What is proper etiquette for business meetings

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Even Captain Kirk from Star Trek knew: anyone who negotiates with aggressive Klingons or cold-tempered Vulcans is best able to use video. If you can not only hear your counterpart, but also see it, communication simply works better. While video conferences have long since made the leap from the science fiction series to our everyday work, the challenges have remained the same.

  1. Etiquette for video conferencing
    Technology is no longer the problem today. The range of end devices extends from tablets to room systems. Therefore, soft factors such as rules of behavior often determine the success of virtual meetings.
  2. DOS
    Speak clearly in video conferencing. The ability to understand each participant well is critical to a successful video conference.
  3. Dos II
    Keep it simple. If you are hosting a video meeting, make sure that the instructions for dialing in are simple and understandable and that other participants can dial in quickly and easily.
  4. Dos III
    Look into my eyes, Small. Good eye contact with all participants in a video meeting is very important.
  5. Don'ts
    Ringing cell phones are the number one meeting killer in the virtual world as well. So don't show off your latest ringtone until after the meeting.
  6. Don'ts II
    No multitasking during the conference. Your colleagues will notice when you are doing other things on the side - and that is a major problem.
  7. Don'ts III
    Working anytime and anywhere is a plus of modern technology. But the supermarket, train station hall or airport are rather unsuitable places for a video meeting.
  8. Don'ts IV
    Music and other background noises such as children playing distract others. The best thing to do in the office is to hang a "Do not disturb" sign in front of the door.
  9. Other countries other manners
    Be on time. In the USA in particular, virtual meetings also start at the scheduled time and end as planned.
  10. Different countries, different customs II
    Avoid open criticism in conferences with Japanese. Learn to say "no" without actually saying it.
  11. Different countries, different customs III
    Respect, rank, and hierarchies are important in Chinese culture. Treat higher-ranking partners or colleagues with particular respect.
  12. Different countries, different customs IV
    Allow more time for conferences with India. Video conferences tend to be started with small talk, so don't rush. Nevertheless, appropriate business clothing is important.
  13. Different countries, different customs V
    The proverbial British humor is also often used in video conferencing. Just take part.
  14. Different countries, different customs VI
    Italians communicate not only verbally, but also very strongly non-verbally. Don't be afraid to use video conferencing to express yourself using facial expressions and gestures.
  15. Different countries, different customs VII
    Brazilians tend to take a relaxed approach to business meetings. Use video to get to know your business partners and build trust

Communicating with other "beings" via video can quickly lead to misunderstandings - even if our colleagues and customers are sitting opposite us on the other side of the screen, not Borg and Romulans. Despite all its advantages, video communication has some pitfalls: from audio quality to appropriate clothing to the small but fine cultural differences that need to be taken into account.

Video etiquette I: Dos

To this end, Redshift Research and Polycom asked 1,200 business decision-makers worldwide (100 of them in Germany) about their experiences with video conferencing in the course of the study "Global View: Business Video Conferencing Usage and Trends".

Among other things, questions were asked about the success criteria for a video conference. The respondents rated the following three criteria as the most important for an ideal video meeting:

Speak! You! Clear!

The ability to understand each participant well is critical to a successful video conference. So before a video meeting, make sure that the microphones are well spaced in the room and properly aligned. At the beginning of the meeting, ask everyone in the meeting whether you can be heard clearly. Speak slowly and clearly - especially if the participants speak different mother tongues. Mute your microphone when you are not speaking to avoid unwanted background noise.

The simpler the better

This is particularly true of video conferencing technology. Technology that is easy to use plays an important role in a successful video meeting. If you are hosting a video meeting, make sure that the instructions for dialing in are simple and understandable and that other participants can dial in quickly and easily.

Look into my eyes, Small

Good eye contact with all participants in the video meeting is also very important. So look your interlocutors in the eyes via video. Check the camera settings before the meeting and make sure that everyone can be seen clearly on the screen.