Before You Go Online Again, Here Are Important Tips

person working on phone and computer

Written by Harold R Meyer, The ADD Resource Center, addrc.org.
Editing by Susan Lasky, Susan Lasky Productivity & ADHD Solutions
Image from Pixabay.com


Check battery level on devices you will be using before you go online.

Video Conferencing

Privacy:

  • If at videoconferencing at home, let those in your household know that you are conferencing and that no one (including pets and babies) should enter. 
  • If at the office, close the door to your office or find a quiet room. Put a sign on the door that you are on a video conference call.
  • If possible, check that windows are closed and fans, air conditioning or heating will not interfere.
  • Turn off your phone and computer notifications. 
  • Mute yourself when not speaking or typing. Suggest others mute themselves if there is background noise.
  • Make sure you know when your audio is off. It is not unusual to hear someone speaking to a person off-screen, forgetting that their microphone is still on. 
  • Same with turning off your video. Don’t take this for granted. One well-known person thought he had his video off and was caught doing something normally reserved for the privacy of one’s own home.
  • If you are running the meeting, let participants know if they are being recorded.
  • Remember that nothing will be confidential, and though you may not be recording, others may. Take it for granted that your meeting might be hacked and available to those from outside the meeting.
  • If you are using the program’s “chat” feature, make sure you know if you have it set to go to a single person or to all.
  • When the conference ends, make sure you are totally disconnected. If your camera has a lens cover, use it to be sure.
  • Never publicly share online meeting IDs or meeting URLs.

Presentation and Appearance:

  • Your tone — pitch quality and strength — are as important as what you say. Seven percent of meaning is communicated through spoken word, 38 percent through tone of voice, and 55 percent through body language.
  • Wear appropriate clothing.  Avoid flashy jewelry.
  • Remember that when you are on a video call, other participants can perhaps see more of you than you might wish. Are the non-viewable parts of your body appropriate for the call? (Check to be sure they are truly not visible.) Should you stand up without thinking or reach for something, no one needs to see your underwear.  
  • It is not unusual for a participant to forget that others are seeing them and their background. Don’t check yourself out. It isn’t uncommon for a participant to be fixing their hair or applying lipstick as if they are looking in a mirror, adjusting clothing, scratching personal body parts, etc.
  • Don’t eat or drink on camera.
  • Check how your background appears to others. Is it clean and uncluttered? If not, consider using a virtual background, and possibly a ‘green screen.’
  • If you are using a virtual background, make sure it is suitable and not distracting to viewers.
  • Check that your lighting (foreground and background) is appropriate.
  • Make sure that the light emitted from your screen doesn’t cast a reflection or color on your face or eyeglasses.


Technology:

  • If you are arranging a video conference and some of the speakers have not been on one before, it is a good idea to have a practice run in advance of the actual meeting. Make sure everyone has the same video conferencing software as the conference leader, and that they know how to use it.
  • Check battery level on devices you will be using before you go online.
  • Choose proper software and hardware.  
  • Well before the meeting, ensure your technology works correctly.
  • If using your computer microphone, test whether it picks up your voice well, both quality and volume. If not, use a separate mike.
  • Frame the camera to show only what you want to be included.
  • When speaking, look at the camera, not the screen.
  • Position the camera at eye level.
  • If you have to look down for the camera, check that your chin isn’t the main focal point.
  • Arrive early. Start the meeting on time. Announce or know when the session will end.
  • If you are running the meeting, have an agenda. Consider sending out an agenda in advance.

eMailing and Messaging:

Never take it for granted that anything you keyboard has even the slightest degree of privacy.

  • Reply to emails promptly. Keep them as short as possible.
  • If you are responding, read the email carefully and perhaps highlight what you want to respond to. Make sure all questions have been answered.
  • Choose your subject line wisely. Make it descriptive and not generic, so it will be easy to search later on.
  • Make the body of your email conform closely to the subject line. Try not to cover more than one or two points.
  • Be on task.
  • Avoid “talking” aimlessly in emails. “Eschew Obfuscation.”
  • Keep your email short. Re-read and remove all “throwaway” words and sentences.
  • Consider the purpose of your email. Do you want the reader to take action? Meet a deadline?
  • Watch your grammar, spelling, and punctuation—use spell check. Check the style. (You will have a different “style” when you are demanding payment versus when inviting someone to a baby shower.)
  • Always use an appropriate greeting and ending.
  • Remember, most communication is non-verbal. Ensure that each sentence is clear and concise; otherwise, there is a significant probability that what you write will be misconstrued.
  • Be wary of using humor or colloquialism across different cultures.
  • Only use shorthand/smiley faces, etc., if you know your recipients.
  • Before hitting “send,” reread your email. Ideally, first, save it as a draft and go back to it later (remember to go back to it!) and then do a final edit. Did you say what you wanted to say in a manner and tone you wanted?
  • Was anything you wrote impulsively written and should be removed? Is it concise and succinct?
  • Will your email be clear to someone who is not a mind reader or a psychic?
  • If appropriate, did you include a call for action, a due date, etc.?
  • Check one more time that the “send to” name is correct, don’t put in the “send to” address until the end to avoid sending by mistake.
  • Ensure you don’t hit “reply all” or “CC” or “BC” if that is not what you want.
  • For more info on emails, visit https://www.addrc.org/the-most-efficient-way-to-respond-to-your-emails.

The ADD Resource Center – Local, National and International
Visit us at addrc.org


Harold Robert Meyer can be reached at – haroldmeyer@addrc.org
1-646/205.8080 (USA)

Susan Lasky, Susan Lasky Productivity & ADHD Solutions

©2020 Harold Robert Meyer – All rights reserved.

Rev 1.2 12/12/2020

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