Eleven Tips For Good Conference Calling Etiquette

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[Business]
 
Have you been thinking about using video conference calling for your business? You may have heard about how it can reduce your travel costs, reduce your impact on the environment, and make your company more productive. However, have you thought about the dos and don'ts of online conferencing etiquette? What's ok to do and what's considered a faux pas?
 
With any new technology, there will always be new rules in how to act and work with it, but don't worry. This guide will steer you through the finer points of conferencing etiquette, and have you running meetings online like a pro in no time.
 
Pay attention to what you're wearing: The University of California recommends that you pay attention to your clothing before you start. Dress smartly, even if you're working from home, as you want to treat this just the same as a traditional face to face meeting. Also, try to wear muted or pastel colours, rather than bright colours or patterns. The latter can cause a 'strobing' effect on camera, so try to avoid them.
 
Try not to wear loud jewelry: In a related matter, make sure you're not wearing any jewelry that can clank off a desk or rattle when you move, as the noise will come over the microphone clearly and become a distraction. Take the time to remove anything that could do so before you start the call.
 
Check the surrounding area before you start: VOIP Supply suggests that you be ready for guests. Remember, the other attendees see not only you, but your surrounding area too. Take a moment to clear up any errant coffee cups or loose pieces of paper before you start, so you present a clean work space when you start conferencing. 
 
Check that your equipment is up and working: About 30 to 45 minutes before the call, make sure that all your equipment, including your camera and microphone, are up and running. This avoids having to awkwardly fiddle with them to get them working when your call is already underway.
 
Make sure any media you're using is ready to go: On a similar note, if you're issuing a presentation or giving out files, make sure they're ready on your hard drive and running ok on your chosen conferencing software. Again, this will avoid any awkward situations when the call's underway.
 
Introduce everybody on the call: When the call begins, make sure to ask everybody to introduce themselves. This lets everybody get to know each other, and also is an efficient way of checking everybody's audio levels. 
 
Speak normally: Advanced Etiquette recommends that when you're speaking, make sure that you're speaking in a normal voice. Don't give in to the temptation to shout over the microphone, as you'll find that most microphones are calibrated to pick up your voice without much intervention. Any extra noise will only serve as a distraction.
 
Pay full attention to the call: While you're sat at your computer, it can be tempting to quickly check your emails or reply to texts while you're listening to somebody else speak. However, resist that temptation, as over video it's obvious that you're not looking at the screen, and everyone can hear you tapping at your keyboard when you should be paying attention. It can be considered rather rude, so give your full attention to the call and get back to your emails when it's over.
 
Keep your home life out of your calls: If you're calling from your home office, make sure to keep your home life out of your work. Refrain from mentioning anything about your home life on the call, and ask anyone in your home to stay out of your office and not interrupt your call unless it's an emergency. 
 
Don't interrupt when others are speaking: In a traditional face to face meeting, it's often ok to interject when others are talking with new ideas or points of view. However, over a video call, interrupting can severely disrupt the flow of the meeting. Wait until the other person has made their point, and then jump in with your ideas.
 
Look directly at the camera: When speaking, look directly into your camera. NUIT suggests that this way, you're essentially holding eye contact with your fellow attendees, making the meeting much more personable and friendly. It also shows you're paying full attention to the meeting.
 
With these tips, you can now hold professional and productive meetings online and enhance your business. If you want to try the technology for yourself, many companies across Singapore, such as Blue Jeans, are offering conference calling services to businesses. Try it out for yourself and see just what it can do for you and your company.
 
 

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