Manners Matter- Even on a Video Call
Welcome to the PSM School of Etiquette! Today’s lesson will focus on the importance of proper manners on professional video calls. The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the landscape of professional meetings since it’s emergence in the U.S. in early 2020. Even though state governors are lifting stay-at-home orders across the nation, many professionals have developed a fondness for remote working. Many people are hopeful that the positive social shifts caused by COVID-19 are here to stay. Video calls and remote working fall into that category.
Not all professionals are well-versed in the etiquette surrounding video calls, which is why we decided to write this post. These tips and guidelines are here to increase efficiency, prevent embarrassment, and reduce frustration on your video calls.
8 Tips to Maintain Decorum on Video Calls
At PSM Marketing, we’ve experienced many of these faux pas firsthand. While it’s important to have patience for technical snags (like lag time), you can avoid many frustrations by following these 8 guidelines for video call etiquette:
Arrive Several Minutes Early – Arriving early to video calls gives you a chance to test your video and audio technology before other meeting attendees arrive. It’s never fun waiting for people to figure out technical difficulties. Sort them out prior to your meeting to avoid delayed start times.
Pause Before Speaking – One of the most frustrating elements of video calls is having several attendees speak at once. Unlike in-person meetings, it’s a lot more difficult to read body language on a video call. Wait a second or two to make sure your conversation partner is done with their thought. If you’re in a large meeting, raising your hand is a great way to jump in without talking over your other attendees.
Clean Your Workspace – Be cognizant of your surroundings. Tidy up your workspace and think about what the other video call attendees will see in the background of your video frame. Put away dirty dishes, fluff your pillows, do what you must to create a distraction-free backdrop for your call.
Respect Meeting Time – Online video calls have a tendency to run over their allotted time. Just as you’d respect an in-person meeting, be sure to keep an eye on the clock.
Avoid Screen Share Hazards – This one has a lot of potential for embarrassment. If you’re sharing your screen during a professional video call, make sure you know exactly what viewers are seeing. That additional internet tab titled “hemorrhoid remedies” is almost definitely visible. Close all unnecessary browser tabs and programs prior to screen sharing.
Dress the Part – While pants might be unnecessary (technically speaking) – is that really a risk you’re willing to take? Make sure you’re dressing the part for your video call. Dress for your audience, but know it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Use “Eye Contact” – It feels unnatural, we admit it, but try to create a sense of direct eye contact by staring directly into your camera lens when speaking. Try not to stare at your own video preview while others are speaking as well.
Anticipate Distraction – Make sure other members of your home know you have a video call. If you have dogs, make sure they have a chew toy (or relegate them to their kennel while you have a call). Corral your children.
When our society eventually settles on a “new normal,” online video calls will likely be a lasting remnant of this pandemic. Set a good example for co-workers by maintaining a high level of decorum on video calls. We hope these 8 tips will help prepare you for professional, efficient video calls.