Virtual meetings, anyone? Meeting with prospective customers is taking on a whole new approach, at least for the time being, thanks to the coronavirus. Salespeople who have never done anything but in-person meetings will now have to adapt to these new changes in the world. With many salespeople working from home, most for the first time, it can be challenging to get things started smoothly.
“If you run meetings virtually without any hiccups, your personal brand will feel polished and professional,” writes Joseph Liu for Forbes. He draws on his own experience with online meetings to craft some tips for those who are new at it. With just a few tweaks, you can boost their professionalism and wow prospects and clients.
Below are just a couple of highlights.
Virtual meetings: Technology
It's crucial to make sure that your at-home technology is running smoothly. Double check everything, from your internet connection to the volume settings to the microphone. “While you can't completely avoid technical issues from occurring, you can reduce the likelihood of technical surprises by taking the time to test your web conferencing application well in advance of your meeting or interview,” Liu writes.
Often, programs like Zoom require some set-up and permission granting prior to use — make sure you’ve done all this on the virtual meeting platform ahead of the meeting. He suggests setting it up so the webcam is right at your eye level. Some people place their laptops directly on their laps, which usually gives the other person a perfect view of their nose.
“Ensure your webcam is at eye level so your image will look more natural as if you were both sitting across from each other at the same table,” Liu writes. If you aren’t sure how to do this with a laptop, he suggests simply putting it up on a box or stack of books to bring it to the right level.
Make It Feel Real — Virtual Meeting Etiquette
Try to keep your clothing professional. It might be hard for the customer to take you seriously while wearing loungewear or an old t‑shirt. Would you buy insurance from someone who looks like they just rolled out of bed? It goes for pants, too. Switching out those pajama pants will make you feel more professional, even if the other person can’t see your lower half.
When virtually meeting, look at the camera and not the screen. But, Liu concedes, it can be tricky to master. "While looking at someone's image is perfectly natural (what we do in person), looking instead at your camera will make it seem like you're looking directly at them, which creates a stronger connection," he explains. While this is subtle, it can significantly impact how well you connect during virtual meetings.
These are only a few suggestions from Liu’s list of 12. The others cover topics such as lighting and multitasking. Just because you haven’t conducted virtual meetings before doesn’t mean you can’t start doing them successfully now. It is an excellent opportunity to hone your skills, and, as Liu writes, “you can use them as a way to further build a positive personal brand so you can be known as someone who's digitally-savvy, current, and professional,” all of which customers will value both in-person and virtually.