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12 Points to Keep in Mind When Conducting a Videoconference Properly

When it comes to business communications, the use of videoconferencing is becoming more prevalent, and the importance of virtual meeting etiquette is being highlighted more than ever before. When it comes to technical errors, audio delays, and other aspects of meeting with colleagues via platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, there are numerous opportunities to make a mistake. Even if some of them are unavoidable, others may cause your colleagues, clients, or boss to question your technical knowledge or even your overall professionalism.

As a result, keeping up to date on videoconference etiquette best practices can be critical to your professional development. Listed below are 12 pointers to keep you out of trouble in the future:

1. Before you begin, double-check that everything is in working order

Technical difficulties are a common source of frustration for those who participate in videoconferences, and they can be extremely frustrating. Perform a pre-virtual meeting technology check to ensure that everything is functioning properly before the meeting begins. This will help to minimize the likelihood of this occurring. Being unable to see or hear is not something you want to cause a delay in the start of a meeting or gathering.

2. Be organized

Ensure that you follow the agenda when you're facilitating a videoconference. The fact that online meetings can appear more informal, with remote workers frequently calling in from their dining room or living room, makes it particularly easy to stray from the topic of discussion. Keep your agenda items to a bare minimum and distribute them to participants ahead of time in order to maximize productivity and concentration.

3. Get yourself ready for the screen

If you work from home, whether full-time or just a few days a week, you have the freedom to dress more casually than you would in an office setting. Video conferences, on the other hand, should not be taken lightly. A suit is probably not necessary (unless you're meeting with a high-ranking executive), but it's still a good idea to dress professionally and neatly and to check your appearance in the mirror before your video meeting begins. It is essential that nothing distracts the audience from what you are saying. Additionally, getting yourself ready for the workday in the morning, just as you would for an in-office day, can help to put you in a more productive frame of mind throughout the day. And, while videoconference etiquette dictates that you dress professionally from head to toe, if you're wearing a professional shirt with sweatpants, remember to exit the meeting completely before standing up to greet the other participants.

4. Check your background

One that is relatively blank and unobtrusive makes for the best background for video meetings. Please double-check that there are no dirty dishes or laundry piled up in the background of your photograph. Virtual meeting platforms with the option to change or blur the background are becoming increasingly popular. Additional considerations include making certain that the lighting is adequate so that people can see you clearly.

5. Look at the camera 

On your computer screen during a virtual meeting, there is a lot to see: images of you and your colleagues, the main presentation, and a transcript of the text-based chat between participants that is being recorded in real time. A partner or children may be waiting for you at home, if you have one. Distractions should be avoided, however. Look at the camera while speaking and listening to ensure that you are making "eye contact" with the other meeting participants.

6. Be concise in your communication

Enunciate your words clearly and speak slowly when participating in online meetings. The quality of your home internet connection, as well as the dependability of your devices, can differ from one another. Maintaining awareness of the fact that when someone speaks, there is frequently a slight delay; as a result, take a moment to breathe after asking a question or listening to someone respond. It's all too easy to inadvertently interrupt other speakers when they're talking.

7. Find a quiet location if it is possible

In an ideal situation, you'll be in a room with little traffic and the ability to close the door on yourself. Consider holding your video meeting in an area of your home where other people are less likely to congregate if you are unable to obtain complete privacy for your video meeting. Inform your roommates, significant others, and children that you will be attending a work meeting and will therefore be unable to communicate with them during that time period. If at all possible, pets should be kept in a separate room from their owners. Additionally, make sure that all notifications on your computer and mobile devices are turned off as well.

8. Make an effort to establish a personal connection with the other person

The ability to demonstrate empathy and connect on a human level, rather than just as business colleagues, is critical in this situation. Managers in charge of virtual meetings may wish to schedule time at the beginning (or end) of the meeting to check in with participants and see how they are getting along.

9. You can also use the mute button

You can't seem to find a quiet place to relax? Enter meetings while on mute. In addition, when you're not speaking, turn off the microphone so that others can talk uninterrupted by your dog barking every time a squirrel runs through the yard.

10. Use caution when communicating.

When sending messages to individual participants in online meetings, use caution when addressing them directly. While complaining about someone during a meeting (which you should avoid doing in the first place), your comment may be accidentally directed at the wrong person or the entire group, resulting in a deterioration of relationships as well as your professional reputation on the line.

11. Exercise caution when displaying your screen to others

During a virtual meeting, keep the number of windows and tabs open to a bare minimum so that participants can easily see what you're talking about and participate. While presenting, make sure to close any documents that you do not want to share with the audience and to temporarily disable any incoming messaging notifications while on stage. If possible, use a videoconferencing platform that allows you to share a single window rather than your entire screen.

12. Avoid multitasking at all costs

To conduct an effective virtual meeting, participants must refrain from looking at the news, social media, or other non-emergency communications such as emails or texts, among other things. While taking part in a video meeting, it is quite obvious when a participant is not paying attention. Furthermore, no one wants to see or hear you eat because it is a private matter. Even if it is lunchtime, it is a good idea to put the sandwich or snack aside for later consumption. 

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