8 tips for video conferencing etiquette

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Practicing a good video conferencing etiquette plays a critical role in coming across professionally. No matter whether you are having an online lesson, casual chat, job interview or scrum meeting, it is important to follow basic rules and respect people who are on the other side. Besides connection issues which result in audio delays and distorted video, there are still many chances to commit faux pas. Our tips for video conferencing etiquette will help you steer clear of the trouble.

Test your settings

Before you join the video meeting it is important to check whether your audio device is connected and your microphone works properly. In Virola corporate messenger, you can do this in Options / Audio and Video section.

Example of Virola audio and video settings

Additionally, during the conference you can see indicators for your speaker and microphone in the meeting room:

Example of Virola audio indicators

These indicators make it easy to check whether your audio devices are connected and work fine without switching to the tab with settings.

Sometimes for everyday meetings it may not be necessary to enable video. Still, with Virola corporate messenger it is possible to create an effect of live presence without transmitting a video stream. The unique "live avatar" feature was specially developed for this purpose. After enabling live avatar mode, your picture will be automatically replaced with periodic shots from your camera. It is very convenient to activate live avatar mode during the work hours to create a live presence effect. For meetings it will help to see whether the person is present and if not, it is possible to send a nudge as a reminder.

Example of Virola live avatar settings

Another useful feature is an ability to enable / disable video streams of other conference room participants. It really helps when the Internet connection is slow. To enable live video stream mode from your side, you just need to click a "camera" icon in the chat room toolbar and to see video streams of other participants you need to click an "eye" icon in the chat room toolbar.

Ensure you have a clean background

One of working from home drawbacks is impossibility to create a completely in-office environment. We know various funny stories with children running and screaming at the background, employees sleeping in front of the computers or cats jumping in front of the camera. However, this is something you need to take care of before the meeting if you are going to transmit your video. Ensure that your background is clean and there are no objects which will distract your co-workers during the meeting.

Mute yourself when you are not speaking

Another way to distract conversation participants and look not professional is to make strange sounds or answer phone calls during the conference. Moreover, your microphone can pick up minor background noises, even if you keep silence. Unless you have a soundproof room, it is recommended muting the microphone when you are not speaking. In Virola you can do this with a click on the "microphone" icon in the chat room toolbar.

Example of Virola microphone deactivating settings

Follow the conversation

One of the main rules of video conferencing etiquette is to resist the temptation to read news, check social media profiles or chat with friends. It's a disrespect to other meeting participants who are talking or sharing screens. Not following the conversation makes you look unprofessional. Even if you have your camera disabled, it does not mean you can do anything you wish.

Dress appropriately

Though you are attending the conference from your comfortable home working space, make sure you dress appropriately. Then place your camera so that nobody sees the things which are not intended for the eyes. Otherwise, people will get distracted by your outfit.

Pay attention to body language

When attending the conference with activated video streaming pay attention to your facial expression and gestures. A virtual meeting is almost the same as the meeting in person. Moreover, people in the meeting room can clearly see your expression and try to look into your eyes while you are talking. It is also very noticeable when you listen not attentively and get distracted by other things.

Respect people's time

It is very common when several people start talking at the same time. The best way to avoid this is to make a small pause or to ask a permission. It is very rude to interrupt a person who is talking or interfere into the conversation. For virtual meetings sometimes it is hard to understand when the person has finished, thus you need to wait a little before you start talking. If you accidentally speak over someone, just make a pause and indicate who should proceed.

Share only the needed part of the screen

Share only the window or part of the screen that is necessary so that participants could easily see what you are talking about. Make sure that you disable notifications for incoming messages to avoid unnecessary distraction. In Virola messenger you can select the part of the screen you wish to share after activating a screen sharing tool. Do not forget to exit screen sharing after you finish your presentation.

At the end of the meeting do not forget to thank everyone for attending the meeting the same way as you will do this during in-person meetup. People have different level of expertise and comfort when it comes to being on a video conference. Stay patient, show respect and offer technical assistance if you notice that someone is having issues. Remember that video and audio conferences is part of teamwork where you need to support and respect each other.