.
8. Light it up
Natural light is always best. If you don’t have that as an option, turn on the room light and add a lamp to provide soft light from the front. Avoid the ghostly effect of harsh downlights. TIP: Always face a window as opposed to having your back to one.
9. Get the angle right
If you’re using a webcam for your video feed, set it up in the best position to provide a level image of your face. If you’re using your laptop, raise it so your audience isn’t looking up your nose. If you usually plug your laptop into a monitor, consider unplugging it for video calls so you can look into the camera and maintain ‘eye contact’. It’s nice when other people are looking directly at you. You should do the same. That also means avoiding looking at the image of yourself talking!
10. Hear, hear
Computer audio may be adequate for most video calls — but it will be much clearer if you use headphones or a microphone to eliminate background noise — particularly if you’re working remotely along with your partner and your children!
11. Clear your screen
If you’ll be screen-sharing, close down irrelevant tabs and turn off notifications so you’re not inadvertently sharing extraneous or even embarrassing details with your colleagues.
12. Look presentable
Even if you’re working from home, it’s good etiquette to throw on a clean shirt and brush your hair before a video call. You don’t have to go over the top — leave the office wear for a return to the office — but unless it’s midnight and you’re talking to colleagues in a different time zone, avoid doing video calls in your PJs. Read our tips for remote working here
BEFORE THE MEETING
11. Tool up
Familiarise yourself with your meeting platform tools before the video conference — such as how to mute and unmute your microphone, where to turn video off and on, how to share your screen and where to open a chat.
12. Test your connection
Get onto the call a couple of minutes early so you can test your setup and ensure your microphone and internet connection are working. For important meetings, if video is key, have a backup phone or mobile internet connection.
13. Hit record
Don’t be that person who forgets to hit record when you’re supposed to be capturing the meeting so it can be shared with more people later.
IN THE MEETING
14. Mute your mic
Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking to make the video call experience better for the rest of the attendees and eliminate feedback. Don’t forget to unmute when it’s your turn to speak.
15. Say who
Introduce yourself before you speak as it may be that not everyone instantly recognises your dulcet tones.
16. Pay attention
Avoid checking emails, messages or your social networks during a video conference. Video quickly reveals when people are distracted or not paying attention.
17. Turn it off
We’re all working in extraordinary circumstances at the moment. If you need to move around or respond to kids, make sure you turn your video feed off and ensure you’re muted. You can always return ‘in person’ a few minutes later.
AFTER THE MEETING
18. Share if relevant
Share your resources, slides or the recording or minutes of the meeting if relevant. If there are action points, don’t forget to send these around to your participants.
Redback offers real-time video conferencing on any video enabled device, built on the world-class Polycom Video infrastructure for the highest quality user experience.
Reach out to a sales representative if we can help ensure your next video meeting runs smoothly.