Media Rules: Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is a way of using the Internet to communicate with other people. Video conferencing allows two or more people, in different locations, to have a live, face-to-face conversation. Most laptops or tablet computers have cameras and microphones that allow you to use video conferencing technology. This enables people to see and hear other people talk, even if they are on the other side of the world.

Video conferencing allows businesses to become more spread out and allows for more employee independence. Because of video conferencing technology, businesses can have employees who work miles away from the office and clients in another country. If you are expected to use video conferencing for your job, be sure to follow a few rules for video conferencing at work:

  1. Get rid of distractions
  2. Be professional
  3. Have your phone ready
  4. Talk to the person, not the computer
  5. Act as if you’re with the person

Get rid of distractions

Video conferencing is convenient because it allows you to meet with someone without having to actually travel anywhere. This means you can have a video conference from your office, your house or any other place that has a good Internet connection. This freedom to meet anywhere is convenient, but you should remember that the other person can see and hear everything in the background. Try to find a quiet place such as an office or room with a door you can close. If there’s a chance someone could interrupt your video conference, hang a sign on your door to let people know that you cannot take visitors during the conference.

Be professional

Remember, the point of a video conference is to be able to talk face-to-face with the other person without having to travel anywhere. Since the person or people on the other end will be able to see you, it’s important to look professional during a video conference for work. When you have a video conference from home, be sure to shower and dress as you would if you were going to work. Sit up straight and participate in the conversation as if you were in the same room with the people to whom you’re talking.

Have your phone ready

The one weakness of video conferencing is that you must have a good Internet connection in order for it to work. If the Internet connection fails, there is no way to get back to the video conference. Even if you think you have a strong Internet connection, it’s a good idea to keep a phone nearby. That way, if the Internet stops working, you can at least call the person or people on the other end. From there, you can either continue the conversation over the phone or schedule a new video conference for a time when you have a better Internet connection.

Talk to the person, not the computer

It’s hard to make eye contact during a video conference. That’s because the camera that is capturing the video of you is located above your screen. So when you look at the person on your screen, it seems like you’re looking down to the person on the other end. Instead of looking at the person on the screen, try to look at the camera during the video conference. This will help the other person feel like you are making eye contact and are interested in the conversation.

Act as if you’re with the person

A good rule of thumb for having a successful video conference is to act as if you’re actually in the same room with the person or people on the other end. Since you’re not really with the person, it’s easy to get comfortable and forget that the other person can see you and everything else in the room. Try pretending that you are actually meeting with the person face-to-face.

Before the video conference, clean your desk and the room that you will be using so that it is free from distractions. During the video conference sit up straight and try not to make a lot of unnecessary movements. For example, if you have a habit of playing with your pen while on the phone, try not to do this during the video conference, as it could be distracting to the other person or people in the conference.

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About the Author:

Stefan is a senior developer at The Conover Company. He has experience researching and writing online courses for assessing and teaching Social-Emotional Intelligence and Soft Skills. He and his wife currently live in Oregon.

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