Technology has simplified communications for most businesses, but the increased use of conference calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging has created a new list of off-putting behaviors that could land your business in an awkward situation.
1. Video conferencing is more widely used in recent years in an effort to save on travel costs. It’s best to always assume the microphones and the cameras are on. That means don’t do or say anything you don’t want on camera.
2. Sit still, please. You may know someone who constantly fidgets. You may even have threatened to tie them to a chair during a videoconference. Simply put, excessive movements can be extremely distracting to others on the conference, so avoid rocking, pacing, or making dramatic gestures.
3. Avoid bright, flashy, patterned clothing. Play it safe, wear neutral tones in solid patterns.
1. Don’t place someone on speaker without first telling all parties involved in the call, and don’t assume everyone knows who is on the call. An obvious solution is to use a conferencing feature that prompts attendees to announce themselves when they arrive.
2. Mute your phone if you dial in from a public area, or if you need to multi-task while on a call. There is nothing worse than feeling like the person on the other end of the line is not engaged.
3. Refrain from having side conversations while participating on calls. It makes it difficult for those on the call to understand the dialogue if there is more than one conversation taking place in the conference room.
4. Avoid loud snacks, smacking of gum, slamming of office drawers, crying babies, barking dogs or basically any noise that will be magnified and hinder communication with other participants.
5. Don’t shout into the speakerphone. Today’s high-definition phones are particularly sensitive and you may come across louder than you intend. And, if you decide to move the phone around the room, keep in mind that the audience on the other side will hear it.
1. Don’t use your speakerphone. If you assumed that using the speakerphone on a cell phone was something that only happens on reality TV, think again. It seems to be a growing trend among many cell phone users — and an annoyance for anyone standing close by. While it’s fine that you can work from just about anywhere now, don’t make everyone else part of your work day.
2. Be careful what you say in public. For starters, you never know who might be listening when you happen to be discussing confidential information about, say, customers. It’s a bad idea all around and most of the time the people near you don’t want to hear it. Believe it or not, some people are at Starbucks for the coffee.
1. Knock before entering. Most people know better than to barge into someone’s office or cubicle. The same applies to using IM. Before launching into a conversation, send a polite “ping” asking if the person is available for a quick chat. If you are on the receiving end, learn to say no if you can’t be interrupted and offer the person an alternative time to talk.
2. Keep it short. IM works best for quick questions and updates. If the message is complicated, and takes more than a few sentences, pick up the phone or get out of your chair and walk down the hall to discuss.
3. Hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign. If you are unavailable then simply set your status to invisible, away, or out to lunch.