ESC’s Video Conference Best Practices

 

Trial Run

Do a trial run of any video conferencing software in advance of a meeting. Many services have cookies and downloads required to install in advance. In addition to those it will allow you to have time to verify that your camera, microphone, and speakers/headphones are all working properly with the program you are using.

 

Light

Make sure that there is a light source facing your face. A light behind you can be blinding to viewers and can make you look like a shadow person. If you have lighting options, natural or soft light is most flattering and functional for video conferences.

 

Background

Background noise, actions, motion, clutter, and anything unprofessional distracts from viewers understanding of our message. As a result, we recommend no background noise. Use headphones and a microphone if you can. Carefully select what is behind you to avoid anything that might be political, religious, unorganized, or unprofessional.

 

Conversation

Make eye contact with the camera, speak clearly, and as always wait your turn to speak. Smart video conference technology, such as Zoom, will switch the screen from person to person based on who is speaking, so if you are not asking to speak please mute yourself at your microphone and/or computer. That way you won’t distract attention visionally and auditorily away from the person speaking. The Zoom  Video Conference application for smart phones has a “touch up my appearance” setting. No, we aren’t kidding.

 

Nonverbal Communication

Keeping your hands in your lap is an easy way to avoid gestures that might lead people to look at you instead of the speaker. In addition to making eye contact with the speaker you can nod, smile, or shake your head to express your feelings with regards to remarks.

ESC recommends that if you are in an in-person or video conference meeting with more than a dozen people, you always raise your hand to speak. That way the meeting’s facilitator can recognize you when appropriate. This also helps all participants feel welcome to join and not just those most verbally expressive.

You can softly clap your hands, snap your fingers, or pump your fist to express your support of the speakers’ statements.

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