Computing Resources

Videoconferencing Guidelines for Participants

First-time Participants

  • Arrange to purchase or borrow a headset with a microphone. This will create an intimate listening environment and help block background sounds so you can focus.  Using headsets  avoid the nasty feedback loops that can occur when laptop speakers or external speakers are positioned right next to a built-in or external microphone. They will also help to eliminate echoing and background noise when you speak.
  • Allow 30 minutes to prepare for the meeting. Get your computer ready by downloading any applications that may be required.  If you think you will need technical assistance, start earlier.

Before the Scheduled Conference

  • Test your audio equipment (headset or speakers and microphone) to make sure they are working properly. If you are having problems, try the following:
    • Make sure the jacks for your headset or speakers and microphone are plugged in completely, and into the correct ports. Check to make sure the icons or colors match.
    • If you’re using a headset with a built in mic, check for a volume control in the connecting cable. Make sure the mute switch is turned off and the volume is turned up. 
    • Check your computer sound settings and make sure your sound output and microphone are not muted or set too low.
  • If you are using a Webcam, reduce the angle between your camera and your gaze by putting the camera near your display monitor, preferably the area you watch the most often (in most cases, the top rim, the top-left or the top-right). This will look natural and feel natural too because you’re looking at the other participants.
  • Get your desk ready for the event. Clear a space and have a pad ready for taking notes.
  • Turn off your IM and email to avoid distractions during the meeting.
  • Let your colleagues know you will not be available and post a “do not disturb” sign if needed.
  • Make sure your computer monitor (and webcam, if applicable) are positioned for comfort.
  • Prepare yourself mentally for the event – commit to participate.

During the Scheduled Conference

  • Log in at least 15 minutes early and be ready to start the session on time.
  • Log in with your full name.
  • Orient yourself to the conference environment. Know your options for chatting, window sizing, etc.
  • Introduce yourself in the chat area – include your geographic location and organization’s name.
  • Be patient waiting for a response to your chat messages.
  • Signal the presenter and wait to be acknowledged when you want to say something.
  • If you are not called on by the presenter, look for an opening and identify yourself before speaking.
  • If you need to leave the room, use the appropriate icon or command, or type “away” to alert the presenter and other participants.