The year 2020 has unofficially been labeled as the “work from home” year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, making video calls is not just an option, but a necessity for every working professional. Video conferencing has proved to be an essential part of the modern business world by improving the connectedness of remote team members. According to a survey, around 80% of managers and leaders think that video conferencing is replacing audio conferencing as the go-to-form of internal communication in an organization, while 84% say it is over performing audio conferencing to communicate with external stakeholders.

Learn the art and the etiquette of making successful video conferences with these incredibly helpful tips for your next meeting.

1. Mute yourself when you are not speaking

During a video call, people generally think, just because they are not speaking, they are being quiet. However, it is important to note that most microphones can pick up minor background sounds and disturbances like the noise of typing, sneezing, or coughing. These unwanted sounds can easily distract other video call participants, sabotaging the entire tone of the meeting.

Therefore, it is always important to mute yourself whenever there is no talking on your part. For most video conferencing software and applications, it is as simple as a click of a button which can save you the embarrassment of disturbing an important meeting with your coworkers and bosses.

2. Be prepared and on-time

It is the standard protocol and basic courtesy of every video call, meeting, and discussion. Always make a meeting agenda in advance, send it to your attendees, and adhere to it. . There is nothing worse than sitting around on an empty conference line, listening to hold music, and waiting for the host to show up. If you’re presenting an online meeting, start promptly out of respect for attendees’ time. When latecomers join, don’t repeat what you’ve already discussed. You can catch them up later- after the call rather than wasting the time of everyone who arrived on schedule.

Apart from this, make sure that your technology works correctly. You wouldn't want to delay an important meeting with a client because your video conferencing system isn't working. Always perform a few test runs with your colleagues before trying to land the next big investor.

3. Frame the camera correctly

Let’s be real. We all have attended video conferences where we ended up looking at the sides of people’s faces or up their nostrils. Therefore, always position your camera in a way that feels natural and allows you to look at the lens. Sit straight at eye level to the lens, and position yourself in such a way that it shows midsection up.

Along with this, make sure that there is enough light in the room so that the video is not grainy or unwatchable. Unless your office bulbs are daylight white, try not to mix the natural light and office lights.

Also, avoid or minimize distractions. It’s tempting to think that just because you are not in the same room with your fellow attendees, they will not be able to notice you scrolling through your phone or composing an email on another screen. Turn off or put your phone on silent, if you aren’t using it to call in. If you’re connecting on your computer, close down all other windows to eliminate notifications. Avoid rustling papers, eating foods that might make noise, or other distracting noises in the background. And at last, be careful not to interrupt others when they’re speaking.

4. Record the meeting for the absent colleagues

Stuck in quarantine, we all are trying to balance our job responsibilities and household chores with the best efficiency possible. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for everyone to show up for last-minute video call meetings.

Therefore, it is polite to record the video call so that the late or absent team members can watch it later as per their convenience and catch up on the recent updates.

5. Plan an effective wrap-up

Just logging off and moving on with your day is not an effective way to end a video conference. Instead, end it with a quick recap, highlighting the key points and decisions that were discussed during the meeting.

Besides, let the attendees know about what they can expect in the next meeting. This should be followed by a short Q/A section where the queries of the team members can be answered. At last, thank everyone for their time. A successful video call involves active participation from all the members. Express your appreciation for their efforts by thanking them before you close down the line.

Video conferencing and online meetings are an efficient way to communicate by bringing people together. But without the necessary preparation, you can risk wasting everyone’s valuable time without achieving anything worthwhile. While many of these strategies may seem like common sense, it is easy to forget about them once you are on a video call. Follow these five video call etiquette tips during your next virtual conference and elevate your online meeting experience.