Video Conference Etiquette: Use These 8 Tips to Avoid Getting Fired for Improper Conduct

Video Conference Etiquette: Use These 8 Tips to Avoid Getting Fired for Improper Conduct

It may be hard to believe, but improper video conference etiquette can get you fired. According to Korn Ferry, 24% of executives admit to their firm firing staffers for virtual meeting errors. Yikes!

By now, most of us can agree that remote work is here to stay. Whether you’re working entirely from home or adopted a hybrid model, mastering the rules for video conferencing is essential.

Here are our 8 best video conferencing tips and tricks to help you keep your job and crush those virtual calls.

8 Video Conference Tips and Tricks

75% of CEOs believe that video conference calls will replace audio-only ones in the future. You can put your best foot forward on these calls by preparing for them in advance and presenting your best self. Here are 8 ways to do that.

Tip 1: Use the Right Video Conferencing Technology

The right video conferencing technology can be the difference between a laggy, choppy video call and one that operates smoothly. Your technology should include hardware and software.

Your hardware package should include a reliable camera, microphone, and possibly even artificial lighting. While many people opt for their computer’s built-in camera and mic, upgrading can significantly improve your calls. Here’s a list of some of the best webcams and microphones, according to MSN.

Your software tech stack is essential. It needs to include a straightforward video call software that enables group calls, screen sharing, messaging, and more. This video conferencing software could be Zoom, Cisco’s Webex, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or something else. According to Forbes Insight, 62% of businesses use three or more video conference platforms, so feel free to mix and match.

Many of these tools allow for dial-in options for those unable to join by video, but this should be a last resort. To maintain the feel of face-to-face meetings, turning your video on is seen as a common courtesy.

Tip 2: Triple Check Your Video Conferencing Technology Works

Even the best hardware or software has problems. Well before your video calls, make sure to check, and check again, that all video conferencing equipment is working. Test your camera, mic, lighting, and calling software. 

Don’t schedule this in a few minutes before your call. Instead, give yourself plenty of buffer time in case problems arise — plan to do an equipment and software check at least one hour before call time.

Here are some tips to help ensure your tech works:

  • Test your wifi speed. If it’s lagging, consider using a wired connection.
  • Test your computer mic.
  • Pull up your camera and make sure you like how you look.
  • Make sure your call software is up-to-date. If not, update it (but not right before the meeting! Give plenty of time for software updates).
  • For cellphones, make sure there isn’t interference.

Tip 3: Arrive on Time

Video meetings shouldn’t differ significantly from traditional meetings. Excellent video conference etiquette means showing up on time and prepared

If you absolutely can’t avoid being late to a meeting, tell the call leader ahead of time, so they aren’t holding up the conference waiting for you to arrive. Many video calls get held up to “give people a few more minutes” to arrive — you don’t want to be the reason for that.

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Tip 4: Mute Yourself When You Aren’t Speaking

Especially if you’re joining a video conference from a noisy environment, mute your mic whenever you aren’t speaking. According to Owl Lab’s 2020 State of Remote Work report, interruptions and being talked over pose two of the most significant meeting challenges for remote and in-person employees.

One of the best ways to prevent these two common challenges is to mute your mic when you aren’t speaking. Doing so also prevents background noises, such as pets, children, or nearby ambulance sirens, from disrupting whoever’s speaking.

And, more selfishly, muted mics help prevent you from accidentally saying something private while everyone can hear you.

Related: Here are 7 Tips on Exactly How to Handle Hybrid Meetings the Right Way

video conference etiquette 101 can include buying a high-quality external microphone

Tip 5: Be Ready for Your On-Screen Appearances

Many of us choose to work in comfortable and informal clothing when at home. We may also skip some parts of our “beautification” routine, such as hair brushing. However, when it’s time for you to hop on a virtual call, video conferencing etiquette 101 means doing your best to look presentable.

Part of the ground rules for video conferencing include treating virtual meetings as you would in-person ones; thus, present yourself accordingly!

Tip 6: How’s Your Background?

Cluttered backgrounds can distract from what you’re saying. You have two options when it comes to backgrounds:

  1. Designate a video conference space. Frame yourself against a solid, undecorated (or moderately decorated) wall or bookshelf. 
  2. Use a virtual background. Zoom and Meet are two of many softwares that have these built in.

Tip 7: Find Somewhere Quiet 

Kids screaming, dogs barking, or people buzzing are all extremely distracting when people are trying to listen to you talk. Video conferencing etiquette means that, where possible, you’ll want to attend meetings from a quiet space

If you’re logging on from a designated room, shut the windows and close the doors to minimize noise.

Tip 8: Look Into the Camera

It’s sometimes tempting to look at your face or the faces of others on screen when you’re talking, but proper video conference etiquette means looking into the camera. This gives listeners the illusion of eye contact because you’re staring directly into the lens. 

Additionally, if you’re joining the video call from somewhere distracting, do your best to avoid breaking eye contact to look at your surroundings. This is one of many reasons why taking your call from a quiet, distraction-free zone is essential.

Final Word

Video conferencing is here to stay, with 78% of corporate businesses using video software for team meetings. Use these 8 tips for better video conference etiquette to make the best impression possible. 

It’s little effort on your end to abide by the best rules for video conferencing, but doing so leaves a lasting impact.

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