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Wilfrid Laurier University Information Technology Services
April 17, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Etiquette



Read through the following tips and tricks to ensure a successful video conference!

 

Be Prepared:

  • If you need to share a presentation, use a document camera, or have some other special requirement for your meeting, check in advance with ITS to ensure that the room or desktop system you are using can support such requests.  
  • Practice using the equipment before the conference.
  • Know who to call in case technical assistance is required in the middle of a conference. Click here for the Employee Service Desk. 
  • Help participants to come prepared – Issue presentation slides, graphic aids, and meeting agendas in advance to make it easier for off-campus participants to follow along. Website links should also be shared in advance so that people in remote sites can bookmark and access them easily during the meeting.
  • Dress appropriately – Remember that this is a meeting just like any other. Also, beware of bold or busy patterns on your clothing like stripes or small checks. Not only are these visually distracting, they can affect the camera’s ability to focus and thus lower picture quality. Best clothing choices are neutrals or pastels. Likewise, avoid loud or distracting jewellery.

Using the Camera (Set-up and During the Meeting):

  • Positioning – Sit away from the camera so that your face does not fill up the entire screen. Ensure that the image frames your face, neck, and shoulders. If there is a group in a meeting room, make sure everyone is visible. If using your laptop, try propping it up on books to ensure you are not looking down at the screen.
  • Beware of your surroundings – You will not present a professional image if your background is cluttered and messy.
  • Lighting – Do not sit in front of a window. It will darken your face and make it hard to see. Try to sit in front of a wall that is darker than you are. Close window blinds, as artificial light is more effective than natural light.
  • Remember that even when you are not speaking, people may still be watching you.
  • Body Language – Keep body movements to a minimum such as swaying, rocking, or pacing. Beware of your posture, sit upright at a table or desk. Try not to talk with your hands.
  • Consider the camera as another participant and maintain eye contact with it while you are speaking. When you are not speaking, look at the video screen.


Using the Microphone (Set-up and During the Meeting):

  • Positioning – For groups, place the microphone at the front of the table to ensure that all speech will be detected. The best position is at least six and a half feet in front of the system if possible, on a flat surface with at least one foot of table in front.
  • Reduce Environmental Noise – Turn off fans, close windows and doors, mute cell phones, and lower phone volume or alert sounds on your computer. Microphones tend to intensify these sounds.
  • Speaking – Most microphones are very sensitive so you do not need to speak loudly to be heard. Speak strongly and clearly but use your normal voice.  If someone can’t hear you, adjust your microphone not your tone of voice.
  • Audio Delays – There will be a brief delay ... so leave a pause of a couple seconds between speakers to assure the whole message has been received.
  • Mute – Remember to turn on the microphone before speaking and mute it when you are not speaking. People do not need to hear you shuffling papers etc.  

Starting the Meeting:   

  • Be punctual – Arrive early and plan to connect 10-15 minutes before the meeting in order to test the sound etc. before the meeting officially starts.
  • A good host will explain how to use the equipment at the beginning and introduce all participants.

Respect and Courtesy

  • It is important to give the same level of consideration to the people in front of you in the same room as to the ones off site.
  • Remain Attentive – Avoid multi-tasking. Since others are not in the same room with you it can be easy to get distracted by mobile phones, laptops, and side conversations with those around you.
  • Don’t interrupt. Pause before speaking then announce yourself if you are talking to a large group or people who will not know you.
  • Repeat questions or comments to ensure that all participants have heard them.
  • Allow time for others to respond or ask questions. Often, the individuals at the remote sites will wait to see if someone in the host location has a comment or answer to the question before they will respond.
  • Common sense - If you wouldn’t do it in a face to face meeting, do not do it in a video conferencing meeting.


Relax. Be yourself and feel comfortable!