You should all know that starting tonight, ACG will be going online via Zoom! This will be a first for all of us and the leaders are doing what they can to stimulate community as much as we possibly can on Friday nights. To help us help you, Elliot and the leadership team would really love your cooperation as we meet together in this different format.
In order for us to maximise our experience of community in our time together online, it is essential for us to abide by good video conferencing etiquette. I’ve written up a list of standards that we should all comply with and be mindful of when we tune into the Zoom call:
ACG Video Conferencing Etiquette
- Be on time for the call
- Use your actual name as your display name!
- Do not eat while you are in the call
- In general, mute yourself unless you want to speak (use spacebar to mute/unmute)
- When speaking, introduce yourself
- When speaking, don’t shout!
- Do not interrupt when someone is speaking
- Pay attention and don’t distract yourself with another window
- Pin the expositor’s video during exposition time
- No spam talk during QnA time
1. Be on time for the call
Treat this like any other Friday night gathering, where we want you to be on time at 7:45pm, ready to worship God and to study His Word together. In terms of our starting time, nothing has changed. And since nothing has really changed, that also means that when you tune into the conference call late, you will distract everyone in the call and thereby distract people from worship and receiving the Word. Don’t be that person, alright? Be a good sport and tune into the call on time. If you really want to be safe, you can actually start tuning in at 7:30pm. So aim to do that!
2. Use your actual name as your display name!
When you click on the Zoom link, you will be redirected to an interface that allows you to change your display name. Now if you are like me, your first instinct is to type in your Discord, WeChat or Steam username that you have been using since your awkward high school days.
But having others read your embarrassing display names in the chatroom is distracting and we would highly advise that you would use your proper full names. For further clarification, these are the names that your parents gave you and the names that people in ACG know you for. I don’t want to see names like “Cherryblossom123” “Sushimaster27” “LycheenX” or “Gangsta4Lyf” entering the conference call, alright? None of that please!
Similarly, you may notice that Zoom gives you features to change your background setting and I suspect that some of you will be playing around with that function… at the expense of other people as they are trying to pay attention to the call! Please be sensible by keeping your background neutral (either a gray or white background is preferable) or go with your natural surroundings (assuming there is nothing in the background that is potentially distracting for the members in the call).
3. Do not eat while you are in the call
Now I get it, you are hungry and so sometimes it’s nice to satisfy the demands of your stomach by getting in a sneaky snack. I don’t blame you. But can you sort out your hunger before you tune in to the call? I know that some of you usually bring snacks to your tables, and so in principle it should be okay… However, given the format of our gathering, think of this as less of a table gathering, and more of a gathering in the pews as you sit and listen to our pastors preach. Would you eat during their sermons? Yeah, you wouldn’t. It would be distracting and disrespectful, so we’d kindly ask that you refrain from eating during the call. Okay?
4. In general, mute yourself unless you want to speak
If there is one thing that I want you to remember always, it is to ALWAYS mute yourself, unless you want to speak in the call!
You know what I mean. If you have ever used communication software, you would know that nothing grinds your gears more than hearing the jarring background noises from the pickup on other people’s mics. Hearing anyone type on their keyboards is infuriating. And perhaps arguably even worse (I’m talking to you boys now), no one wants to hear your mum yell in the background asking you who’s the girl on your computer.
So please mute yourself in order to reduce the distraction. If you remember this golden rule, then blessing will surely follow you all the days of your life (maybe).
You can do this by pressing the spacebar to either mute or unmute yourself!
5. When speaking, introduce yourself
Obviously, we aren’t implementing this rule because we don’t know each other’s names. But we do this because it can be quite confusing trying to identify who is speaking on the mic. People can often sound different on camera, and so it would be in our best interests to serve each other well by remembering to identify yourself!
Here is a quick template you can use whenever you would like to either ask a question or make a contribution:
“Hi, this is [insert your name] here!…”
6. When speaking, don’t shout!
If you want to see whether people can hear you, use a sensible and moderate volume and then text message the participants asking them whether they can hear you. Don’t yell in your mic, because that is the last thing we want to hear in a video call of over 50 people tuning in. People yelling increases the likelihood that others will lower down their volume, which in turn will potentially make them miss out on hearing what others have to say in the call. Be sensible, okay?
7. Do not interrupt when someone is speaking
This should be a given already. They taught you this in primary school, and it is one of the few things you learn in class that gets carried over to the realities of civil conversation. Wait until it’s your turn and look for an opening before you speak. In particular, do not interrupt the devotion at any point, but wait until Q&A session is on (that’s when you can load up your questions)!
I only thought this was worth reiterating because sometimes people intuitively chuck out everything they know about conversational etiquette as soon as they enter into a live chat room.
If you’re really desperate to say or ask something, and you’re worried you’ll forget, type it up in the Zoom group chat. This way, you can express your thoughts or questions without interrupting the flow of the session.
8. Pay attention and don’t distract yourself with another window
Lastly, give full attention to the speaker who is sharing their devotion. The Word of God is being spoken and so that demands our full attention. Exercise some self-discipline by resisting the urge to check on your phone or any other notifications that might pop up doing the video call. We want to be as attentive as we can, as we know that God is speaking to us through the preaching of His Word. It doesn’t matter whether God through His Word is speaking to you from the pulpit, or from the computer screen in front of you. Give the attention that is due to the Word, as God uses it to sharpen and shape you into the man or woman He wants you to be.
9. Pin the expositor’s video during exposition time
During exposition, it would be ideal if you can pin the expositor’s video (which would either be Elliot or I), just so that it minimises distraction for yourself and it maximises your ability to engage with the teaching during your time on Zoom. I’m wary that people will be doing all sorts of things in the background that are unhelpful and distracting, so pinning the main speaker would be beneficial to you!
10. No spam talk during QnA time
During QnA, please do not fill the chat with “irreverent babble” (2 Timothy 2:16 ESV), as it not only leads others into more and more ungodliness, but it is also just plain distracting and it filters out questions that people have written and posted into the live chat. Please make it easier for our QnA moderators, expositors, and even for those who have inquiries regarding the passage, by resisting the urge to make a silly comment in the chat during QnA. I know this doubly applies to me!
That’s about it folks. Consider all this when you walk into the call, and you will be serving your brothers and sisters well by enabling them to be encouraged, exhorted, and edified by the Word that we so graciously get to hear every Friday night.