The pandemic has brought with it, changes that have affected almost every area of our lives. Some of these changes are negative while others are positive, depending on your perspective. However, one thing we can all agree on is that life would never be completely the same post-pandemic as it was pre-pandemic.
One thing that has come to stay, particularly in our businesses, is the enhanced use of technology in general, and in particular, the use of video conferencing tools for meetings. Due to what I would like to term our unpreparedness for this phase, some of these meetings have resulted in gaffes and career-bungling mistakes because participants did not adhere to basic video conferencing etiquette.
I have outlined some video conferencing etiquette below:
- Do not stay in bed while a meeting is on, even if you are sitting up.
- Do not slouch on a couch, you need to sit up. Other meeting attendees take you more seriously when you are sitting up. Sitting up also gives the impression that you are paying attention to what is being discussed.
- Be punctual.
- Speak moderately, don’t shout.
- Have writing materials handy to take notes if necessary.
- Do not eat while the meeting is on. You may drink some water or beverage but please do not gulp or slurp.
- Try and stay in the center of the screen.
- The light should be in front of you, directed at you, and not behind, to give a good lighting effect.
- When using a phone, instead of a laptop, ensure that the picture is on landscape mode.
- Your background should be clean and tidy. To ensure a more professional look, avoid using spaces like your kitchen and bathroom.
- Keep the microphone on mute when you are not speaking to guard against unexpected noise coming from your end.
- It is considered polite and best practice, to put the camera (video) on during a meeting. But always have a decent profile picture handy, if you have to attend a meeting at short notice and you are not properly dressed.
- Make sure you have some privacy. Other members of the household should not be walking around you during a meeting.
- Dress appropriately – remember that you may need to stand up at some point during the meeting. Your team members should not be treated to scenes of you in your underwear.
- Do a check before the meeting starts to ensure that everything you need, such as your microphone, speaker, internet connection, camera, are all working. Also ensure that the battery for your device is fully charged.
- If you have any reason to take a break, do take permission to do so if you can. Remember to mute your microphone and switch off your camera.
- When the meeting has ended, please remember to exit the meeting. This is absolutely necessary, as some people forget to do this, thereby treating other meeting attendees who have not exited the meeting, with scenes that should remain private.
- Most meeting software have a chat button or a button for indicating that your hand is raised. This allows the host to see that you would like to speak, thereby allowing you to speak at the appropriate time. It is best not to speak without the permission or invitation of the host, as meetings tend to become overly disorderly when attendees do not take turns to speak.
©Ekeoma Ajah 2020
Ekeoma Ajah is the author of:
- Pointy Panta Goes AWOL