Videoconferencing has become a big part of the business world, even before we hit the current crisis. Today, it’s an essential part of conducting business as meetings in person have become somewhat dangerous in the face of the coronavirus. With customers and employees all being in different locations, the videoconference is now one of the most-used tools in our arsenal.

This being said, there are a few things that many of us are getting wrong. Videoconferencing comes with its own set of rules, and challenges. Lagging internet connections and faulty sound equipment can make it quite difficult to hold a meeting. On top of that, there are some etiquette dos and don’ts for videoconferencing, such as:

Testing your equipment

It’s always a good idea to test your sound levels and your microphone before a meeting starts. Just because it worked yesterday, doesn’t mean it’s going to work today. You may have changed something while working on a different program or your computer may have done an update in the meantime. Get ready to go a few minutes before your meeting is set to start and test your speakers or headphones, and your microphone. You should also take a moment to ensure that your camera has a good angle on you and that your background isn’t distracting.

Sneaking away from your screen

During a meeting on a videoconference, it can be tempting to sneak off to get a glass of water, go to the bathroom or sneak in a few Bingo games for money on your phone. It’s bad manners to do this in real life and its bad manners to do this in a virtual meeting. If you have a conflict in your schedule and need to leave early, let people know at the beginning of the meeting and say goodbye as you sign out. If you need a quick break, say so and excuse yourself rather than just disappearing from the screen.

Give people space to speak

With lagging internet connections, it can be quite tricky to tell if someone is done talking or if they are hearing your questions as you say them. With a little patience, everyone can have their say and ask their questions. It’s also important to speak slowly, loudly and clearly. This way, everyone will be sure to hear you regardless of their connection.

Use the mute button

This is especially pertinent when working from home – dogs, children, housemates can all make unexpected noises. Microphones on computers are also good at picking up little background noises, especially the sound of typing on your keyboard. These noises can be distracting to the other participants and could potentially stop others from hearing what people are saying if the sound isn’t completely clear coming from the current speaker.

Look the part

Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you should look like it. A professional meeting is still the same as it was when you were meeting face to face. Make sure that you are dressed correctly and are presentable.