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Essential Etiquette Tips for Video Conferencing

Desk seen from above with a monitor showing a person on a video call.

Essential Etiquette Tips for Video Conferencing

Make Introductions

If you are leading the meeting, you should be the one to make the introductions. Set aside a moment at the beginning to introduce everyone present in the meeting and say their titles. It can feel a little awkward at first because we are so used to our introductions being punctuated by handshakes, but don’t let that initial discomfort make you skip the introductions altogether. 

Don’t Stare at Yourself

We all do it. When you’ve got yourself on camera in front of you, it’s hard not to just look at yourself the whole time, but if you’re doing that you will not look like you’re engaged with the person or people you’re speaking to. Instead, look at the camera.

If it’s really difficult for you to ignore your own image on the screen, most video conferencing softwares have the option for you to hide your camera on your own screen while other meeting attendees will still be able to see you. Hiding your own camera can also help with self-consciousness you may have because you can’t be constantly checking your appearance and scrutinizing yourself.

Have a Neutral Background

Your background doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to make it as neutral and uncluttered as possible. Nobody needs to see your overflowing laundry hamper or your Metallica poster.

Turn Off All Notifications

If you have any notifications turned on that make noise on your computer–such as when a new email comes in, live chat, or anything else that might pop up at any time–make sure you have them turned off or closed. If your co-conferencers are constantly hearing the beeping of notifications on your end, it is distracting and makes it seem like you are not purely focused on the meeting.

Dress Neatly

Everyone is in the same boat when working from home and nobody is expecting a 3-piece suit, but do change out of the sweats you slept in. Wear something clean and neat and, yes, you *do* need to wear pants even if you’re only on video from the waist up. You never know if you might have to unexpectedly stand up for some reason!

Learn When to Mute Yourself

It’s just a fact that things come up when you’re working remotely. Maybe your kid needs you to answer a question, maybe someone else in your household is using the coffee grinder. It’s impossible to prevent these types of distractions completely, but you can prevent them from distracting everyone else in the video conference. If there is suddenly background noise on your end or you need to quickly talk to somebody outside of the meeting, simply mute yourself. Just don’t forget to unmute yourself again as soon as the distraction has passed!

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