Most trends come and go, but some trends change the Internet forever. For instance, the introduction of front-facing cameras created the selfie, the Harlem shake introduced participation in Internet challenges, Netflix releasing the first season of House of Cards marked the beginning of binge-watching, and the Vine app led to the emergence of the influencer industry and short-clip videos — to name a few. With everyone figuring out how to start implementing video conferencing in their client experiences, it’s essential to know how to do it effectively.
3 Rules of Etiquette for Professional Video Chats
Video chats are unique in that they can provide the convenience of a phone call and simulate the feeling of a face-to-face meeting. When video chat hasn’t been a normal way for you to do business, it’s important to know how to conduct these meetings properly.
1. Prepare Participants
Before you begin a video chat with a participant, it’s important that they’re prepared for the call. If you’re enabling an instant video chat feature, put them at ease by explaining what they can expect during the call and who they will be talking to. And you should always allow the option to schedule a video chat at their convenience.
2. Keep Privacy a Priority
Always use video chat in a private space to avoid interruptions and to eliminate the impression that someone else is watching. Also, if you’re recording the video the participant should always know they are being recorded — and why — and agree to it. This transparency will put them more at ease and receptive to being recorded.
3. Pay Attention
Let your participants know they are being heard. Any slight appearance that you’re not paying attention can feel disrespectful. Eye contact is a big part of this, so always look between your screen and the camera. If you have to look away to write down notes or read something off your wall, make sure that it’s clear what you are doing to the participants.
While those are the main dos, you should also think about the don’ts. The etiquette of things not to do while video conferencing includes:
- Don’t eat food
- Don’t scroll through your phone
- Don’t video chat from your bed
- Don’t video chat without your webcam or microphone turned on
- Don’t make faces — remember you’re on camera
4 Ways To Improve the Quality of Your Video Conferencing
You want to look your best for your clients and patients, but before you give up on your device’s camera to invest in an expensive external webcam, you can enhance your video feed in a few ways. While these tips speak to the quality of your video, none of them will fix your internet connectivity issues. So, if that’s been a problem for you, talk to your internet provider. To improve video quality, you should focus on:
If the sun is out, position yourself facing a window for natural light. If daylight isn’t available, use a lamp to brighten your face. If you’re well-lit and the image still looks hazy, your camera lens might be dirty. Use a microfiber cloth to give it a good cleaning.
Use earphones or headphones that have a mic for the best quality sound. Turn yourself on mute whenever you’re not talking to avoid unintentional interruptions — such as the inevitable background noise of someone mowing their lawn or your typing. If something seems wrong with your computer audio, most video services have a telephone option. Mute the computer, and dial the call-in number provided by the video platform.
Frame yourself appropriately by positioning your eyes roughly a third from the top of the frame, and if possible, position your camera at eye level. When using your laptop or desktop, ensure your screen is at eye level using a stand or books if necessary. When using a phone, holding it in your hand will lead to shaking. Instead, use a tripod; if you don’t have one, prop your phone on something stable. The best position for any web camera is above the screen you’re looking at for the call. If your camera is placed anywhere else, the viewer will feel like you’re not paying attention to them.
Be mindful of what’s in the camera’s field of view. Bright windows — especially directly behind you — might affect the video’s quality. Moving objects, animals, or people can cause distractions. The best background should look like you’re in your office because it implies to the viewer that you’re in a private space and you’re adequately prepared for the call.