Live Captioning and video conferencing have become an essential component of the modern world and we're here to help you learn the best practices with regards to video conferencing etiquette. Consider the following information for your next meetings, and/or share these recommendations with others to help them out the next time they're hosting or attending a meeting.
If you're the host:
- While we accept requests with up to 5 hours in advance, we recommend scheduling your events with as much notice as possible, preferably one week, to ensure we can staff your sessions. Also, ensure you provide us with the audio source of the event before the start time, preferably a few days in advance, but no less than 2 hours before the beginning of the session.
- Provide us with prep materials for the captioner, like slides, scripts, speaker names, agenda, etc.
- Ensure you have closed captions enabled in the platform you're using, and that all the technical aspects are properly set up prior to the start of the meeting.
- Ensure mic'ing is properly set up in advance for the speakers, and that you have tested the audio devices.
- Ensure you're familiar with the process of assigning and/or inviting the captioner in the platform you're using.
For specific information about the different platforms available, check out our What is the best way to stream real-time captions to end-users? article.
If you're one of the speakers or a participant:
- Ask the host in advance how captions will be presented, and how to turn the captions on/off on the corresponding platform.
- Be on time.
- If you are participating and speaking in the meeting, ensure that your audio device is properly set up and that you run a test prior to the start of the session.
- Speak clearly. Talk at a regular pace and with clear articulation of the words. Ensure only one speaker talks at a time.
- Mute yourself when you're not speaking, and, preferably, use headphones in order to minimize background noise.
- If available, use the chat function to ask questions.
- Frame the camera in a way that feels natural and allows you to look at it. Preferably, sit at eye level to the lens.
- Make sure that there is enough light in the room. Natural lighting from the sides works best, so aim for that whenever possible. Overhead lighting can work well too, but try to avoid back lighting, as it will make it hard to see your face.
- Pay attention. To get the best out of the information being presented, it is a best practice to stop checking emails or working on other projects during video conferences. Not only you'll avoid distracting others, but you will also look engaged to other participants.
- The University of Texas at Austin published an article where they have additional tips, mostly focused on classes.