In a personal phone call or a one to one business call we are less likely to have background noises or be distracted by things in front of us. However, a conference call usually involves several different participants and the focus typically shifts between various attendees. It can therefore be incredibly easy to get distracted by simple things such as your mobile phone. You can also begin to lose concentration during aspects of the conference which have no relevance to you. (let’s face it, sometimes video calls can be dreadful and boring).
We have heard many bizarre stories of meeting participants mowing their lawn during a conference but not realising they were on video. While other, more common scenarios usually include people playing a racing game while on a conference. Whilst there are simple things one should keep in mind when joining a conference (such as consistently typing without muting the line) there are some conferencing sins which are simply a no no. Get ready to transform your web conferencing experience forever with our list of top conferencing sins and tips on how to avoid them.
Thou shall eliminate any background noise
As mentioned previously, one of the major problems in a web conference is a high amount of background noise. It is an increasingly underestimated factor, however, it is one of the most distracting aspects in a web conference. The most basic tactics to tackle this problem is to find a quiet space free of background noise and join the meeting from there. Some of these locations could include your office, a rented conference room space, or an empty house. These locations will provide you with certainty that unexpected noises will less likely occur (Read more about how to manage a web meeting with tremendous amounts of background noise).
Thou shall not take to my favourite snack
Eating is distracting, it disrupts your focus on the conference but also disrupts everyone else (especially if they can hear you!). Imagine a scenario in which you are in a conference call with many people. The conversation is not directly relevant to you so you decide to grab a snack to pass the time, let’s say your favourite packet of crisps (or chips!). Then, suddenly your boss asks you a question and your mouth is too full, munching on those delicious crisps, to answer. This is not only embarrassing for you but also requires everyone in the call to wait while you answer. In order to avoid this, make sure you remind yourself and everyone at the start of your conference that everything can be seen and heard. This would potentially make you and everyone else more conscious of how they behave whilst on call. And put those snacks out of reach!
Thou shall not talk over the speaker
Talking over the speaker in a conference call is not only unprofessional but might also result in important information not being heard as the speaker is constantly being interrupted. To avoid this, it can be a great idea to ask your questions via the chat. The meeting host can then present these questions at a more appropriate point in the meeting. Your questions will therefore be answered and no one will get interrupted! Sometimes it just happens, assuming that pause in the presentation is a perfect time to put your thoughts into the meeting. When it does, just stay silent and allow the host to take control and give you the chance to share.
Thou shall not answer a phone call
It might be tempting to answer your phone during a web conference, surely no one will hear you right? However, they will hear you and maybe even see you. You wouldn’t do it in a real meeting? Or would you? Keep all audible notifications turned off and all devices must be put on silent mode. Silencing them reduces interruptions and allows you to focus on the meeting at hand. One way to make sure you follow this is by leaving your phone in another room or somewhere out of reach where you won’t be tempted to answer a call if you do get one. However, if you are expecting an important phone call, make sure you announce it at the beginning of a conference call so people aren’t surprised when you take the call. This way, if someone asks you for your feedback and there’s silence, they won’t think you’ve fallen asleep or playing the computer game or finishing your packet of crisps (chips).
Thou shall not Drop in and out of the conference
While unexpected issues could arise, there is nothing worse than having someone in a conference continuously drop in and out of a call. There’s nothing ruder than asking a question to a meeting participant only to realise they’ve disappeared mid-meeting. To avoid this, check your connection beforehand and complete a quick test run. Do not wait until the very last minute to realise your webcam is not working and you need to restart your computer (I am sure we’ve all been there and know how frustrating it can be for other participants). We were on a conference the other day and the headset decided to stop working at the start of the conference. Something we could not have avoided. But do all you can in preparation.
Committing any of these sins will not only make you seem unprofessional but also endanger the overall effectiveness of your conference. An effective and productive meeting should include a more professional approach where everyone is mindful of how the behave. Don’t allow your meetings to be time wasters. You need to act like a web meeting is a face to face meeting and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in a conference room with attendees.