Video Conferencing Etiquette


Whether it’s for an interview, sales call, business meeting or casual video chat, practicing good video conferencing etiquette plays a critical role in coming across professionally. In today’s digital age, it’s important to look your best, sound your best, and know the rules of how to participate in a virtual meeting.

How important is video conferencing etiquette? It’s more important than you may think. It's no surprise that a recent study, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Polycom, found that the use of video conferencing is growing.  When the COVID-19 public health emergency hit, it accelerated growth and resulted in a significant increase in daily participants using video conferencing. Gartner now predicts that only 25% of business meetings will take place in-person by 2024.

This increase—coupled with a skyrocketing rise in people who are now working from home—makes appearing polished on live video a professional requirement. With that in mind, here are the 10 do’s and don'ts to make sure you look and sound like an expert during your next video conference:

Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips

1.    Ensure proper lighting
2.    Choose the right background
3.    Maintain eye contact
4.    Ensure high quality audio
5.    Dress appropriately
6.    Follow the ground rules for participant interaction
7.    Choose an easy to use video conferencing platform
8.    Don’t forget to mute yourself if you are not speaking
9.    Don't be late or appear unprepared
10.    Don't wait until the last minute to test your technology

The Do’s of Video Conferencing Etiquette

1. Ensure Proper Lighting

Having adequate light is just as important for video calls as it is for professional broadcasters and photo shoots. For instance, overhead lighting creates shadows under your eyes, so avoid sitting beneath it, if possible. For enhanced lighting, use natural or soft light sources. Putting two or more light sources into play can really make a difference.

2. Choose the Right Background

The people you’re interacting with will see whatever is behind you. Make sure your background is uncluttered and professional. Less is more. Remove unnecessary objects on your desk or wall that may detract from the video call. You may also want to invest in revamping the color or images on the wall, so participants aren’t distracted or reminded you’re working from home. For a simple fix, consider blurring or adding a virtual background.

3. Maintain Eye Contact

Look directly into the camera or at the face of the person you’re interacting with. Resist looking at yourself in the small frame at the corner of your video conference screen and avoid distractions elsewhere in the room. As a reminder to maintain eye contact, it may help to put something above your webcam – like a sticker or colored note, for example.

4. Ensure High Audio Quality

Poor audio quality can quickly reduce the effectiveness of a video call, often leading to miscommunication. First, make sure you have a reliable Wi-Fi connection to eliminate shaky audio. Next, find a private space where you won’t be interrupted. Avoid background noise such as dogs barking, children playing, and eliminate any TV or music in proximity. When speaking, be articulate, and make sure to speak clearly and slowly. 

BlueJeans’ Dolby Voice technology offers the best in class sound quality and noise cancellation. Our spatial audio makes it feel like attendees are speaking from different parts of the same room, making it easier to follow conversations - even when voices overlap. Everyone can be heard, regardless of how softly they speak or what device they are using. Once you experience it, you won’t settle for anything less.
5. Dress Appropriately

Even if only your face and shoulders are in the frame, you should dress professionally from head to toe. Avoid patterns, stripes and plaids. Don’t wear a hat. Put flattering, solid colors near your face and make sure to check your teeth, hair and makeup. Avoid jewelry that may be distracting or make disruptive sounds every time you move.

6. Follow the Ground Rules for Participant Interaction

If you're hosting a video conferencing event, you want to encourage your attendees to feel like they can participate. Naturally, different event and audience types call for different methods of engagement. BlueJeans video conferencing software includes a variety of interactive features to keep your audience engaged, including private and group chats, Q&A, reactions, and the ability for participants to speak on camera. Start your meeting by reviewing the rules - and make sure to follow them if you’re a participant - to keep everything running smoothly.

7. Choose an Easy to Use Video Conferencing Platform

Although ‘video conferencing’ generally describes virtual meetings between two or more parties, there are many variations. If you’re hosting a video conference, the platform you choose should be easy to use and well-suited to your audience’s intuition. Whether it's desktop, browser-based, mobile, or a meeting room, having the right video conferencing solution in place will increase participation, eliminate user frustration, and improve the overall attendee experience.

The Don’ts of Video Conferencing Etiquette

8. Don’t forget to mute yourself if you are not speaking

Nothing is worse than background noise during a conference call, and leaving your microphone unmuted will stream any noise from your end of the computer. This video conferencing etiquette tip is especially vital if you have children or other family members at home with you or are participating from a public place with a lot of background disruptions. Keyboard typing, chewing noises, side-chat, and traffic sounds can easily distract and annoy other participants. Plus, you’ll avoid any awkward or embarrassing moments of others hearing something they’re not supposed to. Make sure your microphone is always on mute, only opening it when it is your turn to speak.

9. Don't be late or appear unprepared

This should go without saying, but a key aspect of good video conference etiquette is showing up on time and fully prepared. Being punctual for a video call shows that you respect the other people attending the meeting and that you don’t want to waste their time. If possible, give yourself a few extra minutes before the call to prepare your physical space, familiarize yourself with the agenda, gather your materials, and log in.

10. Don't wait until the last minute to test your technology

Nothing kills the momentum of a video conference faster than technical malfunctions. Before a virtual meeting, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to discover and solve connectivity issues and the opportunity to test out the major features of your meeting software. Most secure video conferencing platforms will help you test your camera, speakers, and microphone prior to the start of the meeting. You’ll also want to make sure your internet speed is fast enough. If you’re using Wi-FI, make sure you have a reliable connection so your video conferencing service can operate at full strength and prevent jittery audio and video.

When it comes to video conferencing etiquette, first impressions do count. Following these 10 easy tips from BlueJeans will help you cultivate a more polished, professional looking video presence.

New to video conferencing? Check out our comprehensive Video Conferencing Guide then sign up for your free video conferencing trial today!