It’s a video conferencing world and we’re all working to figure out the groundrules. What’s adding a level of difficulty is the natural instinct to treat #workfromhome as a more casual event – standards have dropped for professional decorum across the board.
And while some of that makes for good change, there are some lines that should not be crossed. Here are four major keys to maintaining video chat etiquette:
- Maintain Eye Contact. Have you noticed the lack of eye contact when everyone is looking at their screens (and, in many cases, themselves) during a video chat? You would never do that in-person. It all ends up feeling a bit impersonal. The answer? Move your video window close the device’s webcam – that way, looking at other video boxes (or yourself) mimics making eye contact, making the meeting more personal.
- Lighting is Key. The point of a video conference is to mimic the connections of meeting in real life, so you’ve got to make sure you cover the basics like making sure people can actually see your face. We’ve all been on video conferences where participants have too much light behind them or they’re sitting in a dark room. If you’re going to do that, what’s the point? Luckily, the solution is simple: a ring light can sit on your desk and provide some professional-looking light. Here are a few we recommend:
- Mind the Mute Button. Don’t be the person who interrupts the presentation or conversation with the sweet sounds of your spouse on a phone call in the next room or a barking dog. If you’re in a meeting with more than one person, it’s a great idea to mute your microphone to eliminate those distracting background noises. Look, we all get it, we’re living at home and life happens, but this is a matter of respect.
- Dress for Success. The image of a person working from home, wearing a shirt and tie on top and nothing but boxers on bottom is funny, but don’t be that guy. If for no other reason, to help keep in the right frame of mind. The psychological effect of being fully dressed will lead to greater productivity. We featured a few of our favorite WFH fashion tips in Work from Home Fashion for 2021.
And while this isn’t the be-all and end-all, they are the key steps to make sure you’re a respectful video conference participant.