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AmityVideo Horror: How to Avoid the Scariest Video Mishaps

While many people associate horror with classic tales of paranormal activity,  such as in the Amityville house, a new version has surfaced for our modern day and age driven by the evolution of technology. In today’s connected world, you could argue that nothing is more frightening than technology gone wrong.

No, I’m not referring to rebellious AI or rogue autonomous vehicles (although that does sound scary) but everyday usability mishaps that are just as capable of striking fear. Studies show that four million U.S. employees, or 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce, work from home at least half of the time, up from 1.8 million in 2005. That’s a 115% increase in telecommuting since 2005. And increasingly, employees use video conferencing for business calls in lieu of voice alone because it provides a more personal and impactful way to communicate. Video is no longer a “nice to have,” but a necessity for collaborating with remote teams.

 While technology advances make video conferencing easier to use, major mishaps still occur. Recall this story of a young woman unwittingly calling into a video conference in the nude or imagine wrapping up a call and complaining about a frustrating client, colleague, or boss just to realize the meeting is still open. Sounds horrifying, right?

However, companies should view video collaboration technology as a tool to empower employees to communicate more effectively and efficiently instead of something to fear. The most common cause for video mishaps boils down to a lack of etiquette. Here are the key pillars for proper video behavior to avoid some of the scariest of video mishaps.


Remember: You’re connecting with human beings

The Internet has a nasty habit of dehumanizing people, proven by the rise of Internet trolls and online harassment. Always remember you’re connecting with another individual during video calls. Treat your virtual meetings like any in-person interaction, which means being present, engaged, personal, and polite. Give the discussion and the partner with whom you’re connecting the same courtesy you would in a meeting in the office or chatting with someone in the breakroom over coffee. You wouldn’t talk about someone behind their back in a physical space. Why would you do that in a virtual space?


Smile You’re on Camera

Don’t let appearances fall to the wayside. Just as it’s important to look presentable at the office, apply the same standards to working from home and connecting with others over video. Shirts, collars, ties, or any other typical work attire (from the waist up) is important to present yourself as professional as you would in person. The benefit? Shorts or casual pants aren’t seen!  

Your body language makes just as big of an impact as your appearance. Don’t forget to take note of your facial expressions. Research shows that first impressions are formed in milliseconds, whether correct or not, and are largely based on instinctive responses to your demeanor or the way you look. The happier and more relaxed you appear on camera, the more trustworthy you will seem to the colleagues, customers, or superiors on the end of the call.


Keep Your Focus

Avoid the urge to multitask. You may think checking your emails or responding to chat messages during a call is hardly noticeable, but you would be wrong. It’s incredibly easy to spot someone preoccupied with other tasks on video. Maintain good eye contact, by looking into the camera rather than at yourself, while speaking and listening to other participants and don’t forget to ask questions to truly engage yourself in the conversation.


Come Prepared

You wouldn’t show up to an in-person meeting empty handed or ill-prepared and video calls should be no different. Don’t leave others on the call waiting while you fumble around looking for your documents or notes. Make the meeting a natural fit for your remote participants; for example, host your meeting on a platform that doesn’t force remote participants to download or install software or plug-ins to work. Avoid audio issues by using a headset, testing your microphone, and finding a quiet space. Find an appropriate camera angle beforehand, positioning yourself squarely and evenly, avoid backlighting and awkward views.

Effective communication, whether in person or virtual, is vital in this digital-first world. Today, video is used not only to collaborate with teams, but to close deals, consult doctors, attend classes, or speak to financial advisors, making professional video etiquette an absolute must.