*This post was updated on 07/13/2023.
Time to Read: 10 minutes
Video Conferencing Etiquette
- 15 tips to share with your video conference attendees prior to your next virtual meeting.
- Guide on when to use video conferencing over instant messaging, emails, or phone calls.
- Tips to drive engagement without going over time.
- Follow-up best practices that hold accountability and hit deliverable deadlines.
Both new and experienced users of video calling platforms can benefit from these video conferencing etiquette tips to ensure a successful and productive meeting takes place. We have all seen embarrassing videos on YouTube of what not to do in a video call! The below guide contains video conferencing etiquette that will have no attendee leaving a meeting in frustration or embarrassment.
We hope the adoption of video conferencing takes a front seat in digital communications and showcases the ease of cross collaboration for remote teams and resources. Through practice and frequent use of video conferencing, hopping on a professional call will start to feel natural. Don’t be shy! You are invited to a video conference for a reason. Your colleagues and clients want to see you. Remember, everyone is doing it! Support your teammates by sharing these video conferencing etiquette tips so you can all put your best foot forward for future video conferences.
Video Conferencing Etiquette
- Test Audio and Camera Connections in Advance
- Wear Work Appropriate Attire
- Camera Framing and Background
- Adjust the Lighting in the Room
- Be On Time
- Look Into the Camera
- Introduce Yourself
- Mute Yourself When Not Speaking
- Assign a Moderator in Advance
- Provide an Agenda in Advance
- Host to Confirm All Attendees are Present Before Starting Agenda
- Utilize the Technology to Engage Participation
- Be Mindful of the Time
- Recording Optional
- Follow-up Actions Items to Pull Timely Deliverables and Accountability Through
Test Audio and Camera Connections in Advance
Don’t be the cause of a delayed meeting. Ensure your microphone and video camera are working properly in advance. Download the software ahead of time and do a test run if possible. Should you encounter a problem, reach out to the host of the meeting and if they cannot offer advice, proactively reach out to any IT or Operations resources you have. As a last resort, YouTube can be your best friend to troubleshoot questions.
As a host or moderator, a test run with internal employees is necessary. Ensure you understand all functionality, how to mute your audience, record, and utilize all engagement features. If any attendee has a question on how to use the video conference software, they are likely coming to you first.
Wear Work Appropriate Attire
This may come as a no brainer, but you would be surprised. Wear work appropriate attire! If you stand up, what attire will be seen within the frame of your camera? Think about an emergency run to hush your barking dog. Be prepared for what could be seen and ensure it is professional. Ditch the hat for meetings with leadership, your boss, or any client. Ladies, skip the low cut tops if you are sitting close to the camera.
Camera Framing and Background
Raise the camera to so you are eye level with the lens as opposed to leaning it upwards. We don’t want an angled view looking up your nostrils or at the side of your face! Also ensure that you have a professional background. Remove any clutter or inappropriate items from your space. Using a virtual background is a well-accepted to avoid any issues.
Adjust the Lighting in the Room
Great lighting makes for great video quality. Lighting eliminates the grainy look of your streaming video. If natural light is not an option, then the lighting within the room are best when placed on either side of you. Avoid lighting beneath or behind you. Overall, your goal is to best show that beautiful smile that everyone wants to see.
Be On Time
Prompt attendance is expected for any meeting. When it comes to video conferencing, the disruption of a late attendee is more disturbing than slipping into a quiet conference room chair. On the video conference, a late attendee will likely have audio and visual interruptions to the active conversation. Eliminate delays, meetings running over time, confusion, or lost trains of thought by showing up on time.
Should someone arrive late, no need to explain. Put yourself on mute. The person speaking can acknowledge they are there and continue with the agenda.
Look Into the Camera
Look into the camera lens, not just while speaking, but also while listening. Avoid multi-tasking. Your wandering eyes and hand movements give off the message that you are disengaged. Some attendees may interpret this behavior as disrespectful. Eye contact shows you are attentive and engaged.
Smile, wave, and introduce yourself to the room. Hearing a response from other attendees or the host will ensure you that you can be seen and heard. After your introduction mute your audio until it is your turn to speak again.
Mute Yourself When Not Speaking
After your introduction, mute your audio until it is your turn to speak again. This will silence any interference or frequency noise that is picked up by the microphone. It will also eliminate any unexpected background noises of barking dogs, baby cries, doorbell rings, text alerts, and email notifications.
Assign a Moderator in Advance
The moderator could very well be the host of the meeting. The responsibility of the moderator is to ensure attendance, set the pace, drive the agenda, engage participation, and follow-up.
Provide an Agenda in Advance
This is the most important tip to video conferencing etiquette. An itinerary is key to staying on topic and within the allotted time frame. Some attendees may decline a meeting invite or be a no show if an agenda is not provided in advance. After all, it allows everyone to come prepared to make for a productive meeting now as opposed to setting up a follow-up meeting to get the job done in the future.
Host to Confirm All Attendees Are Present Before Starting
The host or moderator should acknowledge who is present or missing. This will allow for a collaborative conversation and no time wasted waiting for a response from someone who may not be there. If an attendee is missing, consider recording the meeting so that the follow-up notes and recording can be shared after.
Utilize the Technology to Engage Participation
The host, moderator, or person assigned to take meeting notes should understand the full functionality of the video conferencing software. They should also train the attendees in advance on how to respond and engage with all communication features that drive engagement. Examples of engagement features are note taking, comments, questions, polls, virtual hand raising, screen sharing, passing the screen control to another attendee, etc.
Be Mindful of the Time
Time management is not the sole responsibility of the moderator. Participants of the video conference need to be just as mindful of time when they speak and for how long. At the onset of the call, introductory small talk is a healthy start, however, in groups larger than three keep it to a minimal and stick to the agenda. This will allow more time for participation and productivity. This tip is high priority on the list of video conferencing etiquette.
The moderator can influence the agenda by providing clarity if all questions should be held to the end or to be written in the side chat. Setting expectations upfront will also determine if the meeting is better as a brainstorm discussion or a delivery of information format. If the call is not a brainstorm meeting, then please make it known to help steer the conversation back to the agenda should it get off course.
Recording the meeting is a great option should you need to follow-up with reminders on training related topics or decision making decisions. A recording of the video conference is also great if not all could attend your meeting. Lastly, if the content of the meeting is evergreen, or reusable, then help yourself from hosting redundant future meetings by recording a copy. These video recordings can be great resources to build efficiencies in onboarding, training, and time management.
Follow-Up Action Items to Pull Timely Deliverables and Accountability Through
Follow-up is what drives accountability and gets next steps accomplished. The follow-up is distributed via email which will have meeting notes and the recording of the video attached.
Best practices for meeting follow-up would include a summary of of the meeting topic, attendees, time and date, agenda, outcomes, and action items with assigned responsible parties and due dates. It can also be followed with the next calendar invite or reminders to accountable parties that are in charge of next step deliverables.
When to use Video Conferencing
- Long Agenda Discussions
- Leadership Communications
- Change Management
- Awards & Recognition
Please share these 15 tips of video conferencing etiquette to your colleagues. The more confident everyone is on a video conference, the better your future meetings will go!
Video conferencing has become widely adopted and is now the norm for companies across various industries. Knowing proper video conferencing etiquette will ensure that everything from casual meetings to virtual job interviews go as smoothly as possible!