Video Call Etiquette

There’s no avoiding it, video calls are now a big part of our working lives (and social lives). Presentations, online training, meetings, catch ups, coffee breaks, yoga classes and the dreaded post work Zoom-Quiz!

For some, it’s been liberating – not having to travel further than a few steps to that afternoon meeting, but for others it can be a painful experience only getting to see people through the eye of a laptop camera. But, if we all adhere to a bit of thoughtful etiquette we can make the process so much smoother and as enjoyable as possible.

We have recently been helping the sexual health charity Brook create some exciting, colourful, interactive presentations for their online training. In doing so, we’ve created a fun introduction video to remind people how best to behave on these video calls to make sure that everyone involved can have an uninterrupted, engaging experience.

Take a look at the animation below and check out our list of ‘dos and dont’s’ to make the whole experience a whole lot better for everyone!

Dos and Don’ts

  1. Keep yourself on mute unless instructed otherwise or you’re having a conversation. This will prevent background noise that takes the attention away from the speaker. Also, use the mute button when others are talking. It’s human nature to chip in and make supportive (or not so supportive) noises, but that can interrupt the flow of the speaker.
  1. Keep your video on – if others have theirs on, it makes everyone feel part of the group, and that you are all on equal ground. 
  1. Use the instant messaging feature to ask questions during presentations. This means you’re not interrupting and the group can return to the comment at an appropriate time. 
  1. If you’re using headphones, or a headset – make sure the microphone works before going on the call!
  1. If you’re popping to the loo or taking a call during a presentation, just put a note in the chat bar – no need to interrupt someone to say you’re stepping away. But make sure to put yourself on mute, and perhaps even turn your video off.  Definitely don’t take your laptop with you!
  1. Don’t record a session unless it has been permitted by all members attending. 
  1. Treat everyone with kindness and respect. Try not to talk over people – this can be hard when you can’t necessary see social cues. Raise your hand (physically or literally hit the button!) if you feel like you’re struggling to be heard.
  1. Prepare! You will be relying on technology for the whole experience, so a little preparation can go a long way. 
  1. Turn off your social media noises – hearing your WhatsApp “pings” from another tab is extremely off putting, annoying and suggests you aren’t giving the call your full attention.
  1. Check that your background is appropriate for a work situation! As important as it is to prep the meeting room before a client comes in, it’s important to make sure your background and set up is ready for a video call.
  1. And last but not least, don’t role your eyes if a small child appears – it’s not their fault that they don’t understand that the living room is now “Mummy/Daddy’s Office”. If anything, it can add a bit of a fun to an otherwise dry meeting.

Bear these dos and don’ts in mind, and happy zooming (other video conferencing products are available!).

Lucinda Mabbitt

Author Lucinda Mabbitt

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