WORKPLACE / DEC. 09, 2014
version 2, draft 2

7 Ways to Properly Participate in Video Conferences

Video conferencing has become the newest form of communicating, whether it’s with someone at the office, a loved one living across the ocean or a hiring manager looking to fill a supervisory position. This development has permitted collaboration and cooperation with anyone anywhere at any time. 

In the last several years, there has been a wave of video conferencing platforms initiated, including Google Hangouts, Skype and much more. At the same time, those who refrain from taking part in these mediums - not having a webcam or not having a Skype account - can often hurt their brand and employment status. 

Although this has served as a tremendous benefit for workplace efficiency and new employment opportunities, some people take advantage of the service and take it for granted. From sitting in their pajamas to being tardy, there are numerous individuals out there not participating in video conferences with respect and proper manners. 

Participating in a video conference doesn’t just consist of someone sitting at a desk looking into a webcam. There is an array of techniques that the person in question must employ in order to be viewed favorably by an employer, colleague or perhaps even friends. 

Here are seven ways to properly partake in video conferences: 

#1 Attire 

Just because you’re sitting in the comfort of your home and participating in an interview, it doesn’t mean that you should sit in your house clothes. Instead, wear professional attire as you would if you went physically into an office and had a job interview or a discussion with an industry professional. 

#2 Neutral Background 

Since the interviewer can take a peek inside your home, your background should be something neutral. Rather than having a poster of Playboy models or the television behind the desk chair, the background should be a plain wall, a bookshelf or perhaps even in the kitchen area (with nothing on, of course). 

#3 Environment 

If you happen to live with roommates or your children are home at the time of the interview, it’s very important to explain to everyone that you will need peace and quiet for an extended period of time. A loud environment can make the interview disorganized and hurt your image. Perhaps you could relocate the computer into another room that is quiet. 

#4 Prompt 

The interview is booked for 9:30 a.m. Great! This shouldn’t mean you’re going to be sitting at your desk at exactly 9:30 a.m. Instead - again, akin to what you would do if you had an in-office meeting - arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early and start preparing (notes, topics of conversation, image, etc.). 

#5 Audio & Screaming 

Prior to the interview, perform an audio check and determine if the microphone is working correctly. Furthermore, do not scream into the microphone during an interview. If you’re unsure if the tone of your voice is audible enough, then politely ask the interviewer if they can hear you correctly. It’s that simple. 

#6 Look into the camera 

This has been the point of contention for a lot of human resource professionals: should the interviewer look at the monitor or should they look directly into the web camera? The happy medium is to do a bit of both similar to how you would converse with the hiring manager: 90 percent eye contact and 10 percent looking away from the interviewer. 

7# Gesticulations 

We all gesticulate at one time or another, especially if we’re immensely nervous. However, this should be kept to a minimum during a video conference because it can be mighty distracting since there is a slight lag in Internet connections. It’s best to keep your hands folded on the desk or kept apart next to the keyboard. 

Video conferences are convenient for job interviews and professional discussions. It has aided the work from home movement, while also enhancing global partnerships. To have a successful video conference one must be themselves, but also adhere to proper etiquette when speaking on Skype. 

Photo by David Burillo via Flickr.

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