Top 5 tips for video conference etiquette

With an increase in video conferencing, it's a good idea for employees to know the dos and don'ts of using this tool. Tom Merritt suggests five video conference etiquette tips.

Top 5 tips for video conference etiquette

Video conferencing has become the norm and most of us have got used to it, but not all of us. I'm guessing it's not you that's the problem, but maybe take these tips are things you can share with others to make everybody's video conference experience better. If that means you share them with yourself too, nobody needs to know. Here are five video conference etiquette tips.

  1. Mute yourself. Typing, kids, dogs, etc., all can disturb a meeting and they don't need to. Turn on mute automatically and use push-to-talk options to speak. Don't forget to unmute when you do want to be heard.
  2. People can see you! Pay attention to what your video looks like. Is your camera pointed up your nostrils or only showing half your face? Do you have distracting things in the background? Is that what you're going to wear? Take a moment to look at your shot before you join a meeting. You may need a stand or a box or some books. Pay attention to lighting too. You may want to move a lamp around, close or open blinds, etc.
  3. Test things ahead of time. Wasting time while you try to figure out how to share a screen or play some audio may have been a rite of passage when everybody was doing it for the first time, but your office may be past that. Do a trial run ahead of time or just don't show the screen or play the audio until you've learned how to do it.
  4. Eating, drinking, and smoking. This doesn't become OK if you're muted. It can be bothersome on video too when everybody is looking at your face. Ask permission if it's a smaller or more casual meeting or just turn off video briefly while you take a sip or grab a bite.
  5. No Ghosting! Occasionally an emergency calls. The dog is peeing in the house, the child is vomiting, but if it's not something avoidable, don't just get up and leave without explaining why. Excuse yourself in chat or voice or at least indicate with hand signals.

I know, I know… You never do any of these--you know better! But there's somebody out there benefiting from these, so thanks for humoring us.

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Businessman on a video or conference call on his computer

Image: iStockphoto/AndreyPopov