Sketiquette – 5 Behaviors To Avoid on Skype

The first time I saw a video phone call was the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing, NY.

It’s come a long way since then.  Real-time video calling is completely unremarkable today. It’s just the norm. For some reason, though, we naturally tend to think of these interactions as telephone calls and not as face-to-face meetings.  If you think about it, it doesn’t  get much more F2F than staring at a screen with the other party’s face all up in your face.

I’ve noticed that sometimes we (this includes me) do things that we oddly would not do in person, but we are very comfortable doing them on a Skype or other video call.  So here are a few things to avoid.

5.   Jammies, stained sweats, strewn about hair, 2-day beards.   I’m not saying you must wear a vested suit or a prom dress, but certainly follow the same rules you would if you were meeting the other person in person.    Part of the reason this happens it that so many of us work from home much more frequently than a few years ago.  I wrote about this a while back in another post – 10 Productivity Tips for Solo-preneurs who Work From Home.

4.  A big messy sandwich which requires both hands.  I know it’s casual but, again – would you do it in person?  A piece of candy, some carrot sticks are no big deal but leave juicy cantaloupe or the hot fudge sundae for after the call – unless, of course, you’ve figured out a way to share it digitally.

3.  Reading and responding to email that is unrelated to the conversation you are having.  I got busted on this a while ago.  Sometimes I use a headset which increases the distance beteween the mic and the keyboard.  In this instance though, I was using the built-in mic and camera on my laptop.  The other party asked me if I there was a jackhammer in the room.   Aside from making annoying sounds it is really is kind of rude to be doing something else while the other person is talking.

2.  Talking to other people who stray in to your line of hearing.  It is very obvious to someone when you’re not paying attention.

1.   Answering every other phone call that comes in on your cell or your land line.  There’s nothing like letting the other person know that you’re excited to speak with them, just as long a somebody important doesn’t call. The whole concept of taking other calls at meetings is a pet peeve of mine.  Things Not to Do at Networking Meetings.

Bonus item:  This isn’t done out of rudeness but you need to keep it in your head to make eye contact you have to look at your camera – not at the video image on your screen.  Very counter-intuitive but it helps you focus more on the conversation if you keep your gaze on the person to whom you are talking.

The litmus test  is simple.  If youwouldn’t do it when you are in someone’s office – don’t do it on Skype.

Posted on October 4, 2011, in Networking, Productivity, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. So many people don’t even realize how they look on their videoconference call. Even more so with the arrival of personal systems, where the camera frames your face up close. Here are a few more tips in preparing for a videoconference call that I’ve put together in a blog posts a few months back:
    Great article!

  2. Nice list of tips Caroline. Thanks for posting it here. If OK with you, I’m going to link to it on facebook and Twitter.

  3. Sounds great Rick! More than happy to spread the information!

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