Simple Steps Toward Unified Communications Etiquette

You’ve heard of table manners, bedside manners and email etiquette, but have you heard of Unified Communications (UC) etiquette? It’s probably not a topic of conversation you typically hear in the elevator, but maybe it should be as audio and video conferences, chat sessions, and screen share become more commonly used.

Here is a simple list for each of the common UC features:

Instant Message and Presence (IM&P)

Use it, but don’t abuse it. Instant message wasn’t titled “instant dissertation.” It is a message, and, as with all messages, it ought to be short, sweet and rather informal.

Presence status should be used for both the recipient and the provider. Updating your geo-location assures folks that the presence is current. Furthermore, respecting others’ presence status is just as important.

Video Calls

Video did kill the radio star, but it doesn’t have to kill your manners. Be attentive. Use video to better express your message. Place the camera at a “glance-able” area. It doesn’t have to be dead center on your face, but it shouldn’t be completely 90 degrees to the side of you either.

The tilt is key. Make sure the camera is at an angle that compliments you. Adjust the camera so you are seen from the shoulders to the top of your head. If you conduct video calls with people outside your organization such as customers, partners, or vendors, consider the appropriateness of items in your surroundings that are in view on camera.

Lighting is important. If you sit near windows, you may need to adjust window coverings. A small desk lamp may help balance the lighting from overhead fixtures or overcome shadows. Try a few different combinations and you will discover what works for your situation.

My Room

Collaboration sessions are very productive. People join and improve the meeting. Even though the option to drag a person into a meeting is available, it is more polite to ask someone to join your My Room session instead of dragging them in unprepared.

If you’re doing desktop / screen sharing, please close your personal URLs and files. We all love to know your wishlist on Amazon and what kind of pet you’re considering adopting, but keep those private until after your desktop sharing session is over. And disable email notifications so we aren’t distracted by the popup every time a new email arrives.


Use them and use them as often as possible. The proper tools are what makes any chef, mechanic, artist and communication expert successful. The speakerphone is a wonderful tool, but best used when required. Don’t be that person on speakerphone while walking down the street.

Keep the headset near the main device. That way, you are not stuck telling conference attendees or callers to hold while you look for your headset.

Now that you’re ready to strike up a conversation in the elevator about Unified Communications etiquette, be sure to share this post with your colleagues!

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