Videoconferencing Guidelines. You need more than just a dress code.

Videoconferencing Guidelines. You need more than just a dress code.

For many, video calls used to be the odd FaceTime or WhatsApp session with family and friends. Video conferences are part of business life, and even more so now. This article looks at what to consider about how they are run.

Face to face meetings currently mean a short walk to your computer and joining a video call to talk with colleagues, clients, prospects and partners.
For any system that you use within your business you need to look at the pros and cons - the benefits and the risks - of the system and how you use it. The same goes for the videoconferencing system you use.

I am sure you have guidance on what attire should be worn when taking part in such a call. Here are some other items to consider:

Screen sharing
Prior to using the screen share features, first check what you have displayed on the screen.
Turn off notifications or, if you have the luxury of two screens, ensure that notifications appear on the other screen.

Chat boxes
Typing into chat boxes should be done with care, especially if is a so called 'private' chat. As with any conversation someone else might hear by mistake. Everyone should assume that any comment they make will be read by more than just the recipient. Some platforms include contents of private chats in the recording provided to the person who runs the meeting.

File Upload
What can be uploaded, if anything? Just because the videoconferencing system has this capability there is no reason why you should use it. Your normal file sharing system is still working after all.

What are you talking about? If the subject is of a highly confidential and/or sensitive nature are you using a videoconferencing system that has the appropriate security and privacy features?

Devices that listen: Get every attendee, or at least yourself and team members, to turn off any smart device that have voice command capability. Disabling the voice command feature itself is a good start but this is not always sufficient. I wrote about why these devices are listening last year.
People who shouldn't be there: Ensure someone is checking that only the expected attendees are on the call. Use 'lobby' or 'waiting room' functionality where available.

Spotlight on Zoom
It would be remiss to not take a moment to look at Zoom. The security and privacy in Zoom (or lack of) has been in the 'tech' news for a while. This is now being picked up by mainline news agencies as well. The likes of the faux pas made by the UK Cabinet in their use of Zoom for one of their meetings being one of many reasons. A good article that details flaws in Zoom, and actions to take, is one written by Glenn Fleishman. Others, of the many, articles to read are from Wired and the BBC.

The April update to Zoom closes at least one of the issues - securing access to meetings. If you have a Zoom account you will have received an email about this. Read the email carefully: if you send a link, as is the norm for most users, then not much will change. More details are on the Zoom Help Center

As stated at the start of this article, it is all about weighing up the risks and benefits.

There are many videoconferencing systems out there. They are a very useful tool in the current times. Select and use one with care.


As always, treat any link that you are sent with caution. If in doubt pick up the phone and verify the details with the sender.



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