Let’s face it, now that most of the world is under quarantine or stay at home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing software is becoming more common than ever before. It is certainly a great asset to take advantage of when you need to maintain company business and ensure staff is able to continue to work, go to doctors appointments without having to risk contact with someone who is sick or even when you just want to speak to family members from afar. Video conferencing is a great tool to utilize for communication.
While video calls are important for businesses and others who need to stay connected, we also need to face that sometimes, people just are not as focused on the meeting as we would like them to be. People get bored easily and our minds tend to wander even when we strive to pay attention. Let’s check out some of the top things people do during web meetings that don’t necessarily coincide with the meeting they’re in.
All the multitaskers out there may not see anything wrong with responding to a few quick emails during a conference call or video meeting, but if the email does not pertain to the conference you are currently in, it can be a major distraction. Not only for you as you may miss important details shared during the meeting, but for everyone else on the call if your mic is on and you type loudly.
If you must send an email during a conference call, type quietly and try to only do so when it influences the meeting you are in, so it won’t distract anyone else in the meeting.
One of the best things about conference calls, whether video or telephone, is that people can multitask. This is also one of the worst things about conference calls via video or telephone. While it’s always nice to stay on top of work, it can also be a huge distraction to work on other projects when in a meeting. When you take time away from the meeting at hand, it’s possible to miss out on important information that you may need to complete the work discussed during the meeting. Or, it can interfere with keeping track of family and how they are doing.
Food is essential and during online meetings and conference calls, people tend to not just eat, but they spend time preparing food. A quick snack is acceptable but standing in the kitchen cutting vegetables for a four-course meal or preparing a BBQ dinner should be off the table entirely. If you participate in online meetings frequently, it’s a good idea to keep a few easy to open and quick to eat snacks at your desk or at least nearby where you can easily grab one and not miss out on anything important.
If you’re video chatting with friends or family, maybe they will enjoy watching you prepare a meal. One thing to keep in mind when eating during a call is to watch how loudly you chew. No one wants to hear you chomping crackers or a crunchy piece of celery during a conversation.
The sudden urge to run to the bathroom can hit at any time, but if it hits you during a call be sure to be discreet about it. You also need to be careful about your camera and audio when taking a bathroom break. No one wants to hear you handle your business when sitting on the porcelain throne, and even more, no one wants to feel the humiliation when they realize everyone in the meetings heard them go!
Life today revolves around social media more than ever before and while it’s tempting to post to your profile when sitting in a boring meeting, it is something you should reconsider. There is nothing wrong with social media and as a matter of fact, it’s a great way to connect with others. It’s a double-edged sword however as it can be a great distraction when in a business meeting or when trying to focus on a call with family or friends.
Business meetings can get boring, depending on the topic at hand and video chats or calls with family or friends can take up time that you may want to spend doing something else, but staying focused on the conference call or video meeting is a great way to stay on top of work as well as maintain relationships with those you know.
Here are a few tips to help ensure your video conference is productive:
- Mute your mic when the conference starts so noise in your home doesn’t cause a distraction. Have you ever been in a video conference and suddenly hear someone’s kids screaming in the background? Kids are great, but no one wants to listen to a toddler screaming during an otherwise productive work meeting.
- Wear clothing that is suitable for work. Many people are tempted to wear pajama bottoms with dress shirt or sweatpants and other comfortable clothing during video meetings but think of a business-related video conference in the same way that you would when going to work in the office. Sweatpants and pajamas may be suitable for a chat with the grandparents or friends.
- Make sure your camera is set to eye level. No one wants to look at you when you are posing in the “mom shot” with the camera angled over your head to conceal a double chin.
- Check the background in your room and try to make sure you don’t have a mess laying around. It’s probably not a good idea to let your boss see your underwear hanging across the back of your desk chair or a pile of dirty dishes sitting on your desk.
- Don’t multitask when on a video call. Everyone on the call can see you and it’s easy to tell when someone is distracted with something else.
Video meetings are a great tool to use to maintain a business or personal connection when used correctly. Make them work to your advantage by paying attention when you take part in one.