Have you heard the one about the American video conference where an attendee reached across the table and tried to take food from the plate of another attendee in Japan?
It’s not as crazy as it might seem. Once a video conference starts and you are in the zone, it’s easy to forget that the people you are speaking to are not in the same room, might not even be in the same country. Equally, it’s easy to forget that others can still see you, even though they aren’t physically sitting in front of you.
For these reasons, it’s important that video conference attendees moderate the way they work, appear and interact with each other during a conference. Here are ten do’s and don’ts on video conference behaviour.
Do organise the environment around you. Be aware of possible visual and aural distractions. Keep the light balanced to avoid harsh shadows or washed-out details.
Don’t appear unprofessional in your appearance. Comb your hair, apply make-up, dress smartly the way you would for any face-to-face meeting.
Do be aware of what other attendees are seeing when they watch you on their screens. Arrange a practice session before the conference. Get feedback and act on it before participating in the real event.
Don’t position yourself too near the camera or keep moving towards and away from it in a way that might lead to exaggerated facial expressions.
Do retain eye contact with the camera.
Don’t look around, glance out of windows, tap your pen, fiddle with clothing or hair, giving other attendees reason to believe you are being distracted.
Do be ready and on time for the start of the conference, well prepared to project a calm, unflustered image.
Don’t start working on something else during a conference just because the topic under discussion does not interest or apply to you. Clear your mind and stay focused.
Do plan visual presentations in advance so that you can introduce effective slides at appropriate moments.
Don’t forget that you are on camera at all times. Even when you are not speaking, others are still looking at you and will notice if you keep crossing and uncrossing your arms, yawn, tip your chair back, eat or chew gum!