Videoconferencing is becoming a practice that many enterprises are incorporating into their daily work flow. It allows for employees to meet with one another, with customers, and with clients from any two points with internet access. We conduct meetings through videoconference, share content and work on projects, and even interview potential new employees using videoconferencing.
However, employees are still learning proper etiquette while videoconferencing with other parties. There has been a strict social code that has been established in enterprises throughout years of business practice that most professionals have come to understand. Wearing shoes, a dress shirt, sometimes a tie or even a suit. Making eye contact, standing straight, enunciating. There are ways to prove that you are a professional in face to face meetings.
These norms should not be any different when videoconferencing, but they are. When the person we are meeting with is simply a face on the screen, we tend to forget the professionalism we have conditioned ourselves for and take on more casual tones to our body language and mannerisms. When interacting with a digital medium, it is hard to consider that you are truly speaking with another person. Articles by manufacturers and news outlets explain some new etiquette to consider when videoconferencing.
Before you start, making sure you have the correct lighting is paramount. Overhead lighting casts shadows and gives you a tired look. Place lights behind the camera and behind you. Make sure the angle of the camera is showing you in the right light. Consider what is behind you and showing on screen. You don’t want the people you are speaking with to see a mess in your office. Make sure your connection is strong, and move to an area where distractions are minimized.
During the meeting, wear proper clothing. You are still bound by your company’s dress code no matter where you are. That doesn’t only pertain to what the screen sees. You don’t want to have to stand up for your client to find you are wearing mesh shorts with your suit jacket. Speak formally as if the person were standing in front of you. If connection fails, don’t swear and curse, because the person at the other end might still be able to hear you. Speak to the camera, and don’t surf the web or check e-mail while you are supposed to be engaged.