Can you imagine a day of work without video conferences? Neither can we. They are convenient, easy to set up, and they help companies save time and money. And with the increased remote working time and the travel limitations caused by the global pandemics, there seems to be no better way to stay in touch with clients and team members.
Video calls are here to stay
The numbers show that even those reluctant towards video calls are warming up to the idea. Since the beginning of 2020, the number of video calls has skyrocketed, with some major players on the video conference software scene noting an increase in users as big as 2000%. That’s over 2 million downloads a day.
It is also clear that customers are eager to look for custom solutions that work best for their businesses. Statistics from a software review site TrustRadius show that in April 2020 the interest in video conference applications was up to eight times greater than in January of the same year. The time customers spent evaluating different options was also about three times longer as compared to before the pandemic.
How to stay professional during video calls
Despite the rising interest in web conference software, video calls can still be uncharted territory for some people. And while each company has its own communication standards, following some universal rules can ensure that a meeting goes smoothly and without distractions. Here are six etiquette tips that will help you leave a great impression during your video calls.
1. DO – Being on time
Everybody has experienced a situation when a meeting could not begin for several minutes because of one late joiner. Video conferences are no different. It’s not uncommon to start a lunch break or get engaged in your next pressing task just to suddenly realize that you were supposed to log into that meeting fifteen minutes ago.
The easiest solution is to set up a reminder, by using a calendar or email app, or even a phone. However, if you cannot help joining a few minutes late or you won’t make it to the meeting at all, make sure to notify the host or a team member as soon as possible. This will help them save time they would otherwise have to spend on small talk. And remember – every five minutes wasted in a meeting of ten people amounts to fifty minutes of your company’s working time.
2. DON’T – Not setting up your space
Although working from home grants much personal freedom, company meetings are the perfect occasion to showcase your professional attitude. How to do that? Make sure that you are dressed for the audience– and while that doesn’t need to mean wearing a full shirt and collar set, pyjamas are definitely out of question. The rule of thumb is to make sure your look reflects what you would usually wear at the office. It’s also important to clean up your surroundings before the call. Dirty mugs or children’s toys lying around are not going to leave the best impression.
However, if there is nothing you can do about the state of your home office, consider blurring your background or using a virtual one. Just make sure it’s appropriate to the occasion – you don’t necessarily want to negotiate a contract with a client from the inside of an X-wing.
3. DO – Checking your equipment
Nothing slows a conference call down quite like its participants adjusting their audio or video settings for several minutes. That is why you should always check your equipment ahead of time. Call your teammates or use the testing feature of your video call application to make sure that your microphone picks up audio and the camera works as intended. Remember to make sure that your internet connection is stable– if not, consider switching to a different network, turning off your VPN, or using a wired connection.
Don’t forget about the software as well. It’s not unusual to attempt starting a call just to find out that your application needs an update. Try joining the meeting several minutes earlierso that you have time to fix any potential issues.
The right application is all the more important if you are a host of the meeting. According to the 2019 Impact of Video Conferencing reportby lifesize, over 41% of respondents pointed at the overly difficult downloading or joining process as the main detractor to their call experience. Solution? An entirely web-based video call platformlike Vicodo. Once you schedule a meeting, Vicodo sends your customers a convenient invitation link via email and text message that they can open in any browser. No more struggling with heavy executable files or forgotten passwords.
4. DON’T – Not using the mute button
Even if you don’t work from a local coffee house, there is a chance that your remote workplaceisn’t perfectly quiet. There might be trash collection happening outside the window, or perhaps your dog refuses to stop barking. A better quality microphone might help with muting out some of the background noise, but even the best hardware won’t help if you suddenly need to cough or take a sip of water.
All of these might pose a distraction to the other participants. That is why we recommend muting your microphone whenever you’re not talking. This will help everyone focus on what the speaker is saying. Be careful not to keep it muted at all times, though – you don’t want to deliver a five minutes speech just to notice that you had been the only person who could hear it.
5. DO – Keeping your camera on
This is, without a doubt, the most controversial point on the list. While audio-only participation can be a blessing for some people, here at Mood Up Team we strongly recommend keeping the camera on throughout the whole meeting. Why? Here are our reasons:
- It shows your engagement– your teammates or clients can see that you are paying attention instead of absently browsing your phone.
- It builds relations. In a conversation, facial expressions and gestures are everything. Seeing them in real time not only makes you feel closer to your fellow participants, but it can also prevent you from being misunderstood.
- It helps you feel connected. It’s natural to feel isolated or detached after a prolonged period of remote working. Seeing the faces of your coworkers helps you remember that they are more than just usernames on a screen.
- It can be a conversation starter. It is not every day you get a glimpse into your coworkers’ private lives. Who knows, you might spot a cat demanding attention or a funny poster on the wall.
6. DON’T – Getting distracted
Once you are done speaking or the current point on the agenda is not relevant to you, it might be tempting to get on with your other tasks. Try to avoid that – replying to emails, checking slack, or browsing your phone can wait. Being attentive and listening to your coworkers is guaranteed to leave a much better impression.
If you really need to reply to a message or search for a file, make sure to communicate that to the other participants to avoid long periods of silence. And if you want to show that extra attention, here’s a tip – remember to look straight into the camera. Your teammates will get the impression you’re keeping eye contact with them and will know you are listening attentively.
Doing it right
In the current challenging times, video conferences are invaluable means of communication and collaboration. As more and more companies are transitioning to remote working, the demand for upkeeping an online meetings etiquette will increase – and with our list, you’re already ahead. By following these tips and preparing ahead of time, you can make sure that your next video calls are much more smooth and efficient.