Virtuality has now been fine tuned into our systems because we practice it now more often. We are now accustomed to the amazing platforms that are ensuring we are linking with the society virtually.
But the question is, do we practice virtual etiquette?
Let’s start simple. What is virtual etiquette? Giving you seconds to think through.
No light bulbs flicking so far? Let me take one for the team. Virtual etiquette are the rules of etiquette that apply when communicating over the internet. That’s it!
The definition is a piece of cake to remember but why is the etiquette often forgotten. I have one statement for you when you don’t practice virtual etiquette. Peek- A- Boo they can’t see you. Well they can see you if the video is on, but they can’t see and understand you. Both should walk hand in hand seeing you and understanding you.
Let’s begin picking out some of the rules out, shall we?
Picture this, you are seated physically in meeting with people already ongoing or almost starting. Got that picture? Good! Keeping that picture in mind, someone walks in shouting loudly or even having a loud convo with someone. Same case scenario to virtuality. The meeting is starting or ongoing and out of nowhere sounds and convos in the background are heard. The train of thoughts suddenly stop and the focus goes to the noise. You will begin to hear “Please mute yourself” or texts popping up in an attempt to hush. Bringing us to our first rule.
Always ensure you have muted when logging into a meeting or on immediate log in first button to tap is the little microphone to mute. Only unmute when you are to speak.
Check your background to ensure its neat and presentable.
First impression is very important. It will choose whether they will pay attention to you or your messy background. Clear the clutter behind you. Your background does not have to be flashy and elegant one but if you can get that spot shine in it. We don’t mind enjoying a beautiful view.
Pay attention during meetings.
Being alone can motivate you to do things forgetting you have a tiny camera in front of you documenting it all. Picking calls on camera without excusing yourself and standing up leaving after every one minute. If what you plan to do you would not in a physical set up then why do in a virtual set up. It is the same, just that people are not physically present. When there is a possibility of frequent distraction I would advise joining without video. Also, if you do need to leave excuse yourself by writing it in the chat box or speak out when given a chance.
Be expressive when speaking.
Use more actions and variate your tones. Sometimes the audio can decide to misbehave. Thus, actions on screen as you speak come in handy to make your speech more understandable. Plus, you will get and hold the attention of your audience since they grasp more when you use them.
Wear appropriate clothing.
It might not bother you or someone you know but maybe to a visitor who is seeing for the first time might not like it.
Be careful not to override the speaker.
Slow connections happen. At that point the audio and the visual are not in sync. You notice that the audio delivery is low. Hence you should leave a buffer on speech. Speak when you see that the meeting has come to a silence in about 2 seconds. It is tricky when you are not physically together since you can‘t quickly see who wants to talk. Use the speech tabs for the platforms. Raise your hand feature or typing in a comment or a question comes in order to avoid overriding and interrupting a speaker.
Announce yourself on entry.
Say Hello or even type hello just as an introduction. Consider it a technique for the organizer to mark in the register for the present people in the meeting.
Look into the camera or screen when talking.
That is where your audience. Let us say it’s kind of a virtual eye contact.
Short story. Once, the platform for the meeting changed and I did not explore even for a minute how the platform works. At the beginning of the meeting, I was briefly thrown into a little world of confusion. It’s funny how the first minutes I located the chats through waiting for someone to type in a message, then tap at the floating message, to get to the message tab. So, you can imagine me right there with my gadget with a burning question waiting to tap on a message. By the way I sometimes missed the message and had to wait again for someone to send in a message. I eventually found my way through after a quick minute explore. Hence rule nine.
When you see an unfamiliar platform do a google search or even look for a video to see how it works just to save yourself the stress. See what functions you need to know. Familiarize that’s the point.
Check your lighting.
That sweet spot you like taking pictures at because the sun just hits it with all the love. Thinking about one already? Make it multipurpose. You need to be seen. Also ensure the background light is not, too bright, shining or reflecting back since you won’t be visible enough. How about we go for moderate lighting.
Ensure your full-face portrait is being seen.
This is a common scenario. You look at a screen and you see a half face. You know, from the nose all the way up or worse still you only see the forehead. Maybe now you are asking how do I check and I can’t see myself. The little user windows for every participant. Surprise! Guess who is also a participant. You! Peek through it to confirm your full portrait is being seen. Especially if you are using your phone to connect, how you hold and put it will determine the visual scope.
Check your tech prior to the meeting.
Is everything working okay? Crosscheck your connection to ensure its fine and the gadgets to be in use have charged. Be prepared so you don’t get surprised when logging in or be cut out unexpectedly.
To our ‘am not a camera person’ readers. Not for getting those who and freeze at the sight of a camera and become clueless. How about you start video calling friends and family, people you are used to and try practicing the rules. Might sound so little but they slowly build your confidence. You get used to it and the shyness slowly fades away. You would be surprised how well you would handle yourself in a real virtual meeting with people you are not very familiar with.