A woman during a videocall in a coffee shop

Video Calls: 5 mistakes you must avoid

We are living the digital revolution at its highest. The current situation forced us to transition faster and globally to a work from home model and a full online management for companies.

Video-calls have become indispensable in terms of communications, team meetings, client meetings and also for job interviews. Platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype have become the  most used tools for this purpose. 

Online meetings, like face to face meetings, have rules. Indeed, it is very common for people to underestimate the importance of presentation, punctuality and professionalism when they are asked to join an online meeting. Unfortunately guys, those mistakes can sometimes have big consequences. A negative feedback from your superior that could easily be avoided, a potential client that will not call you back or a job that will  be given to someone else. 

Here are 5 mistakes that you must avoid during video calls:

1 – Don’t be late 

Punctuality is and will always be important when attending professional events. Online meetings apply the same rule: being late is unprofessional and shows a lack of responsibility. 

Be on time and ready at least 10 minutes before the meeting. Your computer is ready, your headphones charged and working, you are logged in, you are dressed and ready to attend the video-call.

2 – Camera ON, no excuses!

You may like it or not but if you are asked to join a video-call, please do not pretend that your camera is not working to avoid showing your face. 

This also implies to check your background, a clean and neutral space behind you will do great. Check that your camera angle is fine, avoid low angle. There is nothing more annoying than speaking to a chin.

3 – Don’t call from a noisy place 

Avoid attending a video-call from a busy coffee shop or in your living room where members of your family are passing through or speaking, etc. The day and time for the meeting were set in advance, it is your responsibility to make sure to have the best environment to attend the calls. To be prepared and cautious about those details are the best way to show professionalism and have productive meetings. When you are attending a video conference with more than two participants, noises can be a real disaster. Make sure to mute your microphone when you are listening and turn it on when it is your turn to speak. 

Speaking of noise, don’t forget to turn off your notifications (email, whatsApp, task manager, all muted for the call)

4 – Don’t call from your cell phone

Here are some points to understand why professional online calls should not be taken on a mobile phone: the instability of the screen; the size of the screen is not adapted to view documents and share screens; the angle is often bad due to the movements and instability.

Let’s say for one moment that your phone is the only option and you found a way to stabilise it. Remember that laptop screens are horizontal and that your phone is made vertically, so at least don’t forget to use your phone horizontally in order to avoid that the person in front of you see you with the two black lines on their screen and are aware from minute one that you are using a phone for a professional meeting.

As mentioned before, the day and time of your meetings are usually planned in advance, so make sure to have a good device to join the video-call.  Attending a meeting or an interview from a phone can be interpreted as a lack of professionalism.

5 –  Bad connection is no excuse

If your internet is not working properly, don’t think it is a good excuse to justify the bad quality of the call. If you accepted a video-meeting, you need to be prepared. Incidents can always occur, but if you already know that this matter could affect your video-call, find a way to fix it. Improve your Internet connection, go to your best friend’s house or find a meeting room in a coworking space.

During video-calls, you need to respect all codes of conduct of face-to-face meetings. Look at your interlocutor and show professionalism. Online meetings will become more and more popular in the future and it is a skill you need to manage. Be able to handle the different software you can be asked to use, how to join a call, how to create a session, how to share a screen and other basic things such as how to mute your microphone and switch your camera on.