A video conferencing is a live connection between people in separate locations for communication, usually involving audio and often text as well as video. Equipment issues aside, questions inevitably come up as to what it takes to conduct a successful video conference.
The most prominent benefit of video conferencing is the instant feedback from seeing the other person’s facial expressions. You can quickly correct misunderstandings before they are verbalised. You view each other in person in real time and that alone appeals to our human nature. This is a real person, not a text, memo or a voice on the phone.
However, video conferencing comes with its code of behaviour that takes the place of yesterday’s manners for meetings. Indeed, don’t let the small screens and at times deceptively informal atmosphere fool you. There are right and wrong ways to conduct yourself—and lapses will be noticed.
Using this technology over the years has taught us several points of etiquette that will make your video conferencing communications more efficient. Here are our top 10:
Video — meet first.
If it is important, make your first meeting by live video. They will feel more comfortable with you, be more likely to forgive your imperfections, and give you the benefit of the doubt. You will seem more sincere. This is your opportunity to make a good first impression.
Look clean and well groomed, but don’t overdo it as that will appear hollow. Don’t distract them with bright accessories, too much make-up or an outfit that’s excessively colourful. Business casual and subtlety wins the day. Before you go on, refresh yourself with a glass of water, put a smile on your face and sit up straight.
Clean your desk.
A messy or disorganised desk could ruin your first impression. Consider the visual message you are sending and remove anything between you and the camera.
Aim your camera.
Check your camera angle. Ideally, it should be coming from the middle of the screen or even with their eyes. Don’t sit too close or your head will appear much too large. Look at the camera when you speak. The worst thing is having your audience look at your forehead because of your typing or looking down at notes – or worse – at your phone.
Prepare your background.
If you have a sunny window directly behind you, close the blind. Think about what they see behind your head. A clean wall or curtain is better than a cluttered office or strange artwork. Remember, you do not want to distract them, so check to see what they will be viewing before you call.
Prepare your presentation.
Have in mind precisely what you want to convey, what commitments you want from them, and be prepared for questions. Books, pictures or shared documents are great props to use.
Small talk first.
Talk about the weather or something neutral to give them time to adjust to you and how you speak. They are taking in much information, so make it colloquial. Moreover, don’t talk too fast.
Give and take.
Wait for an opening in the conversation before putting in your opinion. Interrupting other speakers is inappropriate. Be sure to give them ample opportunity to respond and ask questions. Ideally, they should talk as long as you do. Take notes. Listen carefully to their remarks and address them before you go on with your points.
Smile and say goodbye.
Look at the camera. Give a friendly wave goodbye and thank them for the meeting.
Send a follow-up.
Right after your live video meeting, send them a thank you email saying how much you enjoyed meeting with them and politely summarise the action items.
Think of it as a visit from them to your office. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a good first impression, so prepare yourself for the best.
Want to read more? Here are some articles you might find interesting:
- The Top Five Reasons Why You Need to Backup Your Data
- 4 Ways That Will Help Remote Team Communicate Effectively [INFOGRAPHIC]
- What Is SO WI-FI and How Can It Benefit Your Business?
- Top 6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Mobile App