The Eleven Critical Tips for Successful Videoconferencing: Part 3- In the Moment

OK! You’ve got your home studio set up (NBC ain’t got nothin’ on you!), you’ve staged your background, pressed your suit. Now it’s finally time to moderate your online meeting. It’s time to pay attention to how you look, what you say, and what you do – be engaged and in the moment. Please don’t take this as a downer chapter filled with “don’ts – think of them as cautionary tales of woe, and learn from the experiences and failings of those before you. In other words, don’t do these things!

Man on conference with other devices and dogs taking his attention.
Distracted Much?

HEY! LOOK UP HERE!
Don’t be distracted, but pay attention to the meeting and the content. That means you shouldn’t be being distracted by alerts on your phone. Make arrangements so you aren’t always looking into a corner of the room to shush your dogs or check on the sleeping toddler (or fighting teens). Also, you engaging in fidgety activities can distract everyone. Things like drinking, eating, smoking, trimming your nails; all are not only distractions to the meeting but project to the other participants your level of respect for their time and the meeting subject matter.

KEEP IT QUIET:
While someone else is speaking you think you can whip off the quick instant message that just popped up in Messenger? Think again, Skippy – those keyboards make a lot more noise than you may think. If you have to make a comment to someone in the room with you or do something else that is going to make noise, hit the “mute” button for your conferencing software. You remembered to make that “cheat sheet” of shortcuts to cut your audio, your video, and screen sharing we mentioned in our earlier post, didn’t you?

EXCUSE YOURSELF IF YOU HAVE TO GET UP:
If you just can’t wait a few more minutes to you refill your coffee, or if you’ve had too many of them and need to de-fill, a quick excuse me and turn off your video feed before you get up and leave. A “live feed” that is unattended is just asking for trouble. But really, try to keep attentive and in your seat.

However, if you have a co-worker get up from their chair and leave the video live, you should screenshot their empty home office and use the image later as your virtual background. This is especially funny if you get them on a video call while they are away from home, and it looks like you’re sitting in their living room. 

CHAT ETIQUETTE:
 Every Video Conference system has the ability to type little asides to the group, the presenters, or to often to other individuals on the call. Unless you need to type something that is relevant to the meeting at the moment, resist the urge. It’s a little like passing notes in grade school.

The most important reason you don’t want to have sidechats about how scruffy the boss is looking these days of social distancing or what kind of cocktail is on the menu for dinner tonight is you want to concentrate on the meeting, its participants, and contents. The second reason is that many of these services record all of the chats along with the video-audio streams, and you can’t always be certain who can access those within the recording. 

WHEW! We’ve finished the meeting. In the next posting, we’ll recap and talk about what we’ve learned.

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