Top 10 faux pas of video conferencing

Thursday, August 22 2013

Video conferencing technology can be one of the best assets in your office, assuming you know how to use the collaboration software properly. If you consistently make mistakes while on camera or don't understand how to operate your communications platform, meeting participants will likely think less of you.

The following is a list of the top 10 faux pas that professionals can't seem to stop making during video conferences.

1. How you dress
What you wear to the office matters and that goes double for video conferences. Remember that your image is be broadcast by a webcam, which isn't the most powerful device and doesn't pick up fine details. As a result, that means your stripped shirt will look like a mess and give viewers a headache. Additionally, you have to wear something that covers your shoulders because if your colleagues can't see a top, they'll likely think you don't have anything on.

2. Didn't check the connect
According to InformationWeek, one common mistake is that people don't ensure they have sufficient bandwidth for a video conference. That means that in the middle of a meeting the connection will cut out.

This is even more prevalent among people who use their tablets and smartphones for online discussions. If your service isn't good enough for a phone call, it certainly isn't sufficient for a video conference.

3. Facial expressions
During a digital meeting, keep a neutral expression or smile so that you seem professional. Every other facial expression will look a bit strange on camera. And don't yawn without covering your mouth, that's rude and it's not attractive in the slightest sense.

4. Doing everything else
The purpose of video conferencing is to discuss important matters with remote contacts, but some people love to check Facebook and catch up on email during their meetings. These are distractions that diminish the effectiveness of online collaboration.

5. Accessing improper files
Connected for Business notes that it's quite common for workers to open incorrect files while sharing their screens. Double check that you clicked on your presentation because this isn't the time or place to show everyone your vacation photos.

6. Talking to someone else
If you're using your online video software in an open office, your co-workers might chime in on occasion. Don't respond to anyone who isn't part of your conference because other participants won't know what you're talking about.

7. Leaving
There are always times when you'll have to leave your desk, but if you're in a conference you can't just leave, especially if you're the host. Always excuse yourself and say that you have a hard stop so you don't seem rude.

8. Speaking over others
When you're in different rooms, it can be difficult to tell when other people are going to speak. Always give your colleagues the floor and then throw in your two cents when you won't have to talk over someone else.

9. Can't use the software
Are you constantly stopping the meeting to figure out how to use a basic feature? If so, you're annoying other meeting participants and wasting valuable time. 

10. Poor scheduling
Just because you can video conference with anyone around the world with the click of a button doesn't mean it's always the best time do so. If your colleagues are in another time zone, you have to account for time differences.