There’s an old story of two sets of lawyers having a meeting. One group was from New York, the other from California. The Californians thought the New Yorkers to be stiff and unfriendly because they wore suits; the New Yorkers thought the Californians didn’t take their meeting seriously because of their casual dress. There are certainly some cultural waters to navigate, but, in general, you want to be taken seriously on a video conference, you have to treat it like an in-person conference.

While it sounds good in theory to be able to go to work in your pajamas if you telecommute, for everyone who is not Hugh Hefner, it’s probably counterproductive to not get dressed up for work. Putting on a nice suit, even if no one is around to see it, can put you in a professional mindset, and serve as a constant reminder that you are working.

Now, throw video conferencing in the mix, and the importance of business etiquette is magnified. It’s important to be well-groomed and well dressed, and to be affable. Do your research ahead of time. Know what you’re talking about. If it’s a job interview, know the company; if you’re interviewing a regional manager, have all the relevant statistics at your fingertips. If you can, know about the person you’re talking to. Also keep in mind your face and body language. A video conference is a visual medium, but don’t approach it like you’re auditioning for a role on television, treat it like a face to face interview.

Related Articles:
Video Conference Etiquette Part Two: Technical Tips For Videoconference Success
Telepresence Robots: Far From Automatic Acceptance
VoIP in the Bathroom?