I know we are getting a little tired of online meetings but let’s be brutally honest here, they are not going away anytime soon. We need to be socially connected, we need to have real conversations where we can hear the tone in someone’s voice and see their facial expressions. These non-verbal elements of conversation are missed when we communicate in text or by email. When we can’t hear tone or see expressions the likelihood of misunderstanding is much higher.
Sometimes the best we can do is to have online meetings and online social gatherings. We are at risk of even further isolation if we let these slightly artificial methods of connection disappear. That being said, I feel it’s time for a little reminder of the etiquette here. I’m going to stick to business here.
- When you are meeting someone online through a video chat for business show up as if you are in person. Be on time, be prepared and engage. In a group discussion, participate as you would if you were sitting in a room together. If you are leading the meeting ensure there is time for participants to check in and have a social chat for a few minutes just as you would if you were meeting in person.
- Be aware of background noise and your video. Mute your mic when you are not in a group chat. I know that sometimes it is hard to see yourself on camera, changing your screen to speaker view or dragging the small screen to just below your camera on your computer will help keep you looking towards the camera lens and helps show your partner that you are interested. Turning your video off creates an odd vibe in the meeting as if someone is secretly watching the group from the corner of the room with a blanket over their head. It just feels awkward. If you must turn your video off because of internet issues, be sure to comment or participate in the chat. This helps to bring you into the group. Even a thumbs up or quick reaction in the chat demonstrates what your facial expressions would be communicating.
- Your face matters. Your meeting partners can tell if you are reading emails and typing while you are talking. It feels dismissive when your partner can see you looking at the screen but your eyes are scrolling or reading. It is very obvious and it tells your partner you are not really listening. If you want to take notes, let your partner know this is what you are doing.
With developments in technology and changes in the way we interact, we need to stay conscious and connected.