Work-related video calls improve business productivity and efficiency, according to ViewSonic. But in the past couple of years there have been multiple reports of unprofessional behaviors during these calls.
Things such as pets blocking the camera, naked flatmates in the background, and family arguments have all made headlines.
But just what rules should you follow to ensure you come across as professional?
Don’t Be Late
You wouldn’t turn up late to a meeting in person, so you shouldn’t turn up late to a virtual meeting, either. Being late affects all the other meeting attendees and it makes you look like you don’t care.
It’s particularly a bad look if there are people in the video call who you’ve never met or worked with before.
The best thing you can do is log in to the meeting around 15 minutes early. This gives you a chance to deal with any unexpected technical issues.
And, if you do make it in straight away, you can get on with your work while you’re hanging around the lobby.
Look the Part
19% of people say their colleagues have worn inappropriate clothing during a video conference. Inappropriate clothing could be anything from pajamas, tracksuits, yoga pants, tank tops, and similar.
These clothing choices won’t show you in a good light and you’ll appear unprofessional.
Research shows that dressing in standard business clothing makes you feel authoritative, trustworthy, and competent, and that’s how you’ll come across too.
You’ll look smart for your online meeting by wearing structured tops and form-fitting items of clothing.
Your hair and makeup should also be sleek and smart as this will help you come across more professionally.
A recent study found that in 30% of video call meetings, workers sent emails. Multitasking during a video call might seem like an effective way to catch up on your work, but it’s not professional.
When you respond to emails, edit files, upload data, and similar during a virtual meeting, your mind is preoccupied.
You won’t be paying full attention to either one of your tasks and this will be clear to see.
The people in the meeting with you will note that your eyes are darting from side to side and that you’re not fully taking everything in.
Always give the video call your full attention and close down all other applications so you can’t be tempted to do something else.
Use the Mute Button
When you’re not vocally participating in a meeting, make sure you mute yourself.
There’s nothing worse than a work video conference being interrupted by a barking dog, a knock on the door, an argument between your kids, or your flatmate swearing.
You’ll look very unprofessional if your colleagues hear any of this and you may not live down the embarrassment. The best thing you can do is mute yourself from the beginning of the call.
The mute button also gives you time to think about what you’re going to say so you can give a clear, concise, and professional response.
When you’re ready to talk, check no one else is speaking, unmute yourself, speak, then mute yourself again. This gives you a chance to listen to everyone’s responses before you respond further.
Put the Camera On
Some workers choose to keep their cameras turned off so they cannot be seen during calls. While there is some research to say that this prevents fatigue, it doesn’t make you look professional.
90% of people say that being able to see someone during a video call helps to get their point across.
Being visible also shows that you’re actively engaged in the meeting. If you can’t be seen, there’s a risk that the other attendees will forget you’re there, especially if it’s a large virtual meeting.
When you have your camera on you’re connected and motivated.
Your body language shows a lot about who you are as a person and a worker, so you’ll want everyone to see that which is why you should always use your camera in a virtual business meeting.
Almost 76% of workers say the virtual meetings they attend are a waste of time, according to a survey from CV-Library.
They say this because things such as poor organization stop productive meetings from taking place. If you’re running the meeting, make sure you’ve made a detailed plan of what you want to cover.
Writing down your main aims for the meeting is also recommended. It’s even worth sharing this plan with everyone you’ve invited.
This will help them prepare for the meeting too. You can be just as prepared when you’re the attendee rather than the host.
Having the relevant files and documents open before the meeting starts, and a list of questions ready to ask, will show that you’re organized, experienced, and efficient.
Business-related video conferences are here to stay. Make sure you look professional at all times by following these rules.