Below is a list of things I’ve noticed that annoy me during video conferencing. Working at a remote company, we spend almost all of our meeting time in video calls vs in person meetings, and people can do annoying things. I won’t lie, I’m probably one of the worst offenders for some of these items:

  1. Responding to messages in chat while you are talking with them. Nothing is more distracting than when someone tries to “covertly” respond to a message. First, it wasn’t that covert, I can hear your keyboard and notice you’re looking somewhere else. Second, I’m in the same channel as you - I can see the messages You're typing.... Solution: If you feel the need to respond immediately and are easily distracted, set yourself to “Do not disturb” mode while in meetings.

  2. Answering calls or checking text messages on your cell phone. If your house is burning down, I’m sure they’ll call back. Yes, I can see you responding to texts - your phone isn’t quite out of the frame, and you’re looking at your lap. Solution: Put your phone on silent and place it out of arm’s reach, face down, so you don’t feel compelled to act.

  3. Your video is displayed on a 2nd monitor, causing you to look away from the camera, or you don’t look at the camera when talking. It almost feels like you’re talking to someone else in the room behind your computer monitor. Solution: Either move your camera, or move your video window so they are somewhat inline and remember to look towards the camera.

  4. Your mute etiquette sucks. This is especially true in a large group meeting. You can hear random noises, like a fan running or a loud click-clack keyboard, which can be distracting for others. Solution: Remember to mute!

  5. Fidgeting uncontrollably or spinning in your office chair. Solution: Buy a fidget spinner and hold it out of frame, just try not to look at it too much (see #3). If you’re in a group meeting and not doing much talking, feel free to stop your video.

  6. Connecting with your computer but also dialing in via cell phone. Now there are two of you in the meeting and the voice/video are not synced when you talk. In large groups, we’ll see a random cell phone number and can’t be sure who’s lurking. Solution: Pick one.