Career Advice

23 July, 2020

Eye Contact Rules When Video Conferencing for Work

Etiquette is just as important in the virtual world as it is in person, and yet, many people have still not adapted to the common courtesies of today's digital gatherings. Keep the following eye contact essentials in mind during your next video event.

Look at the Webcam

It's impossible to actually make eye contact while video conferencing, but you can at least make an approximation of it by looking straight at your webcam. This may feel awkward at first, especially as you're conditioned to look at people's faces when chatting. Remember, however, that when you feel as if you're looking participants in the eye, your gaze is actually lowered. 

Keep Distractions Away From Your Device

Surrounded by the distractions of your home environment, you may be tempted to look away from your screen from time to time. Unfortunately, with the webcam focused on your face, this tendency will make you appear even shiftier in a video chat than it would in real life. If possible, remove all visible distractions from your workspace to ensure that you can concentrate your full attention on your chat.

Minimize Images of Yourself

It would be rude to spend the entirety of an in-person conversation looking at the mirror, and yet, that's exactly what many people do during video chats. While it's perfectly acceptable to occasionally glance at yourself to determine lighting quality or whether any distractions are visible to other videoconference participants, there's no need to continue gazing at your image. This will keep your gaze lowered and prevent you from giving the impression of eye contact. Disable images of yourself if possible on your app of choice.

Videoconferencing is definitely an adjustment, but proper etiquette can make it feel a lot more like an in-person gathering. Do your part to adapt your behavior — it will feel natural before you know it.