Video Conference Etiquette Tips

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: September 14, 2011

Video Conference Etiquette Tips

Video conferencing is a powerful technology that allows people to visually communicate with each other across a long distance. Many people seem to forget that it is still subject to the rules of etiquette, however, and wear inappropriate clothing or perform actions that are distracting to the other attendees.

Here are a few video conference etiquette tips:

1) Test the equipment ahead of time

You should run a quick test on the video conference equipment an hour or so before the meeting. This can help to reveal any technical issues that might disrupt the session and force everyone to reschedule.

2) Make sure there is sufficient lighting

A video conference session can be ruined if you can’t see what’s going on. Make sure to close all the windows ahead of time and set up curtains to block the sunlight. You can then use the interior lighting to illuminate the video conference.

3) Be punctual

You should always be on time (or a bit early, if possible) for a video conference session. It’s unprofessional to make your coworkers wait, and tardiness will often leave a bad impression with potential clients or partners.

4) Adopt an upright posture

You might be attending the video conference from home or a business trip, but that doesn’t mean you should slouch in your chair. Sit up straight and try to move as little as possible when other people are speaking.

5) Speak at an acceptable volume

This should probably go without saying, but don’t shout during a video conference. The microphone will respond poorly and people will likely wince from the experience. You shouldn’t whisper, either – the other attendees may turn up the volume in order to hear you, and then hurt their ears when someone speaks at normal decibel levels.

6) Don’t wear distracting outfits

One of the minor issues with video conferencing is the camera can sometimes lose focus if a person is wearing a brightly-colored outfit or one that has narrow stripes down the side. Stick to muted or dark colors – you won’t be as distracting, and it looks more professional in any case.

7) Pause before speaking

Video conferencing systems require a large amount of bandwidth in order to work properly. If a person attending the conference doesn’t have a strong enough internet connection, they may expect a short delay between a person speaking and hearing what they said. It is therefore considered good etiquette to wait a second before answering any questions.

8) Try to avoid overlapping conversations

People who talk over each other during a video conference session will sometimes cause audio feedback and echoes. You should always allow the person to finish what they are saying before making your response.

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