In the past few months, we've all suddenly had to become proficient with video conferencing applications such as Teams, Zoom & Google Meet. Whilst these tools have proved invaluable, they do come with a few risks.
Everyone on the call can hear everything that your microphone picks up.
Teams, Meet and Zoom all have fancy algorithms to try and reduce background noise, but they won't stop the people on the call hearing things that you might prefer them not to.
- Try to take calls somewhere private and reduce background noise as much as possible.
- Use headphones so that other people around you can't hear what the people that you're calling are saying.
- Mute your microphone when you're not speaking.
Check what the people that you're calling can see behind you
Most applications give you the opportunity to see a preview before you connect to a call. Make sure that the backgrounds are as empty as possible. Notice boards in offices or posters on walls are good examples of things you might not wish to share with people on the other end of your video calls.
- Check the preview when connecting to video calls to make sure you're happy with what the people you're calling can see.
- Use the virtual background features if your application supports it
Careful what you share with screen sharing
If you share your whole screen, then others can see everything that you have open. Most applications allow you to share just a single application, so use this instead wherever possible.
Some video calling applications allow you to give control of your computer to other people on the call. Please only use this feature when it's absolutely necessary (such as when calling IT support for help with a technical issue).
- Close or minimise applications that you don't need before connecting to a video call.
- Only share the application that you want others to see, rather than the whole screen.
- Consider whether documents would be better shared by another method for the others on the call to open themselves.