Love them or hate them, virtual meetings are now a norm for almost every job. Work from anywhere trend has forced the workforce to face this. It is generally known that managers would prefer a face-to-face meeting instead of remote meets but the reality is different now. In a recent survey, one in five employees says that their meetings are rarely productive and more than half of workers are doing other things during virtual meetings. Employees shall grab the opportunity to adapt and improve themselves in order to adhere to the remote processes i.e. video meetings.
The sudden shift to remote working setup threw a number of challenges to employees and managing office video calls from home is one of them. You must’ve witnessed at least one malfunctioning instance while video conferencing during the last 18 months. Here are five golden etiquette tips to eliminate the chance of being embarrassed in your video meetings and be a pro!
1. Eliminate Distractions
Working from home is challenging and even more if one has a joint family, young kids, working spouse, room partner and pets. While it is impossible to negotiate with babies and pets, you should simply talk and coordinate with family members or your partner.
A survey found out that over 15 per cent of people are bold enough to do household chores during that Zoom meeting. Hope the sound is off, or colleagues might hear the beautiful music of the dishwasher being loaded. Another 9 per cent are interrupted from their meeting by childcare. Ask for help from your family members to give you a quiet space for video meeting time. Keep your pets out of the room or in a separate place so that they cannot easily enter and jump over you. Gradually, family members would understand your needs and also everyone is sailing in the boat of remote working, one would understand the background story.
2. Get The Best Audio & Video
If you are not a pro, sometimes technology can take a toll on you. Be open to learn technology and choose the best equipment for your setup. If you do a lot of video conferences, consider investing in a high-end camera or external webcam. Also according to the surrounding, one can prefer using a headset or earphones to ensure uninterrupted audio.
Poor audio quality can quickly lead to miscommunication and will impact the effectiveness of a video call. Use the mute option judiciously, which can also put you in troublesome situations sometimes. When someone else is speaking, ensure to switch off your mic, that way your background disturbance won’t hamper the discussion.
“Get a camera cover so you know at all times it is off and don’t turn it on erroneously. Colourful backgrounds can be distracting and might also be contrasting to your clothes, prepare and see yourself on camera first. Appropriate light can help you look good,” Ashissh Kapoor, Talent Leader, Ernst & Young, India & Bangladesh shares his piece of advice to be good be the best in office video meets.
3. Appropriate Background
A fancy background set is not a mandate but inappropriate posters on the wall are also not the right thing to do. A plain white wall is considered as the simplest yet decent background for professional purposes. By now, most of the people have a designated ‘home-office space’ and doing work calls from your particular workstation is suggested. Adjust the camera angle, eliminate the unnecessary out of the frame, be in the centre of the screen and you are all set for the video conference.
Sit at your desk, click a picture, and see what the others will see. Whether you are at home or anywhere, just keep your background neutral, and uncluttered. The background in video meetings sets the tone and it’ll say a lot about you.
“I have often observed that people pay less attention to their network connection quality which is a big turn off. So it’s of paramount importance to keep a good broadband connection and also a backup connection in case of a network outage,” says Manish Sharma, Partner, PWC. While mentioning the opportunities work from home has created, “In a nutshell, while WFH is convenient for many but to demarcate between personal and professional space, it’s important to maintain a certain degree of decorum,” Sharma adds.
4. Grooming Matters
When it comes to clothing most people are enjoying the perks of work from home these days and especially, of not being dressed waist down. Even only your face and shoulders are going to be in the frame, one should dress professionally. A fancy haircut or full-on makeup is not required but going straight from waking up into a video conference will not be appreciated at all.
Avoid wearing a big pattern, bold prints or other noticeable textured clothes. A big no for hat or cap. Prefer wearing plain or minimal prints, neutral colours for work calls. Make sure to check your teeth, comb your hair before signing in. Ladies, avoid big dangling earrings that would distract other people and can also make unwanted noise, choose appropriate minimal jewellery.
5. Just Be You
Technology in some places is creating a challenge. Everyone cannot be a technology expert or camera-friendly, it’s a slow process to adapt and learn new things. Be comfortable, it is normal talking, discussing and meeting people but just through a different medium.
Maintain good eye contact because it will look funny or odd if you keep on looking at yourself in a corner of the screen. Be conscious of looking straight in the middle of the camera or at least maintain eye contact with the person speaking at that time.