Very quickly the world has been forced to communicate virtually. We are fortunate to be in constant communication with our coworkers, customers, and prospects using video sharing and other communication platforms. However, this practice, while not completely foreign, is not the norm for many businesses. There are certain hurdles to overcome if you want to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine.
Follow these 10 tips to ensure you can run your day to day meetings and keep your business “as usual”.
Simple as it sounds, a good virtual sales meeting starts with making sure you have all of the right equipment and software in place. Check with your IT team for the most up-to-date versions and have them tested. Have a colleague who can be your “Tech Test Buddy” and set up a meeting ahead of time to check audio, screen share, and navigation of each tool.
Regular in-office interactions with colleagues provide subconscious reminders of important topics to discuss in upcoming meetings. That won’t be possible in a remote world, so it’s extremely important to build a solid agenda and ensure each participant knows what is expected of them for the meeting.
Literally. Check what is behind you when your video is on. Remote work is already distracting itself, and an attention-stealing background is the last thing you want during video conferencing. Opt for a plain background to maintain your audience’s attention at all times.
Turn on Video
Video is a must in virtual meetings. Body language is an essential part of communication, yet easily left out in remote work. Take the initiative to share your video in both internal and external calls. Putting your video on will likely make your customer/prospect feel comfortable to turn theirs on as well, and you will have a much more comfortable conversations.
An Internet-connected computer in a relaxed environment sets you up for distraction. Now imagine you’re trying to work in that setup all day. Close all other applications that are not vital and expand to full screen so you do not have anything else on the screen. It’s crucial to keep the same level of attention in a virtual meeting as you would a face to face meeting.
It’s also important to assign roles for the meeting when you set up an agenda. Who will share their screen? Who will take notes? Who will manage the time? This will allow the meeting to flow smoothly without interruptions.
Use face-to-face etiquette
A rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t do it in an in-person meeting, don’t do it in a virtual one. This covers a broad range from what you are wearing, where your eyes are gazing (not at your phone), snacking and everything in between. Of course, there are times when you might end up with your child on your lap in this unprecedented situation, but continue to do your best to be respectful to your colleagues and clients while keeping your friends and family safe.
Be on the same page
It’s important for everyone to have the same access to information at their fingertips in any meeting. It’s even more so when you are not sitting next to each other to quickly share information. By using shared dashboards, reports, and presentations, you can ensure there is a central location where everyone can access this information (and even pull it up ahead of time to prepare).
Share the mic, but mute
During an in-office meeting, it’s easy to have a natural flow of conversation. However, virtual meetings can bring out the awkwardness of who should talk and when. The host of the meeting should build in questions and call on participants. However, when you aren’t speaking, please remember to mute!
Ask for feedback
This is a learning experience for all of us, and it’s important that we get more comfortable with this new norm. After big meetings, assign a member of the team to send out a survey to get feedback from the participants. What went well? What can we improve upon? While we hope we can return to normalcy, most companies have virtual workers and/or might think to expand to different offices where virtual meetings are a necessity. So, ask for feedback and iterate to make these virtual meetings as impactful as they can.