April 3 2020
Seven savoir-vivre rules for video conferences
Recently, video conferences have become everyday reality. Obligatory telework requires us to organize online brainstorms instead of meetings at the office. Some of us may not be used to it, which is why it might be a good idea to learn the most important savoir-vivre rules for online chats.
First: take care of your appearance
Home office does not excuse you from maintaining a professional appearance. You do not need to change from pajamas to a suit for a video conference, but try to look presentable. If your colleagues usually see you wearing jeans and a shirt, do not change this habit. Dress comfortably and stick to your style. Do not wear a hoodie and if you plan to wash your hair, make sure that you have the time to dry them before the meeting so as not to greet your colleagues with a towel on your head.
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Second: set your frame
No one expects you to clean your whole flat before an online chat. You only need to remember to prepare the part that will be seen by your interlocutors. The mess may not only change others’ opinions of you, but also effectively distract them from your face. Speaking of your face – set up your camera so that you are visible between the top of your head to the middle of your chest for the video conference participants. Forget about the frog’s (camera below your face) and bird’s (camera above your face) perspectives.
Third: check you equipment
Before starting a teleconference, check whether you laptop is charged, headphones and microphone are working and your Internet connection is good. Testing this will help you avoid stress and you will show respect to your interlocutor, who will not have to wait for you and waste their precious time. Be prepared to start a chat slightly ahead of time. If the meeting takes place in a so-called room, join a few minutes beforehand and wait patiently. It’s rude to be late for a conference (even it is online).
Fourth: prepare yourself
Prepare all the necessary materials before the teleconference. If you need statistical data, a notebook, a book – have them on hand. Bustling about the room during a meeting or searching through your notes to find important information on important arrangements just won’t do. Do not waste your coworker’s time.
Online chats have similar rules as face-to-face meetings. Put your phone on silent, log out of all social media and turn off the TV and radio if they are in the same room where you’re going to attend the chat. Focus on your coworkers, show interest, do not check your phone constantly and do not clack away on the keyboard.
Sixth: limit your gestures
Jokes aside. A video conference is not the place for private chit-chat. Only discuss work-related topics and limit your gestures when talking. If you tend to gesture widely – try to control your hands. Self-control is important – otherwise, your interlocutors may feel that you want to attack them during a chat.
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Seventh: keep calm
Keep your voice calm during the chat. Control your emotions and temper. Try to take small breaks every couple of sentences, so that others may add something if they want. This goes both ways. Don’t interrupt others. During a video conference, there’s nothing worse than voices overlapping. If you’re not speaking at the moment, mute your microphone. Noise and static may disturb other meeting participants.
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