Now that it has been a few months since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us to change our daily routines, it’s time for a refresher course in video conferencing etiquette. If sweatpants have become your new office attire, and your daily commute has moved to a stroll from the bedroom to the kitchen to the sofa, you don’t want to let your guard down. Even though we may have become accustomed to working from home that doesn’t give us a pass from looking presentable for the onslaught of web meetings we still must attend on a weekly and often daily basis. A hosted cloud phone service can make this process much easier, and give proceedings a professional finish. These digital tools help us to maintain communication in times of social distancing. In fact, they can provide such a seamless experience that it would be easy to forget exactly where you are. There have been plenty of memes and viral content from workers who forgot the camera was rolling – using bad language, talking about co-workers, even showing up for a virtual meeting having forgotten their clothes! It’s a topic where we can look to business leaders for a few tips. Having had to quickly learn how to exude gravitas on a business call, there’s a thing or two the rest of us can learn from them. They’ve mastered the art of leading a business from the bedroom, rather than the boardroom. No matter how comfortable you get, try not to forget that you are still a professional, and be sure to avoid these embarrassing mistakes that no leader would ever commit…
Thinking It’s A Duvet Day
The settings may have changed to ‘business casual’ but that doesn’t mean you have a hall pass not to get dressed properly. Many workers are pushing the limits of ‘Dress Down Friday’ into uncharted territory – and you don’t want to be one of them. If it’s gotten to the stage where you’ve categorized your pajamas into ‘workwear’ and ‘downtime’ then things have definitely gone too far! And as for those ‘Top-Down Tim’s’, who have (so they thought) cleverly combined a starched shirt on the top half with pool shorts underneath – ready to hop off that budget meeting and into the backyard at the first opportunity – all seems to be going well. That is, until they stand up mid-meeting and everyone can see what lies under the desk! As a general rule of thumb, you should dress in a slightly more relaxed version of outfits you’d be happy to be seen in around the office. Dressing well is a form of respect, so don’t get carried away and show up for a business chat in your robe and slippers.
Forgetting To Put A Lid On It
We get it, getting used to dealing with delays on the line, and trying to read tone and expression over a screen is quite an art. But always remember that a little bit of silence is your friend. No one likes the one person on a video conference who talks over all the other participants. One great tip is to make some notes while the call progresses, and sum them up into a viewpoint or an observation before speaking out – that way you’ll sound collected and concise. Just don’t accidentally read out your online grocery order instead.
Not Making Friends With The Mute Button
Repeat after us: the mute button is your new best friend. Make it standard practice to immediately mute yourself right after saying hello on a business call. There are way too many opportunities for a productive discussion to get derailed by your dog barking, your two years old treating everyone to a rendition of their favorite nursery rhyme at top volume or the doorbell ringing when that ‘essential’ delivery of kitchen gadgets arrives from Amazon. These interruptions can really get everyone off track and unfocused – research indicates that it can take us about 23 minutes to fully get mentally back in the game after an unexpected disturbance. So mute your sound unless you’re actively talking to keep the meeting running smoothly.
Not Paying Attention To Their Backdrop
Who knew to host a business chat on video conference had so much in common with producing a Hollywood movie? Borrow a few tips from Tinseltown and put some effort into staging your set up. The whole meeting does not need to see your piles of dirty laundry waiting to be washed, a sink full of half-finished coffee mugs or the lego towers your pre-schooler has been building. It’s a far better plan to find a quiet corner or plain stretch of wall where you can deliver your points without distracting everybody on the call. That way you keep the focus on what’s really important – what you have to say.
Calling Way Too Many Meetings
Understanding when to hold back is as important as knowing when a meeting is really needed. So although you may be talking to the houseplants a little too often, it doesn’t mean that you need to organize yet another call. Aim to keep your business chats concise and to the point. Always write an agenda, and think carefully about who to invite. Sure, she loves to gossip but Sandra from Accounts doesn’t need to be on every call. Too many participants can make it much harder to have a proper discussion – so be selective with the invites!
Still need help giving your communications a touch more professionalism? Carolina Digital Phone can support you with the tools you need. Experts in helping schools, private businesses, and government agencies with digital communications tools, we can get you moved to a secure, cloud-based solution to give your business calls, chats, and video sessions the boost they need. For more information, click the link at the bottom left of your screen or call us at (336) 544-4000.