In a previous post, we discussed the importance of training staff on basic videoconferencing etiquette. This might seem like a basic concept, but it’s a mistake to assume all employees know how to properly use this relatively new and newly ubiquitous technology. Therefore, reminding staff of the etiquette essentials below can help both internal and external meetings run more smoothly and prevent embarrassing mishaps.
Use of Video
Most videoconferencing tools allow participants to decide whether to turn their cameras on. Depending on the meeting or company culture, video may or may not be preferred. Organizations and individual teams should set expectations ahead of time, but when in doubt, participants should follow the lead of the more senior participants.
Pets, home construction projects, and children can be extremely distracting during video calls. To some extent, such distractions come with the territory of working from home, but staff should do what they can to minimize these distractions for the benefit of their colleagues and the productivity of the meeting itself.
Screen-sharing features are key tools for video meetings, but they can lead to embarrassment or even the inadvertent sharing of confidential information. When screen-sharing, participants should consider sharing just the window they intend to share instead of their entire screen. This can help prevent other participants from seeing chat windows or incoming e-mails. To be safe, participants should consider closing anything not necessary for the meeting.
Use of Chat
When using the built-in chat features of videoconferencing tools, it’s important to keep these chats pertinent to the meeting and avoid distracting from the broader discussion. Chat is best used for things like sharing links to online content or documenting information useful for note-keeping—i.e., the time and date of the next meeting or the name and contact information of key stakeholders.
Remember the Rules of In-Person Meetings
Just because you aren’t in the same physical room as other participants doesn’t mean the basic rules of etiquette are thrown out the window. Participants should avoid talking over and interrupting others and pay attention to body language and tone of voice (theirs, as well as those of the other participants).
The hand-raise tool can be useful for controlling the flow of the meeting. For the meeting host, it might be useful to point that out at the start of the meeting. Of course, if participants are encouraged to use this tool, the host should pay attention so as not to miss when participants use it.
The tenets of basic meeting etiquette might seem so obvious that they aren’t worth spending time and resources on, but videoconferencing isn’t something all employees are familiar with, even 2 years into a pandemic. A review of some basic best practices can be more useful than you might expect.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.