Modern video conferencing services provide a cost effective method of global communication unheard of just 20 years ago. For the first time in history, distance is not a limiting factor. On the contrary, individuals and businesses now routinely conduct operations with the touch of a button. In order to make the experience beneficial for all parties involved, it is important to practice well established etiquette techniques.
As with a traditional meeting, arriving late is disrespectful to other attendees and can be a potential career killer. In video conferencing, it’s even more important to arrive early to the scheduled event. This gives you an opportunity to make sure that all equipment is in working order prior to the event. Check the audio and visual settings to verify that you can communicate effectively. A few minutes of advanced preparation will ensure the entire meeting runs more smoothly.
Adjust the Lighting
Close all blinds and doors to cut down on the potential glare as this could be very distracting to others in the meeting. Adjust the lighting in the room so that the video cameras can capture quality images. Interior lighting should not be too dark or too bright. Normally, the settings used in a traditional work environment are adequate.
Bright colors and exotic patterns create distracting images on the screen. These can cause distractions and eye strain for other participants. Avoid wearing plaids, polka dots, or stripes. Dress in muted or neutral solid colors.
Practice Effective Communication
Unlike the old fashioned telephones of yesteryear which required a person to shout to be heard, modern video conferencing equipment is very sensitive to sound. There is no need to shout. Speak in a normal tone. In the first minute or so, it’s perfectly acceptable to verify that everyone can hear adequately. After that, once the presentation begins, continue speaking. There is no need to stop and ask if you can be heard. The other participants will tell you if there is a problem with the sound on their end. Speak directly into the microphone. Do not make rapid movements from side to side as this will cause disruption with the audio. When not speaking, make sure your audio is muted. This will prevent inadvertent noises, such as coughs, rattling papers, or chair squeaks, from interrupting others. The sensitivity of modern microphones can pick up the smallest sounds, even those you may not notice yourself.
Remember that video conference participants are not in the same room with you. When you ask a question or request information, allow for slight delays in response. This could be caused by the system used or the distance involved. Often times, others are experiencing the same delays from your responses.
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