Online etiquette: How to become the queen of Skype calls and video conferencing
In 2016, remote work does not surprise anyone - According to research, 25 million workers in the US work from home at least once a month. Russian companies are not lagging behind - for example, VimpelCom declared its intention to transfer up to 70% of its employees to remote work. And although instant messengers like Slack assume almost all working communication, video calls remain an important tool for brainstorms, interviews, and planners. We interviewed several dozen people about their video call experiences and figured out how to conduct meetings best of all.
Video call = meeting
Remote work is perceived as seriously as being in the office 40 hours a week, and video calls should be approached as responsibly. Moreover, people who regularly work outside the office note that the ability to distinguish between their working and home life — for example, changing into business clothes and sitting at the table instead of working in pajamas and off the couch — is a necessary condition for efficiency. Accordingly, the same rules of etiquette apply to meetings on Skype as to conversations in conditioned conversations.
Some of these rules will seem obvious, but, unfortunately, they are not always implemented. First, try not to be late - there is nothing worse than having to wait for someone to chat on Skype, and if there are more than two of you, then it may take no less time to organize a meeting than the actual conversation. Do not forget to say hello and, if necessary, introduce yourself. Remember that during a video call, it is more difficult to understand whether the other person has completed the thought, even with perfect sound and video - and try to articulate the end of the replica clearly.
When choosing a place to call, make sure that the noise level does not interfere with the conversation - and although the sounds in the cafe really help to focus (many noise-generating applications mimic this effect), your interlocutors will most likely be annoyed: "Worst of all - calls from a noisy cafe with bad internet. You can't make out anything, the connection is also interrupted, ”Alexander, a project director of a technology startup, says, observes. For the same reason, it is better to avoid calls on the street or in parks.
If you stay at home, ask your neighbors not to make noise and not to appear in the frame - your colleagues are unlikely to appreciate your image of a young video blogger who your mother calls for lunch during the recording of the next hit. Of course, there is no need to arrange cleaning for the call, but it is worth choosing a clean background that will not distract people on the other side of the screen - working television, mountains of clothes or a boiling lunch are unlikely to help focus. The same applies to harsh sounds - animals and small children are especially dangerous here, but anything can happen: "It was inconvenient when you had to quickly turn off the clock with a fight during a call," says Nikolay, the news editor in the online edition .
Carefully consider the choice of platform. Despite the fact that the dislike of Skype is becoming a common place, it is still the most popular tool for video calls - it is used by 94% of respondents (albeit in conjunction with other tools). Other popular options are Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and Slack, but they are not always suitable; for example, the video call feature in Slack is still not available for some teams, and Facebook does not support multi-party video calls - only audio. In any case, it is better to separately discuss the choice of platform and find an option that will suit everyone.
Close applications that use your Internet connection (for example, file uploads) in order to improve the quality of the connection. If the platform is unfamiliar to you, it is better to spend five minutes before the meeting to figure out how to check the sound and where the "mute" button is located. The latter is especially important if there are several people participating in the conversation - press the "mute" button every time you finish speaking to reduce the number of extraneous sounds.
The best way to avoid embarrassing situations is not to say what the other person should not hear, either during the call or immediately after. But if for some reason this is not possible, make sure you click "mute" or the call is really over. "The interlocutor had two microphones - one built into the camera, the other in the headset. Instead of pressing the" mute "button, he covered the microphone with his hand - but not the one that needed, and I heard everything that was said behind the scenes. It was awkward "- recalls one of the survey participants.
Unfortunately, the built-in video camera in most laptops can make a monster out of any person, regardless of the quality of sleep and the amount of stress. In order to at least somehow minimize this effect, be attentive to lighting - any person who has at least once taken a selfie intuitively keeps closer to natural light sources. Avoid overhead lighting - ideally you need two sources of light located behind the screen on either side of you, and one right behind you.
Even if the camera shows only your face and shoulders, do not be lazy to change your home shorts to something more formal - there is always a chance that you will have to turn off the clock with a fight (or open the door, or pour yourself water) during a call. Be careful with prints and large ornaments - they can be strangely displayed on the screen and distract interlocutors.
If after preparing the questions, presentations or summaries you have enough time for makeup, even five minutes can help the situation. “Align the tone — why people around you need to know about your sleepless nights,” says makeup artist Svetlana Shayda. it’s easy to make it appear that you are healthy and enthusiastic.The interviewer will definitely pay attention to the lips - for the interview it is better to put off the red shades and choose everyday lipstick to match the tone or a little brighter than the lips. Choose not too cold shades - they can azatsya bluish. "
We want to remind you that all the above tips are only recommendations. Digital etiquette is changing very quickly: the signature "Sincerely" has long ceded to the signature "Sent from iPhone", and the dot at the end of the sentence will cause your interlocutors to worry much. Someday meetings will take place in virtual reality (or we will talk with robots), and that will be important - no one knows. Therefore, you have to rely on your sense of beauty and with understanding to treat the interlocutor, even if he looks like a figure from the LEGO and speaks in an indistinguishable voice.
Most of the people we interviewed are neutral about the situation on the other side of the screen, so we recommend taking all precautions for situations that require formality - say, an interview or an interview. And to a team that has been working with you for several years, your professionalism is much more important than the background.
Photo: Juris Sturainis - stock.adobe.com, Vladislav Ociacia -stock.adobe.com, karandaev - stock.adobe.com, alexey_boldin -stock.adobe.com