In a small space, everyone can hear you sneeze. And notice you shifting in your seat. And tell that you’re not focused on the video call going on in front of you. You’re always “on” during a meeting in a huddle room. These small, multipurpose rooms have sprung up in offices across the country in response to the growing popularity of impromptu video conferences and the need for a flexible, private place to collaborate away from the noise of the open office plan. They also demand their own set of rules. Huddle room etiquette, if you will.
Huddle room etiquette demands you keep your eyes on your audience, demonstrate your attentiveness through stillness, and never, ever interrupt. Huddle rooms are for teams, for impromptu meetings, and for quick collaboration, but their tight confines and shared screens will put your digital manners to the test.
Huddle Rooms Are for Teams
Huddle rooms are more than just space-saving miniature versions of the traditional conference room. Huddle rooms and conference rooms are different beasts, and huddle rooms work best when they are filled with video conferencing cameras, microphones, and technology designed to maximize their dimensions. Chances are, you’ll have both kinds of video conferencing spaces in your office–and you’ll be under a different sort of scrutiny in each.
Conference rooms are for large meetings. They give you the space to stretch out across the table and to disappear a little into the background if you are more interested in listening than contributing. They’re great for meetings between two large groups, as well as presentations and trainings in which a single person speaks to the group as a whole.
Huddle rooms, on the other hand, generally hold no more than six people. Participants are seated in front of–or around–a huddle room camera with a wide range of vision to capture everyone in the room. You’ll use a huddle room for collaborative, close-knit meetings, the kind that spring up during a chat exchange or before an impending deadline. While things may be a little more “creative” and informal, the limited space and shared camera mean you have to be more precise in your actions.
You’ll be in here a lot, too, as it is estimated that almost 70% of meetings will take place in huddle rooms by 2022. The huddle room etiquette outlined below may soon become vital to your working life. Everyone in a huddle meeting has something to say: make sure each of you get a chance to be heard.
Huddle Room Etiquette Tips
- Keep It Simple
- Get Organized
- Consider Your Meeting Space
- Use Digital Visual Aids
- Be BYOD Ready
- Observe On-Screen Etiquette
Keep It Simple
As the research above suggests, the huddle room is about to become the most popular shared destination on your floor. With time as a factor and meetings popping up without advanced warning, it is important your video equipment is easy to use.
Look for huddle room-specific video conferencing cameras. These will feature USB and Bluetooth connectivity, wide-angle lenses for capturing multiple faces up close, and all-in-one designs that incorporate speakers into the main device. You don’t have to sacrifice camera features by scaling down your room capacity either, as the top huddle room cameras now ship with the latest tech, including auto framing and active speaker searching. And, perhaps most importantly, look for devices that are simple to use, so that your team can quickly connect with remote participants without having to get the IT team involved.
Everything that matters is now digital, especially your meeting schedule. Room-based video solutions place your shared calendar and room booking system on clear display. Some of these systems can even give you control over the room conditions before you step inside, remotely accessing the blinds, air conditioning, and lighting–everything you’d usually need to attend to–in order to save time in your meeting preparation.
Consider Your Meeting Space
With limited space available, less is more when it comes to huddle room design. Choose function over form when it comes to furniture and decorations as reflective surfaces and zany patterns can play havoc with digital video. Compact, pared-down video call hardware removes the need for tangles of cords, and closed blinds take the hassle out of dealing with fickle natural light. And be aware of your background, making sure it’s professional, neutral, and clutter-free.
Use Digital Visual Aids
Your huddle room’s valuable space should be filled with talent, not tools. Traditional visual aids such as whiteboards have been replaced with apps, and some video vendors even include the whiteboarding feature in their platform. Screen sharing and file exchange should be all you need to broadcast any presentation, video, music, or canned clip during a video conference–save the physical space for your colleagues.
Be BYOD Ready
A key signature of the mobile, flexible workforce is the use of personal devices as a link between the desk and the meeting room. Make sure your huddle room equipment can integrate with external devices brought in by your teams, and be aware that you’ll want to cater to both iOS and Android smartphone needs.
Observe On-Screen Etiquette
Are you ready for your close-up? Huddle room cameras prioritize high resolution and wide-angle lenses to effectively capture groups of people sharing a small space. That means you’re going to be front and center in every meeting…and that means you need to be on your best behavior. Here are a few tips to make the best possible impression on your fellow meeting participants.
- Don’t block anyone’s view or appearance on camera.
- Don’t act distracted or fidget, as you can always be seen clearly by your audience.
- Don’t wear loud colors or busy patterns that can play distracting tricks on a digital feed.
- Don’t interrupt people while speaking–conversation turns to noise quickly when people share a video camera.
- Be on time so attendees aren’t left waiting in front of a blank screen.
- Make sure the screen is framed to include everyone.
- Keep your eyes on the camera lens when speaking and the screen while listening.
The takeaway? Be engaged and aware during a huddle room call, because there’s nowhere to hide.