Bad video conferencing etiquette can make a long conference unpleasant for everyone. To help keep everyone comfortable in your virtual meeting room please remember these tips:
- Learn how to familiarize yourself with the system — it’s not good while you’re speaking, for the system to lose audio or video capabilities, or obtain static because of a faulty set-up.
- Arrive well before your video conference starts to test the video conferencing system and the interface to your device.
- Minimize distracting glare and uneven lighting by pulling the shades down on windows and doors, and covering glass-framed wall hangings. You should minimize combining outside light with indoor fluorescent lighting to prevent problems with the video conference camera and the quality of your image.
- Make sure the room has adequate lighting, typically what would be used for standard office work. If it’s too dark, any viewers won’t be able to see you clearly.
- Do an audio check before the virtual meeting begins to ensure that everyone can hear you.
- Speak in a normal voice, you shouldn’t have to shout.
- Talk directly into the microphone. Know where it is. Do not turn your head from side to side while talking or your voice will fade in and out at the remote site.
- When you start talking, JUST KEEP TALKING! Try not to ask “can you hear me?” or anything like that. Assume that everything is working fine. You will be interrupted if something is wrong.
- Where possible, keep your microphone muted when you won’t be speaking for several minutes or more. Un-muted microphones can be the single most important problem for communicating during a video conference meeting.
- Be natural, but limit excess movement to avoid looking jerky on screen. If you walk around while speaking, remain in a small area and walk slowly.
Video Conferencing Etiquette
- When video conferencing with many sites, start your comment by saying your name and location (for example, “this is Anna at HYMS York.”) Doing so helps the video equipment switch to your site and also helps other sites identify who is speaking before the video monitor catches up.
- When your microphone is on, be careful with side conversations and do not rustle papers or make tapping sounds near the microphone. Any sounds you make will be heard by the other sites and can be distracting.
- Direct your questions to a specific site, and preferably a specific individual. Expect a few extra seconds of delay in getting an answer because of the technology and distance involved (even just the time needed for un-muting the microphone).
- Do not cause echo. If you are causing echo, it will disrupt the video conference. If necessary, keep your microphone muted until you have to speak, and then quickly mute it when you are finished.
- Look directly at the camera as often as possible. This will give the remote site the impression that you are looking directly at them.
- Cancel background noise — it can be frustrating trying to talk over noise (music, yelling, children) for someone to hear you or for you to hear them. Also, be especially careful when you have blinds closed and windows open — the wind moving the blinds can be very distracting!