Continuing our work-from-home series, professionals are leveraging technology to stay connected with their teams. But, some of us are forgetting our video phone call manners.
Whether you're hopping onto a Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack, or Skype video call, now is the time to work those verbal communications muscles (even if you can't go to the gym). We're answering some of your frequently asked questions on video chatting etiquette. Wear pants, put that sandwich down, and let’s get into it.
I'm not leading the meeting, so do I still need to have a formal greeting?
Before you get down to brass tacks, ease your way into the conversation. Starting off the call with a simple “Hello everyone” or “Good morning” sets a positive impression and tone for the rest of the video call.
Where should I be looking? The camera or screen?
It's a bit awkward at first, but look at the camera instead of the screen when talking. It's like mimicking eye-to-eye contact. It can be tempting to look at the screen (and let's be honest, yourself too), but it will show your team that you're engaged and focused on the conversation.
Is it appropriate to have a virtual Zoom background?
That depends. Assess the feel of the meeting and your team members. Typically, the ideal setup would be the camera facing you at eye level and a simple background. But hypothetically, if your team is hosting a virtual spirit week and it's crazy Zoom background day, then go for it.
Should I have my microphone on mute? Is that considered rude?
The rule of thumb is if you're not speaking, then put yourself on mute. You may have unexpected background noises pop up and that can be distracting for the speaker. Trust us, that microphone can pick up everything. You can mute yourself just as long as you're listening and practicing nonverbal cues like eye contact and appropriate facial expressions.
I'm getting another phone call, what do I do?
Hit them with the decline and then a "Sorry, I can't talk right now" message. If you’re talking to another team member, be polite and give them your undivided attention. Unless there is an emergency, communicate to the other caller your situation and reschedule for another time.
Do I need to ask permission to screenshot?
We can't emphasize this enough: Yes, ALWAYS ask for permission to screenshot. It's like taking someone's picture. Even though there's no general rule in screenshotting, it's courteous to ask. Many professionals may not be comfortable with their picture being taken, so always ask before hitting command+shift+3.
You can only see the top half of me, do I need to wear pants?
Yes, 100% wear pants, please. Part of video chatting etiquette means looking presentable. Fix your hair, brush your teeth, wear comfortable and fitting clothes. Even if that part of you can't be seen, if something happens and you need to stand up, it's game over.
If I'm not talking or leading the meeting, can I eat then?
Sipping on coffee while during a meeting is acceptable, but don’t have a whole five course meal. Eating on a call may look unappealing as your team watches you scarf down a sandwich. Even if you aren't speaking, remember to stay attentive and focused...and then devour that sandwich after the meeting.
Should I say goodbye at the end?
Just like greeting the call, don’t leave the conversation without saying goodbye. If the meeting is held with multiple people, then nonverbal cues like waving goodbye is the best send off. But, if you're wrapping up the call with a couple of people, saying “Have a great night” or “Talk soon" is a respectful way to end the conversation.
Have any WFH thoughts, suggestions, or stories to share with us? Tweet us at @MatterApp or reach out via email at dixie[at]matterapp.com. We can’t wait to hear from the people that matter the most – you!
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