This year, we’ve all adopted new practices to stay healthy and stay connected. A great way to connect with one other and communicate while remaining socially distant is through video conferencing. Because so many of us are on calls and on camera these days, we’d like to offer these etiquette tips to help video calls be more effective and comfortable for everyone.

  1. Minimize background noise by wearing headphones and muting yourself when you’re not talking. 
  2. Ensure privacy. When you participate in a video meeting, you provide a “window” into your home. Think about what is behind you or what might come into view while you are on a video call. (Pro tip: many videoconferencing apps will allow you to blur your background or customize it by adding an image. If you go this route, be sure to pick an appropriate image.)
  3. Follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to turning on your camera. Face-to-face conversations on video can be an excellent substitute for in-person connections, but you don’t have to always be on camera — 80% of camera-on time will do.
  4. Limit multitasking during meetings. Don’t work on other projects, check your social feeds or answer emails during a video call. (Mute audio notifications when on a call.)
  5. Stay engaged. Nod or give a “thumbs up” when others are talking. Use the chat function, but think before you type, just like you would think before you talk.
  6. Make eye contact. When speaking, look into the camera; don’t lower your eyes to the screen. When you look into the camera lens, you make more direct eye contact with your audience. 
  7. Smile. It radiates confidence and openness.
  8. Be thoughtful of others. Turn off your camera if you’re eating or doing something that could be distracting to your colleagues.
  9. Be on time and be mindful of other people’s time. If you are the host, start and stop on time and follow an agenda to keep your meeting on track.
  10. Set next steps and accountability. At the end of the meeting, be sure everyone knows who does what by when and how you will know it will be accomplished.

These are just a handful of ways to enhance video connections. Before your next call, take a few minutes to check out blog posts and support resources for your favorite videoconferencing apps. You’ll find lots more to improve your video experience.