Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Viber, Skype for Business—these are the top platforms used by companies for online communication in times of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the country and lockdowns around the globe. Although this concept is not entirely new, a corporate and/or workforce meeting is not your typical casual video call.
Virtual employees already know these, but should you want some affirmation, here are some key video conferencing etiquette to guide you.
1. Establish the agenda.
If you’re the initiator of the meeting, always prepare an agenda for everyone’s benefit. Whether it is a complex program or simple exchange of updates, make sure that it sets out the expectations of the participants and answer questions they might have ahead of the schedule.
Video conference disrupts the flow of the regular work, and it is rather unproductive and frustrating to compromise time for small talks or meetings without a laid plan.
2. Send an RSVP.
Responding to the invitation will save time. There will be no long inquiries about whether a participant will be present or not during the conference. Informing the team of your absence (and delayed checking in because of being part of another meeting or due to other acceptable reasons) will eliminate the need to wait for you, keeping the video call on the nose.
Responding to an RSVP is also a display respect for the team or authorities.
3. Pick a quiet and appropriate location.
Unlike the face-to-face meetings where the environment is mostly controlled, video conference is susceptible to various difficulties, including the background noises. Make sure you set up your computer in a closed area—a place away from your pets, kids, television, radio.
Some meetings happen only through the microphone. However, if you are the speaker who needs to open the video camera, it’s recommended to look for the best part of the house you can use as a backdrop. A good-looking wall or a non-revealing room is ideal.
If you can’t find one, resort to an outdoor area that is pleasant and disturbed by the least noise. It is rather awkward to hear a crying rooster while you are talking and it happens a lot.
4. Test your computer and other equipment.
Always allocate time to test your computer setup before the meeting starts. By these, you avoid technical issues and embarrassment during the conference.
Keep your computer/mobile device’s battery full and have the charger at hand. If you are using a headset and microphone, check the volume and the clarity of sound. Remember to keep your unit away from any feedback-inducing devices.
5. Wear the right attire.
You go to the office with a prescribed dress code, and the same thing applies to video conferencing. It is not like the casual Skype or Viber moments you spend with your distant relatives or friends where you show yourself as is at the time of the call.
However, ensure what type of clothing will be worn by everyone. If the team is required to wear corporate attire, then, go for formal clothes. If the meeting only needs smart casual clothes, then wear the same. You don’t want to overdress or underdress especially if all the participants will be seeing you online.
6. Go online earlier than the call time with all your stuff prepared.
Aside from having time to test your equipment, going online earlier than the appointment speaks for your punctuality and eagerness to the conference matters. It’s best to be on top of the list of good things.
Get those things you need at hand—reports, notebooks, pen, contracts—especially if the agenda is already indicated. By the time they’re asked for, you don’t have to spend additional time to procure these documents or pull up your accounts. Reduce the risk of rush and being rattled in the middle of the video call.
7. Be proactive and speak up.
Don’t just lurk in your seat. A meeting, even if the speaker takes a large portion of time, is a venue for engagement. It’s a two-way conversation, regardless of the number of participants. But it doesn’t mean that you can speak any time or unsolicited. Everyone has a chance to speak—if the opportunity is given.
Be proactive when you have something to say to the questions thrown or when the speakers subtly need reactions. If the conference is attended by many people, it’s best to introduce your name as you give comments or questions. That way, there’s no guessing game about who spoke.
Let’s say you have contributed a bright idea— that’s a quick plus one on your side.
8. Maintain focus even in silence.
One disadvantage of a video conference is being unable to track the behavior of the participants, especially if there’s no video camera involved. You can be present online as a member of the meeting, but in your home, you are just scrolling on your Facebook feed or away throughout the session.
This bad habit can put you at risk, especially if the speakers know how to expose it by asking sudden questions at random people. Focus on the messages and information shared as there may be a surprise quiz—which can reveal your negligence with the meeting.
9. Mind the use of mute and unmute buttons.
Since there is a time to either speak or listen, maintaining an effective medium is important for all participants to understand the messages aired online and enjoy the conference.
If you know you should not speak for a long time, better activate the mute feature. This will make the speaker’s voice clearer and avoid interruption due to unnecessary sounds. If it’s your turn to speak, don’t forget to press unmute!
10. Engage with the remote participants.
The truth: People tend to feel bored when the speaker speaks too much throughout the session. This one-way communication will make people sneak out—possibly leaving his profile virtually present at the conference and do other things not related to work.
For speakers, it’s useful to make your presentation relatable, if not creative. Create opportunities where the audience can participate and show off their assets.
The online meeting will stay for most of the company workforces while ECQ is being implemented. Attending a video conference has its do’s and don’ts—just like the code of conduct you have in a physical office.