Warning! How to make a mess of your next video conference

A cloud video meeting has become a staple in the business community, offering a quick, convenient way for teams to meet, even when they’re thousands of kilometres apart. As a frequent alternative to in-person meetings, cloud video chatting has redefined what it means to interact with your teammates, streamlining the flow of business no matter how many barriers stand in your way.

While video conferencing is a simple, affordable alternative to physical meetings when your team can’t be in one place, that doesn’t mean you can let your usual meeting etiquette fall by the wayside. These simple mistakes may mean making a mess out of your next cloud video meeting.

Letting ambient noise interfere

Whether you’re telecommuting from home or holding a meeting from your office, it can often be challenging to find a quiet place to get some work done. When you’re hosting a cloud video conference, a place free of ambient sounds is just as important as it is in a physical meeting. If you are in a situation in which you can’t avoid noise, do your best to find a clean, quiet space and make good use of the mute button when you aren’t talking.

Omitting a professional atmosphere

Conference rooms are designed the way they are for a reason: to minimise distractions, facilitate productivity, and keep a gathering on track. A video conference should be no different. No matter where you are, clean up a corner of your workspace and make sure that what the camera sees is organised and free of clutter. Even if your child likes to play on your desk, there’s no need to show that to your team members.

Dressing poorly

Just because you’re not having a meeting in person doesn’t mean you can’t look your best. While the members in your online meeting may be hours away, they can still see you. Dress appropriately for your meeting, similar to how you would for an in-person meeting. While video may feel more relaxed, that doesn’t mean that your peers won’t be treating it like any other business gathering.

Neglecting eye contact

Eye contact over a computer is different than eye contact in a meeting. When you look someone in the face in person, it’s clear what your intentions are. When you look at them in the face over web conference, however, you’re actually looking at their image. In order to maintain the appearance of eye contact, look into your webcam rather than at attendees’ faces. This will give each member of your conference the one-on-one eye contact they deserve.

Texting, eating, or playing Angry Birds

As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face meeting, don’t do it in an online meeting. Whether you get an important text, are feeling a little hungry, or are bored with the course of the meeting, your distance from your team members isn’t an excuse to neglect normal meeting protocol. Before picking up your phone or heading to the kitchen to microwave lunch, ask yourself whether you’d consider doing the same thing in the conference room with your boss.

Going in blind

When you hold a meeting in person, you generally prepare for at least an hour or two to make sure things are ready to go. This is also true in online meetings, and the process has one more step: taking care of your technology. Before holding a meeting, make sure your setup is in proper working order, including internet connection and webcam hookups. This way, when you get started on your conference, there will be no unwelcome surprises.

Hosting a meeting via webcam can take some extra preparation, but this doesn’t mean a successful video meeting is impossible. By preparing properly, dressing well, setting a professional scene, and making eye contact with your audience, you can keep from making a mess of your next cloud video conference.

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