Videoconferencing (and videoconference etiquette) has become increasingly inportant as companies look for ways to cut costs anywhere they can. One way of doing it effectively is cutting traveling costs for their executives whenever possible. Going to another city just to have a meeting involves:
- transportation home-airport-home
- round airplane trip
- transportation airport-hotel-airport
- hotel for one or two nights
- car rental plus gasoline
- meals and, sometimes, entertainment
- all of the above plus taxes
Whew! If you multiply those expenses times several executives times several times a month times 12 months... Well, you do the math.
More and more companies have found that one effective way to avoid those expenses and still have those important meetings is using videoconference. You meet your counterparts, see their facial expressions, their body language, feel if they are comfortable with the proposals given to them, etc.
Videoconference Etiquette here is extremely important.
Here are some points to keep in mind when having a videoconference:
1) Before scheduling a videoconference, keep in mind the different time zones and, of course, the availability of every person involved.
2) Dress as if you were meeting them in person, because you are!
3) Check the lighting in the conference room. Every participant should have good light, no shiny reflections from objects or a bright light from a window. Everybody on the other end should have no problems looking at their screen and seeing everybody and everything perfectly. If necessary, do some tests before the meeting.
4) First thing your counterparts should see is a smile from you and a cheerful greeting. This sets up the mood for a great meeting.
5) Introduce yourself and everybody in the room, names and titles.
6) Watch your body language. Just as you are observing them to get clues, they are observing you. You give more information with your body language than with your words.
7) Don’t look down during the conference (unless you absolutely have to review the materials being discussed, but be brief on that) and look directly at the camera when it is your turn to speak. Remember, they are on the other side of the camera.
8) Avoid eating while on videoconference. It is rude and not professional.
9) Watch your habits! Do not pick your nose, stretch, yawn, scratch… well, you get the point. Remember, you are on camera!
10) Don’t move too much when you speak. Your counterparts will be watching your movements instead of paying full attention to your message.
At the beginning it might be hard to get used to videoconference etiquette, but by the second session you will find it is easy and it becomes second-nature in you in no time.
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