At our PA recruitment agency, we’re more-than-familiar with working etiquette. It’s a core part of the PA role, often setting the example for the rest of the business. With increased homeworking due to the pandemic, video conferencing is now an everyday part of working life. However, many people are still unsure of its dos and don’ts. We chatted to a few PA workers in London about their top tips for video conferencing etiquette.
Top tips for video conferencing etiquette
Prepare as you would for an in-person meeting
“I’m amazed how little some people prepare for video meetings,” Sarah says. “If anything, you need to prepare more! You still need an agenda; you still need scheduling, and you still need to turn up on time. What’s more, you need to make sure all the tech is working.”
Get the background right
“Fancy backgrounds are a no,” Zoe told us. “With the best will in the world, they’re distracting and can appear as if you’re hiding your genuine background. It’s better to be authentic. Have a smart, tidy background from the room you’re in. This will show that, despite being at home, you’re still working professionally.”
Think about what you look like!
“With a video conference, you have to remember that everyone is looking straight at you,” says Ian. “It’s not like a large, in-person meeting where you can get away with slouching and being disinterested at the back. Frame yourself in the centre of the screen, sit up straight, and look attentive.”
Be appropriately quiet
“Always be muted unless you’re speaking,” Alison warns. “It’s distracting for everyone else if they can hear your background noise.”
Address the camera, not the screen, or yourself!
John, who is a senior PA to the board of a financial services business advises us that, “To appear as if you’re looking someone in the eye, you actually need to speak to the camera. This can feel odd, but it’s the best thing to do. Don’t address the screen, and definitely don’t spend your time looking at your own image!”
Think about the lighting
Lydia explains, “Too bright and you can’t see someone’s features, too dark and you struggle to see them at all. Aim for some natural lighting that’s some distance from where you’re actually sat. Test what this looks like on the screen before you join the call.”
Put your phone down
“It staggers me how many people will be busy on their phone in a video conference,” Rob says. “They wouldn’t do it in person, so why do they think it’s okay? It’s incredibly rude. Pay attention to the person talking, and stop trying to do other things in the background. It’s unprofessional and disrespectful.”
Hopefully, these video conference tips from PAs in-the-know will ensure that you can elevate your video conference etiquette and behaviour to show that you’re still professional while working from home.
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