Ten Rules of Etiquette for Videoconferencing

Re-post article by Sally French from wsj.com

It’s the big day. You have a videoconference with the chief executive of your company to pitch your ideas. You’re on time, and you couldn’t be more prepared for your presentation.

But are you up-to-date with your online—and on-camera—etiquette?

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Video services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Join.Me are increasingly flooding the workplace. They offer a sense of immediacy that conference calls cannot, and they deliver big savings in contrast with traveling for actual face-to-face meetings.

But videoconferencing comes with its own code of behavior that takes the place of yesterday’s manners for meetings. Indeed, don’t let the small screens and at times deceptively informal atmosphere fool you. There are right and wrong ways to conduct yourself—and lapses will be noticed.

We talked to experts on etiquette and videoconferencing. What follows are some of the most important do’s and don’ts for work-related video calls.

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DON’T TYPE. Typing during a video call not only creates distracting noise but also indicates you aren’t paying attention. Others on the call might assume you are working on something unrelated to the conversation. Even if you are taking notes, the sound of the keys can be distracting to others.

“It’s probably the biggest faux pas,” says Angie Hill, general manager of audience marketing at Skype.

TIP: If you do need to take notes, experts say, it is better to handwrite them. And if you absolutely must use your keyboard, hit the mute button.

MAKE EYE CONTACT. Maintaining eye contact builds trust and communicates that the conversation is important to you. But if you look directly into your computer’s camera so viewers can see your eyes, it is difficult to keep track of what’s happening on screen.

At the key moments when everyone’s eyes are on you, such as if you are presenting or introducing yourself, look at the camera. Otherwise, it is OK to look at the images of the other people on the call.

TIP: Move the video-chat window near your computer’s camera so you can both look at people’s faces and into the camera at once.

DON’T EAT. Would you really bring your tuna sandwich into the boardroom? No? Then don’t bring it into your video call, either. Just because the other conference guests can’t smell it doesn’t mean they can’t hear or see you chewing. Plus, food is the ultimate distraction.

“I’m now watching you eat a sandwich instead of paying attention to how brilliant you say you are,” says Lindsey Pollak, a workplace-etiquette consultant based in New York City. “And let’s be honest, nobody looks good eating.”

TIP: Put the sandwich down. And cover it up if you have to.

DISCOURAGE INTERRUPTIONS. With videoconferences, it can be tough for colleagues in the room with you to tell if you are in a meeting or simply working at your computer. Interruptions can break your train of thought, and make you look unprepared and unprofessional.

TIP: If you’re in a conference room or private office, put a note on the door. If you’re in a cubicle or at a bank of desks, use a signal to let colleagues know you are unavailable.

“I write the words ‘video call!’ on a piece of paper,” says Lizzie Post, descendant of etiquette nobility Emily Post and a spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute. “I freely admit this is dorky,” she says, “but if someone comes over, I hold it up, and it works.”

DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE. Need to use the restroom? While you may sometimes be able to get away with bringing a phone—on mute—into the bathroom, that obviously won’t work in this case.

About 24% of respondents voted this as the worst thing someone could do on-screen during a conference call, according to a survey by market-research firm Lab42 for Join.Me.

TIP: If it is a large meeting or you feel uncomfortable interrupting, just slip away and, if necessary, privately message a fellow participant saying you will be back shortly. If it is a small meeting, or you are the moderator, just ask to take a quick break.

PAY ATTENTION. Just because you can get away with online shopping during a conference call doesn’t mean you can in a video call. Everyone can see your eyes drifting away or your fingers typing, and they can tell you’re distracted.

TIP: Stay focused. Don’t look away from the screen. That is a clear indication that you aren’t engaged.

REMEMBER THE OUTLIERS. Sometimes a video call is between a room full of people and one person in a remote location. It’s important to ensure that people participating outside a group are included in the dialogue and given cues and openings for questions or comments. Otherwise, the people in the room can easily get caught up in their own conversation and forget to include the person on the call.

TIP: Raising a hand to speak is OK, especially when there is a lag time on the video feed. If you’re moderating the call, be proactive and ask if anyone has something they want to add.

CONTROL YOUR BACKGROUND. A messy background can cause people to focus on the clutter around you rather than on your words and ideas. Noise can be a problem, too, whether it is construction outside or a conversation at the next cubicle.

TIP: If your environment is too loud or messy, move to a conference room. A bare background isn’t a must, though. Interesting objects or designs could work in your favor by generating conversation.

HEAD OFF TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES. One of the biggest gaffes is when technical issues prevent a person from joining a call. You don’t want to open the video-chat service only to find you need a software update. Fumbling the sign-in and joining late as a result, or missing a meeting completely, can make a person look unprepared or technologically inept.

TIP: Join a videoconference before the appointed time to troubleshoot any possible connection problems. And when the meeting is over, make sure you end the call.

“The worst mistake I have ever heard of is someone thinking the call was over,” Ms. Post says. “They didn’t hang up properly and ended up saying something disparaging about the call. It was awkward for people on both ends.”

ACT AT HOME AS YOU WOULD AT THE OFFICE. Many of us occasionally work from home, so it is worth remembering that the same rules apply. Still, breaches of video-call etiquette are common.

In the survey by Lab42, 7% of respondents said they had seen someone participate in a videoconference from bed, while 17% of Americans have seen an attendee’s pet make an appearance. More than 20% admit to wearing pajamas—though with a more professional-looking top.

TIP: Stay out of bed. Keep pets and children out of the picture. And get dressed.

Ms. French is a reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco. She can be reached at sfrench@marketwatch.com.

