Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 18

Proper Etiquette for Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing isn't a combination of talking on the phone and meeting in person. It is its own thing, with its own set of rules, says a communications expert.

A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine on videoconferencing confirms what many new to the technology often complain about: They're not sure where to look or when to speak. To help simplify the art of videoconferencing, Entrepreneur gathered advice from a top communications guru.

"If you're not speaking, you have to remember that the other five, six, seven or eight people participating are also watching you," says Bob Kirk, chief executive officer of visual communications provider Avistar.

Kirk suggests that participants look at the screen or their desktop when they aren't speaking. Conversely, they should look at the camera when they are speaking. Kirk warns, "If you don't, you look like you're looking off in the distance, which is what people do when they're lying."

Also, Kirk recommends that videoconference participants avoid multitasking. He says it is "painfully obvious" to spot those who are because their "eyes are wandering across the screen." Others might also be able to hear the sound of mouse clicks or typing—"none of which connote respect for the subject at hand," he notes.

Finally, Kirk suggests that participants carefully consider what is in the camera's field of view—especially when videoconferencing from home or during a momentous meeting. In other words, tidy up a bit and don't sit in a high-traffic area.

The Entrepreneur article included a few other general bits of advice for videoconferencing:

  • Be more or less like a news anchor. Sit up straight, smile, try not to seem vacuous.
  • Eating, gum chewing and smoking is prohibited.
  • Don't wear striped clothing as this can create a strobe-like effect for people watching you.
  • The smaller the headset, the better.
  • Be cognizant of the potential lag time in conversation.

This article is from the Nov. 7, 2011 issue.

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The Power of Volunteers:
Leveraging Engagement and Advocacy for the Benefit of the Institution

Nov. 15, 2011
12 - 1:30 p.m. EST, U.S.

Nurturing, leveraging and sustaining critical relationships with volunteers is both a science and an art. Hear from two seasoned professionals about the intrinsic value volunteers bring to institutions, and explore ways to both measure their gifts of time and service and reward them for it.