Posted on: 30 July 2020

What are the unspoken rules of conference calls

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses had to resort to communicating through conference calls, with software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet being some of the go-to call software.

Since then, however, there have been a few instances where people have made small blunders when on conference calls, usually disrupting the meeting in some way and even displaying unprofessional behaviour. Take a look at some video call etiquettes that we have identified to ensure that video meetings can be productive and professional.

Tips for a successful business video call

Correct attire

When working from home, it can be too easy to relax the attire to more comfortable clothes, pyjamas, or, as some popular videos on social media have shown, lounging around in underwear.

One popular video on social media showed someone having a job interview, wearing a suit on their top half, but only boxer shorts on the bottom half. This horrendously backfired when the candidate was asked to retrieve some identification and was forced to explain why they weren’t dressed.

If you have a video call meeting booked, make sure that you have gone to the effort of dressing appropriately, wearing an outfit that would be appropriate for casual wear in your business.

Good sound quality

On a video call, there is nothing more frustrating than an attendee having poor sound quality, whether this is through a bad internet signal or faulty equipment.

Not being able to hear someone clearly in a web chat means that they might not be able to accurately share their information, leading to issues further down the line. Poor sound quality can also disrupt the session, as other members may have to frequently ask the person to repeat themselves.

Test out your audio equipment before joining the group to make sure it is clear, and other participants can hear you properly.

Poor internet connection

Similar to having poor audio quality, a poor internet connection can cause a variety of different frustrations for other attendees in the meeting.

Firstly, a poor connection could make it difficult for someone to get into a meeting, which could hold up the meeting. A poor connection will also cause your video broadcast to be slow, possibly causing similar issues to those caused by poor audio connection.

Testing your internet stability and broadband speed before going into a meeting will allow you to test whether or not your signal will be strong enough to keep a strong connection to the meeting.

Know the software you’re using

All of the available video conferencing software out there will share a lot of similarities, both functionally and aesthetically, however they will also have subtle differences that you should be aware of when using a different video call software than normal.

An example of this is when an attendee of a video call managed to put a filter on their video feed that turned them into a potato, and couldn’t work out how to take the filter off, remaining as a potato for the rest of the meeting. This wouldn’t be the end of the world in a team meeting; only a minor distraction, however, if you’re having a professional meeting with investors, senior management or clients, for instance, it isn’t the best look.

Toilet breaks

Popping to the loo should be one of the things that you should do before a meeting gets started, but if nature calls during a meeting, there are things that you can do to have a quick break.

From even suggesting a break for a drink to making an excuse that someone is at the door, just a subtle excuse so that you can still have the comfort of nipping to the loo whilst maintaining your professionalism.

Unexpected visitors

Even before lockdown started there was plenty of humorous videos of live news reporters and conference calls being interrupted by children, pets or other unwelcome guests.

If you are going into a conference call, make sure that any dogs or cats are secured safely in a different place than where you are working, and if you have children, make sure that they are being looked after by someone else and have plenty to do so that they don’t feel the need to come and disturb you.

Before going into a video call, you should also make sure that anyone else in the house knows that you are not to be disturbed, even if they are offering a cup of tea.

General behaviour

Don’t forget that during a video meeting, other attendees can still see you, so don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want them to see you doing in real life.

Avoid social faux pas, squeezing spots, fidgeting or picking teeth that might bother others in the meeting.

COVID-19 business guidance

For further guidance on how you can keep yourself and your business healthy as COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, take a look at some of our articles by following these links:

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The information and tools contained in this guide are of a general informational nature and should not be relied upon as being suitable for any specific set of circumstances. We have used reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the contents but the information and tools do not constitute professional advice and must not be relied upon as such. To the extent permitted by law, we do not accept responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information or tools in our Insight Hub.