Before you go online again, here are some important tips

computer devices

Written by Harold R Meyer, The ADD Resource Center, addrc.org


Check battery level on devices you will be using while online.

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.

Remember that when you are on a video call, other participants can perhaps see more of you than you want them to.

It is not unusual for a participant to forget that others are seeing them and their background. Fixing their hair or applying lipstick as if they are looking in a mirror, adjusting clothing, scratching personal body parts, etc., are not uncommon.

Are the nonviewable parts of your body appropriate for the call? (Check to be sure they are truly not visible) Should you stand up without thinking, no-one needs to see your underwear, your reaching for something, etc.

If you are arranging a video conference where some of the participants have not been on one before, it would be a good idea to have a practice run in advance of the actual meeting.

Make sure you know when you have audio and/or video turned on or off.

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.

It is not unusual for someone to be speaking to another person off-screen, forgetting that their microphone is still on.

Make sure there is no background noise, and your cellphone is turned off.

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 all.

When the conference ends make sure you are totally disconnected. If your camera lens has a cover use it.

If you are videoconferencing from home.

Let those in your household know that you are conferencing and that no one (including pets and babies) should enter. Turn off your phone.

  • Choose proper software and hardware.  
  • Before the meeting ensure your technology works correctly.
  • Frame the camera to show only what you want to be included.
  • Check the background or use a background graphic.
  • If you are using a background consider using a “green screen”.
  • Position the camera at eye level.
  • When speaking, look at the camera, not the screen.
  • Have the right lighting.
  • Check that the light emitted from your screen doesn’t cast a color on you.
  • Wear appropriate clothing.  
  • Be on time.
  • Mute yourself when not speaking.

Email/Texting/Messaging

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

  • Reply to emails promptly.
  • If you are responding, read the email carefully and perhaps highlight what you want to respond to.
  • 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 point.
  • Keep your email short. Re-read and remove all “throw away” words and sentences.
  • Avoid “talking” aimlessly in emails.
  • 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. Make sure 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, 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 impulsive and should not be included? Is it short 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.

Visit us at addrc.org

The ADD Resource Center – Local, National and International

Harold Robert Meyer can be reached at – haroldmeyer@addrc.org

1-646/205.8080 (USA)

©2020 Harold Robert Meyer – All rights reserved.