10 Mistakes to Avoid on Videoconferences

Curated by Paul Helmick

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  • We all use video services like Skype, GotoMeeting, WebEx, Google Hangouts and Join.Me and increasingly so, we have the opportunity to turn on our webcams to ‘connect’
  • Video gives us a sense of intimacy that conference calls cannot, and it delivers big savings in contrast with traveling for actual face-to-face meetings
  • Videoconferencing comes with its own code of behavior that takes the place of yesterday’s manners for meetings. Indeed, don’t let the small screens and at times deceptively informal atmosphere fool you. There are right and wrong ways to conduct yourself—and lapses will be noticed.

Here are the ten most important tips for your video conference calls via MarketWatch

1. Don’t type.

TIP: If you do need to take notes, experts say, it is better to handwrite them.

2. Make eye contact.

TIP: Move the video-chat window near your computer’s camera so you can both look at people’s faces and into the camera at once.

3. Don’t eat.

TIP: Put the sandwich down.

4. Discourage interruptions.

TIP: If you’re in a conference room or private office, put a note on the door. If you’re in a cubicle or at a bank of desks, use a signal to let colleagues know you are unavailable.

5. Don’t leave without telling anyone.

TIP: If it is a large meeting or you feel uncomfortable interrupting, just slip away and, if necessary, privately message a fellow participant saying you will be back shortly.

6. Pay attention.

TIP: Stay focused. Don’t look away from the screen. That is a clear indication that you aren’t engaged.

7. Remember the outliers.

TIP: Raising a hand to speak is OK, especially when there is a lag time on the video feed. If you’re moderating the call, be proactive and ask if anyone has something they want to add.

8. Control your background.

TIP: If your environment is too loud or messy, move to a conference room. A bare background isn’t a must, though. Interesting objects or designs could work in your favor by generating conversation.

9. Head off technical difficulties.

TIP: Join a videoconference before the appointed time to troubleshoot any possible connection problems. And when the meeting is over, make sure you end the call.

10. Act at home as you would at the office.

Do not be a statistic! 7% of respondents said they had seen someone participate in a videoconference from bed, while 17% of Americans have seen an attendee’s pet make an appearance. More than 20% admit to wearing pajamas—though with a more professional-looking top.

TIP: Stay out of bed. Keep pets and children out of the picture. And get dressed.

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10 Mistakes to Avoid on Videoconferences