The dos and don’ts of video call etiquette

Video call etiquette

At the time of writing, we’re eight months into the pandemic. It’s no wonder you’re keen to hone your video call etiquette! We’ve more or less become used to video calls as a daily occurrence and we’re getting things done. However, it would be somewhat ill-advised to think that, once COVID-19 passes, we’ll be seeing the last of regular video call communication in the workplace. 

The world of work has changed, and alternative means of communication are here to stay. With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to video call etiquette. From the dos and don’ts of video conferencing to general video call etiquette tips, our article covers it all. Take a look!

5 essential dos for video calls

Find a location with good lighting. Filming your video call with a dark backdrop won’t do you any favours. You need to find the right balance between being near natural light (good) and having natural light shine right into your computer screen (bad). A good trick is to open your webcam before the call starts so that you can test out certain spots in your home. 

Mute yourself when you’re not speaking. This is a really good habit to get into because not only does it give others the space to talk themselves, it also prevents any outside noise in your home from interrupting other people on the call.

Let others in your home know that you’re going to be on a video call. Save yourself the drama of having someone walk in on your video call by letting everyone in your home know about it. It’s not a biggie if someone does walk in on your video call of course, but it’s a distraction nonetheless. 

Show up to your calls early. Another good habit to get into. Not only is it a common courtesy and good time management, it will also give you enough time to sort out connection issues, sound problems, or any other external issues. 

Always have a charger on hand.If you often move around your home for video calls, remember to take your charger with you when you do. For the longer and possibly more important calls, you’ll need a charger nearby. 

5 essential don’ts for video calls

Don’t be late. If you’re working from home, it’s easy to slip into a comfort zone where being just a little bit late doesn’t feel like that big a deal. Sound familiar? Treat a video call as you would a normal meeting back in the office and don’t be late. You’ll feel less anxious if you’re on time and ready!

You shouldn’t interrupt others on the call. When you don’t have quite the same grasp on visual cues and the like, it’s a little easier to unintentionally interrupt others, which is something you don’t want. We recommend that you simply slow down your speech to a more deliberate pace and, if you do interrupt someone make it clear that you’re giving them the floor. Basically, be mindful of others. 

Don’t leave the chat on after you’re done. You don’t want to stay on the call once you’re finished! Most platforms will close off any windows, but not all do. Maintain your privacy by ensuring you’ve closed off the window. 

Keep an eye on your mute button. It’s now become a video call classic, and if you’re often leaving mute on while talking then that’s a habit you’ll want to get out of. While it’s hilarious, it can be annoying too. Sorry! 

Avoid bad camera angles. Find your best angle and keep it there! If only to ensure that colleagues don’t get an unflattering upward shot of your chin, or one that’s uncomfortably close.

What is the etiquette for video call meetings?

Now, we’re going to run through two video call meeting perspectives and lay out some ground rules for each. If you’re organising the meeting, or you’re just participating, these following tips are for you specifically. 

Video call etiquette tips for organisers

Send a meeting request to all participants well in advance. Basically, use the same principles that you would for a normal meeting pre-pandemic. It gives participants time to prepare, and if you’re using a calendar integration then it rules out any human error like putting the wrong time or date.

Always use an agenda. An agenda helps you keep the meeting on track, ensuring that you discuss everything that needs to be discussed. If your team is prone to divergences, an agenda is what you need.

Assign note-taking responsibilities. Make sure someone is on the call whose job it is not to wholly participate, but to take notes. 

Include all the information in the calendar event. From the time and date to what you expect participants to bring to the meeting, ensure that all details are included well in advance

Decide whether you want a meeting to be fully video or you will allow just audio. For some meetings, being able to see your colleagues’ face isn’t too important, but it can be for others. Visual cues are an important part of normal communication. 

Video call etiquette tips for participants 

Take a look at any required resources before you start the meeting, especially if you’ve been asked to! Preparation is important so you don’t want to come into a meeting cold. 

Be camera-ready if you can. Even if you’re not required to turn your video on, it’s a good idea to quickly prep your appearance so that you’re happy to jump on full video if need be. 

If you’re sharing a screen, make sure you’re only displaying the information you need to. Any unclosed tabs or windows will be seen by colleagues, so keep an eye out!

Clean your desk and working area. As an additional point to those at the top of the article, prepare your workspace for the call. It will help you stay organised.

Send messages in your shared messenger instead of talking over others. If you have a shared messenger, then share ideas in there rather than interrupting. You might even be lucky enough to use a conference call service with integrated live chat, like Call.Group. That can make sending instant messages much easier!

Video call in confidence

Now you have everything you need to maintain proper video call etiquette for your team. Have you given any thought to the tools you want to use? There are loads out there, so let us for a moment promote Call.Group.
Our video call features range from HD video and audio to unlimited recording, and among our video conferencing services you are sure to find a plan that works for you. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for our blog section. We’re constantly updating it with fresh content direct from the world of video conferencing communications.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

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