New Research Reveals Top Frustrations for Video Conferencing and Call Center Customers

Re-post article from businesswire.com

Inc. (NASDAQ:EGHT), the leading provider of global Enterprise Communications as a Service (ECaaS), today revealed results from a survey conducted at the Enterprise Connect show last week. The survey asked show attendees (IT decision makers, system integrators, equipment manufacturers, and end users) their opinions on video conferencing, call centers, and cloud communications.

The findings shed light on respondents’ key pain points around communications and collaboration experiences, specifically:

  • Cloud Communications: Security was the number one concern (35%), followed by quality of service (21%).
  • Call Centers: Over half of the respondents said getting transferred from agent to agent, or having to repeatedly identify themselves were their chief aggravators.
  • Video Conferencing: While poor sound or visual quality was the main frustration, connection issues and being asked to download an app were a close second.

The research echoes much of what is being discussed in the industry today, but more importantly highlights areas where vendors need to focus their efforts in delivering higher quality customer experiences– security, quality of service, and features across unified communications and contact center, that deliver instant, continuous communications across devices and platforms, all integrated into a single application.

Read more details on the survey on the 8×8 blog, that includes an infographic, and watch this “man on the street” video to hear show attendees directly share their frustrations and thoughts on their ideal communications and collaboration solution.

The survey was conducted between March 7-9, 2016 at the Enterprise Connect show in Orlando, Florida, and responses were gathered from a random selection of approximately 200 show attendees.

About 8×8, Inc.

8×8, Inc. (NASDAQ:EGHT) is the trusted provider of secure and reliable enterprise cloud communications solutions to more than 40,000 businesses operating in over 100 countries across six continents. 8×8’s out-of-the-box cloud solutions replace traditional on-premises PBX hardware and software-based systems with a flexible and scalable Software as a Service (SaaS) alternative, encompassing cloud business phone service, contact center solutions, and conferencing. For additional information, visit www.8×8.com, www.8×8.com/UK or connect with 8×8 on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Contacts

8×8, Inc.
Neha Mirchandani, 669-256-5095
neha.mirchandani@8×8.com
Jessie Adams-Shore, 707-337-1958
Jessie@speakeasystrategies.com

Lifesize Enhances All-in-One Collaboration Platform With Integrated Group Chat Across All Devices

Re-post article by Maria Galler and Jenna Finn from marketwired.com

Lifesize, a global provider of award-winning audio, web and video conferencing technology, today announced that it has expanded and enhanced the free chat functionality in its Lifesize Cloud service. By improving 1:1 chat and introducing group chat, Lifesize Cloud now aggregates the critical features for collaboration and meeting productivity into one easy-to-use application.

Lifesize group chat extends the conversation beyond the conference room, helping teams continue brainstorming, problem solving, and addressing questions more efficiently. And when the team wants to gather face-to-face, Lifesize chat instantly escalates to a video call with just one click. To keep projects moving forward, users can participate in chats in multiple meeting rooms, return to a previous chat session, or review their chat history.

Examples of how Lifesize’s group chat can increase productivity include:

  • For Project Teams: Seamless conversations across brainstorming sessions, ad-hoc and planned calls and meetings.
  • For Internal Communication: Strengthen company culture and enhance morale by helping employees feel more connected, including remote workers.
  • For Individuals: Chat with colleagues anytime, anywhere, in as many meeting rooms as required to maximize productivity.

“The global cloud-based conferencing market represents a $9.4 billion opportunity that remains extremely fragmented. Currently, companies are paying a premium for inconsistent experiences, slow adoption, reduced productivity, and increased security risks,” said Craig Malloy, Lifesize CEO. “The enhancement of our free chat feature solidifies Lifesize’s position as a leading all-in-one solution that consolidates the critical elements of collaboration into one offering, extending the conversation beyond the meeting. We continue to enhance the user experience and are excited to provide our rapidly growing customer base with even more productivity and value.”

In addition, the company extended its recording and sharing functionality, Lifesize Cloud Amplify, to Lifesize Cloud Web App. Users of this browser-based app can now easily record and instantly share meetings, trainings, messages and more with their team and other colleagues through their personal video library.

Lifesize’s video-based communication and collaboration technologies are unrivaled in meeting the intense demands of today’s enterprise, while remaining accessible to businesses of any size. Often, organizations work with five or more vendors — for conferencing hardware and bridging equipment as well as audio, web, video and chat services — to give employees the collaboration tools they need. Lifesize is the only company to bring together a radically simple cloud-based service with award-winning camera systems and HD phones. And, the combination of features rolled into one application — including chat, instant calling and recording — are intuitive and built to meet users’ needs.

Additional Information:
  • For more information about Lifesize, please visit www.lifesize.com
  • Experience Lifesize Cloud with the free 14-day Lifesize Cloud trial
  • Explore the “Eight Challenges Solved by Video Conferencing Guide”
  • Like Lifesize on Facebook: facebook.com/lifesizeHD
  • Follow @lifesizeHD on Twitter
  • Tweet now: .@LifesizeHD Enhances All-in-One Collaboration Platform with Integrated #GroupChat Across All Devices http://lfsz.vc/1pHAUqU
  • Join other customers for collaboration, advocacy and insights at community.lifesize.com
About Lifesize

At Lifesize, we understand the power of connecting people to make the workplace great. For more than a decade, Lifesize has been at the forefront of video conferencing and collaboration, delivering high-quality solutions designed to bring people together. We combine a best-in-class, cloud-based conferencing experience, with award-winning, easy-to-use cameras and phones that are designed for any conference room. You can connect to anyone, anywhere through a meeting experience like no other. For more information, visit www.lifesize.com or follow the company @LifesizeHD.

Lifesize and the Lifesize logo are trademarks of Lifesize, Inc. and may be registered. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.