5 Video Conferencing Fails to Avoid

Most of us are about a month into the “New Normal.” For many organizations that includes a lot more virtual meetings over Zoom, GoToMeeting, UberConference, or wherever. If you weren’t used to video conferencing before social distancing, you probably had quite the learning curve, and we hope you’re getting the hang of it! However, now that things are settling down, let’s talk about presenting the best version of yourself while you’re video conferencing. 

Just ask the CTR Sales Team:

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Don’t worry. Mike got his questions answered. 

Experience is clearly the best teacher and we’re all still working things out. Here are a few lessons the team at CTR Payroll Services learned the hard way. 

1. Showing Up Late to the Video Call (without a reason)

Things happen, sure. Your kid needs help with their schoolwork, your dog is refusing to come back in the house, your computer decided to crap out on you. Working from home certainly comes with a unique set of challenges. Other than these little home life SNAFUs, there aren’t a whole lot of reasons you should show up late to a video conference. 

What? There was traffic from the kitchen to your home office? The line at the coffee maker was too long? Seriously. Set reminders for yourself and try to show up on time. Try entering or queuing up the virtual conference room early. That way you won’t have to worry about being the last person in there. Just make sure you’re not doing anything too embarrassing! 

2. Speaking Way Too Loudly and Way Too Much

CAN YOU HEAR ME?!?! Not anymore. They’re all deaf now. Speak at a normal volume like you would in an in-person meeting. Believe us, your coworkers will let you know if they can’t hear you. You’re not talking into a tin can attached to a string. 

We also lose a lot of visual and verbal cues when video conferencing. Be mindful of your coworkers’ time and attention. Keep your input succinct and relevant. We’re all getting a bit stir crazy and looking for as much social interaction as possible, but that doesn’t mean you should monopolize everyone’s meeting time. Say what you gotta say and pass the proverbial mic. 

3. Playing Around with Your Virtual Background while Video Conferencing

Ok, Zoomer. We get it. The ability to upload an unlimited number of virtual backgrounds provides a bit of fun, but all things in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with picking a fun or silly background for your next call, but once you pick one, stick with it. Don’t be that person that is constantly changing their background during the call. It’s distracting to others and kind of gives off the vibe that you’re more concerned with making it look like you’re at Dunder Mifflin than you are with the content of the meeting. 

4. Not Positioning Your Camera Correctly

This isn’t about our own vanity. This is more for you than for your coworkers. Do you really want the rest of the office to think you’re a slob? Do you want your dirty laundry making a daily cameo? Think your ratty t-shirt and bedhead are appealing? Believe us, stuff like this can get distracting and your coworkers might be chatting about it over Slack as we speak. Take a few minutes to get yourself, your computer camera, and your space squared away.

Get dressed and comb your hair. Believe us, keeping up with your routines can make a big difference anyway. Next, make sure your camera is at a good (not awkward) angle. You want your computer camera just above eye level and far enough away that people can’t see every pore on your face. If you’re using a laptop, try putting it on top of a box or stack of books, or invest in a laptop stand. Finally, make sure your workspace is tidy and not distracting. If all else fails, just turn your camera off.     

5. Making It Obvious That You’re Not Paying Attention

Would you start scrolling through social media or playing your guitar during an in-person meeting? If so, you probably work at a pretty cool office. For the rest of us, actively listening and engaging in a meeting are a pretty high priority. It’s easy to tell when someone isn’t paying attention with a video camera on. This includes doing other work. Sure, that can be super tempting, but you’re not going to absorb any information. Plus, there’s a pretty good chance your coworkers can hear you click-clacking away on your keyboard. 

Treat video conferences like real meetings. Pretend your manager is in the same room as you. Would you be reading that Buzzfeed listicle if they were standing over your shoulder? Furthermore, you might think you’re slick by keeping your camera turned off or muting yourself, but we know what you’re doing. 

Bonus – Sweating the Small Stuff while Video Conferencing

We’re calling this the “New Normal” for a reason. Your work and home life have never been so intertwined. While you should always do your best to remain engaged with your video conference, everyone understands that some things are out of your control. Everyone’s computer freezes or crashes, a lot of us have spouses and kids who don’t fully get the division of work time and freetime, cats will continue to walk across your keyboard and show off their rear ends to your coworkers. Things happen! 

CTR Payroll Services is Here to Help You Navigate the “New Normal” 

Social distancing has done a lot more than just affect the way we converse with our coworkers. Everything from payroll to taxes to compliance is in a constant state of flux. If you and your organization need a little help getting things back to normal, CTR has the tools and experience to help. Contact us to learn how we can help make your humans happy. 

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