As the majority of South Africa is currently in lockdown, the business landscape has become a very difficult space to navigate. Many businesses have simply stopped operating, whilst those that can continue have become increasingly creative and managed to adapt to the current situation.
In “lockdown” business interaction is being done through remote sources such as telephone or video conferencing etc. Thuli Nkosi, CEO of BossJansen Executive Search , mentions that we are still seeing many of our clients continue to engage with candidates around a number of essential roles which need to be filled – this is all been done via video interviews. She further mentions, that many of BossJansen’s clients have reported that with the aid of video conferencing and other communication aids, many are surprised at how productive they have actually managed to be whilst in this “lockdown”
With the dramatic incline in video meetings, Thuli suggests anyone that is currently interviewing for a new role or partaking in meetings via video conferencing, heed a few basic video conferencing etiquettes. If you aren’t completely familiar with the additional expectations placed upon you when you’re a part of a video interview, the below will give you valuable information to ensure that you don’t find yourself committing a major faux pas at the next big meeting or job interview.
Be on time.
This one should be standard with any meeting, video or otherwise. However, when you’re dialling into a video conference, it’s especially important. While you might be able to get away with sneaking into a physical meeting late, everything is more visible in a video conference.
Eye contact is extremely important during a video conference, as you want the person or team that’s conferencing in to feel engaged. When you walk in late, you’ll be making a noise and distracting anyone who is speaking in the room. This can result in confusion and stoppages. Additionally, when you’re on time for a meeting, it’ll make getting set up with technology easier and less painless so the meeting can start on time.
Ensure your technology works correctly.
You don’t want to have to delay a meeting with an important client ort potential employer because your video conferencing system isn’t working properly. You need to do a few test runs before trying to land the next big job. Find someone willing to help and make sure you understand the process fully before starting your first video conference. This will make sure everything runs smoothly during the real thing.
Wear work-appropriate clothing.
While it might be tempting to work in your favourite sweatshirt all day, consider wearing professional attire to any video conferences you’re attending. You don’t have to wear anything fancy, but choose something that would be appropriate if the meeting were face-to-face, rather than virtual. This is especially true if you are being interviewed for a potential job.
Frame the camera correctly.
We’ve all been on video calls where we end up looking up people’s nostrils or seeing the side of their face. When you’re on video, make sure you frame your camera in a way that feels natural and allows you to look at the camera. Sit at eye level to the lens and try to position yourself so that it shows mid-section up. Placing it too high leaves other participants staring down at you like a bad TV show. Putting a camera too low can lead to unflattering and awkward angles.
Have the right light.
Poor lighting conditions have an enormous effect on the video quality that you send. You’ll want to make sure that there is enough light in the room you’re in so that your video isn’t grainy and unwatchable. Try to not mix natural lighting and office lighting unless your office bulbs are daylight white. You also don’t want any faces being lit from below, as this makes you look like a cartoonish villain from a silent film. Lighting from the sides will make faces look the best, so try for that if you have the ability.
Look into the camera.
A common mistake is looking at the video feed instead of the camera when speaking to a remote participant. While it may seem like the right thing to do, it actually makes it appear as if you’re looking off and not paying attention. This will make you come across as more aloof and less professional. Looking into the camera lens is the equivalent of looking into the person’s eyes, so practice doing so until you’re comfortable with it.
Mute yourself when not speaking.
Even though you may not be speaking and think you’re being quiet, most microphones can pick up minor background noises, like coughs, sneezes or typing. These sounds can easily distract other video conferencing participants and potentially even cause annoyance.
Should you be typing during the meeting trying to get work done. While you may be able to get away with it, you might not want your boss calling you out for not paying attention. Make it a practice (out of common courtesy to your colleagues) to mute yourself whenever you’re not talking. For most video conferencing software, it’s as simple as a click of a button.