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Best practices on video calls

Created by Will Ceolin
Created on Apr 28, 20 - Updated on Jun 4, 20

Even though video calls should be the last resort, they're necessary sometimes. It's important to understand the best practices and video conferencing etiquette.

Mute your microphone

You're in the middle of a big presentation. Suddenly, Lady Gaga's Bad Romance stops playing in the background because someone forgot to mute their microphone.

It's a best practice to always mute your microphone while you're not speaking. Otherwise, some background noises might interrupt other people and it becomes harder to understand what's being said.

Use your own webcam

Hybrid calls are common on remote-first and remote-friendly companies. It happens when some people are in the office and others are working remotely. Those in the office, then, decide to use the same webcam, dialing as a single participant, and the remote workers end up seeing themselves as inferiors.

By having everyone using their own equipment, you also avoid common issues with hybrid calls:

  • Can't hear the sharing people well.
  • Background noise since the microphone of the sharing people on all the time.
  • Can't clearly see facial expressions since each face takes up only a small part of the screen.
  • Can't easily see who is talking since the screen shows multiple people.
  • Hard getting a word in since their delay is longer than for the sharing people.
  • Can't easily screen share something themselves.
  • Trouble seeing details in screen sharing since the screen is further away from them.
  • Can't scroll through a slide deck at their own pace.
  • Sharing people can't easily participate (view or type) in a shared document with the agenda and meeting notes.

Raise your hand to speak

Some tools have a "raise hand" tool where the call's organizer can see who wants to speak next. This way, you avoid interrupting other people while they're talking.

Tell others when you're finished

Sometimes, there's an embarrassing silence when someone stops talking as other people don't know if you have something else to say or you're done. It's courtesy to end your talk by stating you've finished speaking. Saying something like "next, please" can help with that.

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Do you know other best practices? Then, update this page to share them.