The Future is Now
Videoconferencing is on the rise and there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.
In the age of remote work, virtual
assistants and videoconferencing, interviews and meetings via videoconferencing apps or software like Skype and Zoom are becoming commonplace. According to a 2017 article from Biz Tech magazine, Wainhouse Research in Arlington, Texas reported, “40 percent of businesses are either ‘very interested’ or ‘somewhat interested’ in integrating streaming capabilities with group videoconferencing systems.”
For companies with remote workers or those recruiting out-of-state or internationally, videoconferencing offers an opportunity for face-to-face interaction without the expense and time investment of travel. Research also shows that the practice increases collaboration and saves time.
With videoconferences or interviews, all of the same rules apply as with in-person (show up a few minutes early, dress appropriately, turn off your cellphone and so forth), but there are also a few other things to keep in mind.
What’s your agenda?: It can be tempting to treat a videoconference call casually, but again, all of the same rules for in-person meetings apply, including making an agenda. Email it to all participants in advance of the videoconference.
Testing, testing, 1,2,3: If possible, run a quick test on your conferencing software and equipment to make sure everything is in working order. Enlist a friend or colleague to video call you or to be on the receiving end of your video call. This will afford you time to troubleshoot any technical difficulties that could have been avoided. Pay attention to sound, camera angles and lighting.
Shut the front door (or at least your office door): Whether you are conducting the call in your office, conference room, home office or living room, be sure to shut the door. Interruptions from coworkers, or when you are at home, family members, roommates, partners and pets, could send your meeting or interview horribly off course.
Cleanup crew: Make a sweep of the room prior to your call to clean, remove clutter and get rid of anything that might be considered inappropriate or too personal. If you don’t have an appropriate home office, ask a friend or family member with a fabulous, or at least suitable, space if you can borrow it for an hour (or however long you think it will take to conduct the meeting or interview).
Introductions are key: Be sure to introduce yourself if you are video conferencing with people you’ve never met, then identify yourself before speaking if it’s a group videoconference, just like you would on a conference call. This is especially important if you are working in software or an app that allows some members to call in rather than use the video feature.
Eye contact 101: This one can be tricky, since most of us will naturally want to look into the eyes of the people on the monitor or at themselves via the tiny screen-in-screen feature. Make it a point to practice looking into the camera when you are conducting test calls. Looking into the camera rather than the monitor or yourself will make it appear as though you are making eye contact with the person or people on the other end of the video call.
Share the spotlight and the love: If you are conducting the meeting or interview and there are multiple participants, give everyone a chance to speak.
If you keep in mind all of the meeting and interview etiquette you’ve learned in the past and employ the above, your videoconference calls will be efficient, professional and effective.
Submit business etiquette questions to Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.