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Online etiquette for video chat

Skype and other video chat programs allow you to chat in real time with friends, family and colleagues around the world. You can video chat on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone anywhere there’s an internet connection.

Learn the video chat basics
Woman on video chat

Whether you video chat for business or for pleasure there are some basic rules of etiquette to consider.

Don’t be pushy

If you send someone a chat invite and he doesn’t respond, leave him alone. Barraging people in your social network with multiple invites is annoying at the least and could be considered harassment.

Skip the crowds

Just because your local pub or coffee shop has free Wi-Fi doesn’t mean it’s a good place to talk to your chat partner. You know how annoying it is when someone calls you from a loud, noisy place? Well it’s
10 times worse on a video chat.

Look into the camera

Instead of fiddling at your desk or walking around and doing your own thing, like you might when you are on a voice call, try to sit still and keep eye contact with your chat partner. Though video chat applications for your smartphone are convenient and portable it doesn’t mean you should be on the move while you are chatting.

Find your body space

You don’t want to be so close that your face dominates the whole screen or so far away that your chat partner can see the entire room behind you. Consider how newscasters look on TV — your head, shoulders and the upper portion of your torso should fit on the screen.

Put on your skirt

It should go without saying but, unless you know the person on the other end of your video chat very well, you should always be decent before starting your chat session.

Set limits for your kids

If you are going to let your tweens or teens take part in video chat then you need to lay down some ground rules. Create a safe list of people they are allowed to video chat with, which should only include people you know in the “real” world. Tell them never to accept chat invitations from people they don’t know and to report any suspicious activity or online conversations that make them uncomfortable. Talk to them about web safety, internet scams and online predators. Monitor their activity on a regular basis.

Video chat for business

Video chat services are invaluable for work too. You can hold meetings, talk to clients, present products or even have a job interview using Skype and other services. There are some additional video chat etiquette guidelines to consider when it comes to business.

  • Dress professionally — Potential clients (or your boss) don’t want to see you in a sloppy tee, yoga pants and slippers.
  • Bring things into view — If you are talking about a product, a diagram or other visual item, bring it into camera view for your chat partner(s) to see.
  • Consider time differences — When scheduling a video chat for work, find a time that works for all the participants who might be in different time zones.

Quick tip

Whether you are chatting with your grandma, an old childhood friend, your mum or friends you met online be considerate of their time. Keep your chat sessions short and sweet rather than drawn out for hours.

More on Super Mums Guide

Fun ways to balance work and family
Must-have technology for working mums
Best ways to connect with your kids

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