For the past year, video calls have been the central part of our daily work life. But despite the regular use of online conferencing tools, mishaps are still happening. Of course, each video call is different, depending whether it’s for work, a job interview, an online course, or simply a chat with friends. However, there are still some rules of etiquette which apply in any case. So, let’s talk about video call Dos and Don’ts applicable in all settings, but especially for work calls.
What You Should Do in a Video Call
Do choose a place to sit with a good lighting and a tidy background.
A good lighting and a tidy background can make the difference between making a good first impression or not. If your room is too dark or you can’t sit in front of a window, consider getting yourself a small ring light to get rid of any shadows on your face. And if you are not sitting right in front of a wall, check ahead of time what other people on the call will be able to see behind you. You can either tidy up your room or use a virtual background in case that’s easier.
Do dress for the occasion
We have all heard about awkward moments in video calls because people are not dressed for the call. After all, I clearly remember even government officials being caught half dressed on TV. being dressed appropriately is even more important during summer months. I’d recommend wearing a nice shirt, blouse or top with broad straps. Why? In a video call people are often only able to see you from your bust up. This angle combined with thin straps on your top can make you seem more “naked” than you might be comfortable with in a work situation.
Do test your camera, microphone and settings ahead of time.
Nothing is more annoying and unprofessional than your camera or microphone not working. It’s the basics. Test it ahead of time, especially if the call is for work. Some video call programs need to be handled differently and while Zoom might work perfectly fine for you, you might need to change your settings for Google Meets or Teams. Also, if you are holding a presentation, please check ahead of time how to share your screen.
Do introduce yourself at the beginning
It doesn’t matter if you are the person to lead through the call or not, be prepared to introduce yourself. For a work call, shortly tell people about your position, what you do in the company, your work experience and how you are going to be involved in any future proceedings.
Do try and hold eye contact
Even in a video call, people will be able to notice if you are distracted or looking down. Both is bad. The first will make it seem like the call is not your main focus, and the second will make it look like you are not confident. Try to look in the general direction of your camera. If you are working with two screens, make sure the call takes place on the one with the camera.
What You shouldn’t Do in a Video Call
Don’t put yourself in an environment unfit for a call
This is something you should always consider before scheduling a call: Will you be able to have a good Wi-Fi connection and a quiet environment during your call? You won’t be able to hold a productive meeting or leave a good impression if your connection is unstable or someone else is talking in the background. Don’t answer video calls while you are on the move or somewhere in the streets.
Don’t be late or unprepared
Because the next meeting is just a click away people tend to be late. Try to keep up with time instead. It is important to be on time for calls and to come prepared. Block the 15 minutes before a video call to check your microphone, camera, settings and to review any material that will help you stay on top of things during the call.
Don’t talk to people outside the call
Please don’t talk to other people in the room while you are on a call. It will make you seem distracted and unfocused. People especially tend to do this if they are muted on a call with a lot of people, but let me tell you, somebody will notice. On further note, the same goes for talking to people on your phone. Please don’t answer your phone while you are on a video call. It should only happen in emergencies. If you are in an important call, it’s best to let the other people in the room know and to mute your phone.
Don’t answer your emails or chat messages
Many people have fallen into this trap. If you are on a call don’t check your emails, answer the chat or check your phone. People will notice and you will be distracted. While you are focused on other things, the topic might change or somebody might ask you a question, and you will be unprepared. While in some settings people won’t mind and understand you, it’s best to not let it go that far. Just stay focused on the call.
Don’t interrupt other people while talking
This is common decency not just in real life, but also in a video call. If someone is talking, you let them finish. In case you are worried to lose your train of thought, write it down together with the point the other person was making and address it after they are finished. If you are afraid that the meeting will move past the topic without you being able to make your point, raise your virtual or real hand. People will immediately know that you have something to say. There is no need to interrupt someone.
From your peronal experience, what do you consider video calls DOs and Don’ts? Let us know in the comments! Also make sure to check out this post on How to Best Prepare For a Job Interview in 2021.
Be right back,