8 Mistakes to Avoid when Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing is a game-changing business tool that has become increasingly popular during 2020. Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype are all well-known platforms that allow people to connect whether they’re down the street or on the other side of the globe. However, because participants often attend from casual locations, such as home, the meetings may not be regarded as professional events. But, just as there is in-person office etiquette, there is also videoconferencing etiquette. Here are 8 mistakes to avoid when joining a videoconference call.


1. Don’t Use Unflattering Lighting

The most important aspects of presenting yourself during a videoconference may be the type of lighting you select and its placement. With its harshness and sickly blue tones, fluorescent light should be unquestionably avoided. Direct sunlight should be struck off your list, too, because it can brightly illuminate one side of your face, while completely shadowing the other.

Overhead lights aren’t recommended, either, because they can create undereye shadows or accentuate ones you may already have. Backlighting can be artsy in other mediums, but in videoconferencing, it may obscure your face.

Instead, natural lighting is your best bet, or light that’s diffused though a lampshade or a gauzy curtain. Make sure there’s enough light so that other attendees can recognize your face.


2. Don’t Forget to Inspect Your Face

One of the most mortifying professional gaffes is to discover, mid-call, that a piece of spinach is stuck between your teeth, or that some ghastly substance is protruding from your nose. A cardinal rule of videoconferencing: make sure to scrutinize your teeth and nostrils before joining the call.


3. Don’t Forget to Mute Yourself

If you’re fiddling with your keys, or drumming your fingers, or scratching your arm, the microphone is likely to pick up those sounds. Keeping your mic muted will help prevent idle sounds from interfering with the call. Think about politicians who have been caught saying inappropriate things when they didn’t realize that the mic was still hot. Don’t be like them.


4. Don’t Dress Unprofessionally

You may be joining the conference from home. But, no matter how much you want to stay in your PJs or wear that Black Sabbath t-shirt, it’s not professional attire. Even though the meeting is not in person, it’s still a business meeting, and you need to treat it like one by adhering to a dress code — at least from the waist up.

Also, steer clear of patterns, stripes, and prints. Choose solid-colored clothing, instead. If you wear jewelry, keep it clean and understated.


5. Don’t Disregard the Background

Be wary of what’s visible in the background. People won’t just notice that you have a bookshelf. They’ll wonder what’s ON the bookshelf. Now’s the time to tuck away that copy of the “Kama Sutra” and “The Best Beavis and Butt-head Quotes.” That Victoria’s Secret Angel of the Month calendar should probably come down, and the dirty socks slung over the armchair need to be ferried to the laundry room.


6. Don’t Fidget

Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused during a videoconference, and the tedium may make you restless. You must, however, remain poised, so be vigilant about fidgeting. Don’t swivel, shift in your chair, rub your face, bite your nails, or any other actions that broadcast lack of professionalism.


7. Don’t Let Your Gaze Stray

Without genuine eye contact, your gaze may drift to the image of yourself in your frame. Although it may feel unnatural, look squarely at the camera. This way, it looks as though you’re speaking directly to your colleagues. Whether you’re attending via a phone or another device, make sure that its camera is at eye level.


8. Don’t Set Your Device on “Bright”

When your device is on the highest brightness setting, it can make you look washed out and sickly. If you wear glasses, the light will ricochet off of them and confuse the other attendees. Before the call, make sure that your device’s lighting is more subdued.


People sometimes have the misconception that a videoconference is a casual get-together. However, business is still business, whether it’s conducted in person or remotely.