Do’s and don’ts for holding productive video chats

Here’s how to make the most of online face time, once you get past all of these: Is there an echo in here? Hang on, can you hear me? Where’s the chat thingy? Holy smokes, is that a ferret?

Video chat tips

Like them or loathe them, video chats are bound to remain a vital workplace messaging tool.

The trick is in capturing the most engaging benefits of visual, virtual meetups—and diminishing the attributes of this medium that can alienate, frustrate or agitate your colleagues.

Unfortunately, many such meetings get derailed at the outset. There’s the trudging through technical difficulties, followed by the inevitable slog through Zoom spume and trite soundbites.

  • Sorry, I was on mute.
  • Bob, please mute your computer.
  • Can you see me now?
  • Can you hear me now?
  • Is there an echo in here?
  • What’s that a picture of?
  • What are you drinking?
  • Cool background, Bob.
  • Is that a collection of swords on your wall?
  • Are you in a closet?
  • Where’s the chat thingy?
  • Sorry I’m late.
  • How do you turn the video on?
  • Your kids are so cute! Are they doing wrestling moves?
  • What kind of dog is that?
  • Is that a ferret?

Any of those sound familiar? Thankfully, it’s easy to get back on track and hold a productive, fruitful video chat. The same rules that make for more harmonious in-person meetings still apply. Here are four basic guidelines to follow:

1. Be inclusive. It’s easy to let one or two people dominate the chat. Try to ensure that everyone gets a chance to pipe up and speak their minds. Encourage shier participants to use the chat function to facilitate dialogue, and ask questions to drum up feedback.

2. Have just a few key points to cover. Don’t try to accomplish too much or jam too many discussion points into the conversation. Pick a few crucial items to focus on, and make sure everyone leaves with specific takeaways or action points. Whether it’s in person or on video, no one wants a sprawling mess of a meeting.

3. Be respectful of time. Be punctual, and stay within the time frame allotted. Let loquacious lingerers who want to vent or socialize stay on calls as long as they wish, but encourage your laconic linchpins who thrive on efficiency leave the chat whenever crucial business discussions end.

4. Don’t force it. Not everyone craves face time or video-based “connectivity.” Many people are frazzled beyond belief right now, and the last thing they want to do is appear on screen. So, ask your employees how they prefer to connect and receive information. Consistently gather their feedback, and respect their communication wishes.

Ultimately, video chat success hinges on respect. If you honor each other’s time, thoughts and preferences, you’ll be just fine.

COMMENT

5 Responses to “Do’s and don’ts for holding productive video chats”

      Robby Brumberg says:

      YES. Let’s just all agree to save toenail maintenance for after the Zoom call, please.

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