Video conferencing etiquette 101

Looking for the key that unlocks productivity and innovation at companies? Video conferencing is your answer, letting employees scattered across the globe to collaborate via face-to-face interaction. However, just like phone decorum calls for a "hello" and "goodbye," video conferencing requires its own set of manners.

To ensure you make a good impression on your boss and co-workers, here are some video conferencing etiquette guidelines:

Look presentable 

Just because you can call into a video meeting in your bedroom doesn't mean you can get away with wearing your pajamas. Treat the call like any other business meeting and wear what you would sport to the office (and maybe move from a stack of pillows to your desk). And please, wear pants, too. Even though screens will show only your upper half, you never know if the camera could fall or you'll need to get up for some reason, as Entrepreneur magazine pointed out. It pays to be prepared. 

Have a tidy background

Be conscious of your background before joining a video conference. Make sure the space behind you is clean and free of clutter; otherwise the meeting participants will be focused on the dirty dishes littering the table behind you more than your talking points. Use an even, face-level camera angle, too, as anything else is distracting. 

Set up good lighting 

You don't need to become a lighting expert before you dial in to a video meeting, but you should make sure the room will be bright enough for all callers to see your face clearly and without shadows. 

Keep your microphone muted 

You never know what's going to be amplified by your computer or headset microphone – your finger tapping, a fan running in the background, a dog barking, a car speeding down the street, etc. It's polite to keep your microphone on mute when you're not talking. 

Make eye contact 

It's human nature to have your eyes fixed on your beautiful face in the box at the bottom of the screen instead of on your webcam. However, looking directly into the camera is important because it helps you connect with your audience. 

Fight the urge to type

You may want to type notes during your video conference, but resist the temptation, the Wall Street Journal advised. Not only could it create noise if your microphone isn't on mute, but also other people may assume that you are working on something unrelated to the meeting. 

With these tips, you can have pitch-perfect video conferencing manners. 

3 bad habits that prevent collaboration

Collaboration is important at every company, as it drives the innovation that ultimately improves products and services. However, certain behaviors can detract from productive team work. Make sure you don't exhibit any of the ones below:

1. Being quick to reject other people's ideas

Meaningful collaboration depends on a safe space for team members to share their thoughts without fear of being shot down regardless of how "out there" those thoughts are, said Dan Sines, CEO of Traitify, a developer of personality assessments. While honesty is important, how you respond to others' ideas has a big impact on your employees' confidence levels. Avoid using negative language, and instead, focus on the positives. Remember, there are no wrong answers, just different ways of looking at the same question, and employees should be recognized for having the guts to share their ideas.

2. Pledging allegiance to the rules 

The most successful brainstorming comes when people let go of rules and expectations and instead think outside the box with no limit to their imaginations. In a business setting, it's easy to fall into the trap of encouraging or considering only ideas that fit into existing workflows. Of course, there are limits to what companies can achieve, and protocols provide order in chaos. However, the best ideas for your organization may be lurking outside of the rules. Encourage out-of-the-box creative thinking, and if something brilliant and unorthodox is thought of, that proposal may be worth tweaking your standard processes. 

3. Randomly building teams 

What scenario do you think is more likely to produce meaningful collaboration: a bunch of random employees who have never exchanged more than two words with each other or a group of workers who are already well-connected? It's the latter, according to the Harvard Business Review. The publication found that when 20-40 percent of team members have established relationships with each other, the group experiences more effective collaboration from the get-go due to the networks of trust that have developed. Take this point into account when assembling project teams, and if you find strong relationships lacking, host company events to increase interaction and help a higher number of employees get to know one another. 

So many companies know that productive collaboration is integral to their success, but so few know how to actually make it happen. By working on your bad habits, you can begin fostering a collaboration-friendly culture at your organization. 

ReadyTalk Illuminate — Self-Manage Your Marketing Webinars!

Take the wheel and replay web events on your own! Have you heard about ReadyTalk Illuminate? It allows you to broadcast your content flawlessly with self-managed webinars. Play recorded media to a live audience and remove the stage pressure of highly attended presentations. THAT’S Illuminate!

What is a self-managed webinar?

You may have heard the term “simulive” or “simulated live” before. Until ReadyTalk Illuminate was created, the only way to replay recorded webinars was with our event services team. Don’t get us wrong, you’ll find great value in our rockstar concierge — but have you ever thought of hosting a simulive by yourself?

Create your content, record your webinar, then drop the video media into your next Illuminate event. That’s the setup — smart, simple, and solid when your brand is dressed to impress. Schedule the event date just as you do with a traditional live webinar, then promote with email, social, and your website. But when it’s time to broadcast your content, focus on engaging your audience rather than the event logistics. Ever tried to live Q/A while speaking at a presentation? Even for the multitasking marketer, it’s a royal racket. Be present, chat in the moment, and qualify leads on the spot with Illuminate.

Why was Illuminate designed specifically for marketing professionals?

Listen to this clip from our recent webinar with the American Marketing Association.

Because smart marketers don’t operate with a conventional toolkit. Time is currency and content is worth its weight in gold. We thought, why not make webinar playback flexible and suit the needs of 2017 lead generation? We’re in the business of marketing, too. And we know how important it is to get your message right the first time.

Say ‘goodbye’ to live presentation blunders — with ReadyTalk Illuminate, your content is delivered on point, every time. See for yourself and explore the benefits of self-managed web events today!

How to come up with a stellar webinar topic

You've heard hosting webinars is good for your business, but how do you come up with a topic that will engage audiences and help generate leads? Just follow our four tips below:

1. Target a specific audience 

Instead of picking a broad and generic topic that attempts to appeal to the largest group of people possible, design your webinar to appeal to a specific audience. This way, you can develop curated content for your webinar that responds to viewers' needs. As Frost & Sullivan notes in its "Best Practices for Making Your Webinar a Success" guide, identify the specific group of people that make the most sense for your webinar to target, and then create a topic and content that will resonate with them. 

2. Zero in on what people want

In our content-saturated world, you need to compete for people's attention by providing useful information that addresses a pain point. When brainstorming a topic, consider the specific issues and problems that your target audience faces. A topic that provides tips, tricks and techniques on how to solve these challenges can not only help boost attendance to the event but also inspire viewers to continue to interact with your company long after the webinar is over. 

3. Share something unique 

You want your webinar to solve people's problems, but you don't want to simply regurgitate information they've already heard on LinkedIn Pulse or Forbes. Develop a unique value proposition, and then use this focus as the basis of your topic. See what one-of-a-kind perspectives, expertise and insights your company and its talent possess, as people are always searching for new solutions to persistently difficult issues. 

4. Avoid blatant sales talk 

People will be turned off from attending your webinar if it sounds like it will be one long sales pitch. Though the ultimate goal of hosting the event may be to generate leads for your company, you want to provide real value for viewers, giving them new insights or enabling them to overcome challenges. By providing this targeted information, you simultaneously promote your company as a thought leader and business ally. Your topic should not be "Why you should buy our product" but instead how the technology or service can make people's lives easier. 

With these tips, you can develop a top-notch webinar topic that can help boost lead generation and engagement with your company.