Our world has changed so quickly in the last few weeks. We’ve had to adapt to a whole new way of doing things—in business and in our personal lives. One of the biggest hurdles many people are facing is running virtual meetings.
It may be completely new to you, but you can prospect, sell, and lead meetings over video conferencing services effectively. There are a few keys to adjusting to this style of presentation. Once you master those, you’ll be off and running!
A lot of people don’t like video meetings, I know. We don’t like looking at ourselves on the screen.
But guess what? You look great! In fact, you look the same way you always looked at in-person meetings—you just didn’t have a big mirror in front of you then! You can adapt to this adjusted normal and still knock your presentations out of the park. Here’s how.
8 Keys to Running a Great Virtual Meeting
These tips will help you set yourself up for an effective virtual meeting. They’re relatively simple, but you’d be surprised how often they’re overlooked. With just a bit of effort and preparation, you can create an environment on your virtual call that feels just as comfortable and professional as an in-person meeting.
1. Check Your Audio and Video Settings
The last thing you need is your camera freezing up or your audio coming through covered in static. Always check your camera settings before starting your meeting, and make sure to test your audio channels.
If possible, use a headset rather than your computer mic or speaker. A headset will always make you sound clearer and more professional.
Also, when someone else is speaking in the meeting, mute yourself. When in doubt, always mute! This will prevent everyone from talking over each other, which muddles the audio significantly.
2. Check Your Background
When you turn on your camera to test those settings, pay special attention to your background. If there’s distracting clutter behind you, you might not want to have that as your backdrop. Make sure that what you’re seeing on the screen is what you want your prospect to see behind you as you speak to them.
3. Put Your Pets (and People) Away
We all love our pets, but it’s very distracting when a dog barks or when a cat walks across your desk during a meeting. As much as we love our furry friends, we should put them in a space where they can be safely contained for the duration of the meeting.
That goes for our humans as well. Before you begin a meeting, let your family (or anyone else in your house) know that you’re going to be on a video conference call and that you need to be undisturbed.
4. Adjust Your Lighting
It’s vital that your prospect be able to see you clearly, so getting the lighting right is paramount. If you are in a very dark room, is there a lamp that you can put in front of you to light your face? If you have a very bright window or a distracting overhead light behind you, you might need to sit on the other side of the table. You don’t want awkward halos or bright lights behind you that make it hard to see you.
5. Practice and Prepare
Always do a practice run before staging any virtual meeting. Have one of your teammates or family members connect with you and let you present to them (especially if this is your first time with specific software). You don’t want to lose your cool during the meeting because you’re not familiar with the intricacies of the technology.
On the day of the meeting, if you’re leading, log in at least five to 10 minutes early. This will give you time to make sure everything is running properly.
Technology can smell fear, so to speak. If you wait until two minutes before your meeting is supposed to start to log in to Zoom or GoToMeeting, and something goes wrong, you’ll have to restart your system and wait to get back in. Your prospect will be hanging around waiting on you, and you’ll start the meeting in a panic.
6. PDFs Are Best
If you plan on sharing any documents during the presentation that aren’t PowerPoint-based, convert them to PDFs beforehand. Word or Excel documents can change based on the viewer’s screen. PDFs are, in most cases, universally accessible and much easier to view and enhance.
7. Check Your Internet Speed
Nobody wants a lag on their audio or video feed during an important meeting, so it’s important that your internet connection can keep up. To check your internet speed, find a free online tool (I recommend that you Google “internet speed test”) and quickly run an assessment of your connection.
If you’re going to use video and audio (and possibly sharing a presentation), you want your download and upload speeds to be 10Mbps or higher. If you’re only doing audio, you could get by with 1Mbp.
8. Look Your Best
Just like you’d do if you were presenting in-person, you always want to make a good impression on your prospect. In a virtual meeting setting, this means adjusting your camera to head level so that it appears as if you and your team are looking directly at each other. If you’re using a laptop, put something under it to raise it up, so the screen isn’t looking up your nose.
In terms of clothes, wear something solid-colored. Distracting patterns and thin stripes cause a sort of “dance” on the screen, which can be disorienting. Simple solids are best; you can never go wrong with classic black and white!
I also recommend investing in some quality tools if you’re doing a lot of virtual meetings during this time. (Click here to see my favorite external camera, earbuds, and ring light.)
Taking the above tips into consideration, you’ll be all set to run an effective and engaging virtual meeting. And remember that this is new for many of us. Glitches will happen, and that’s okay! We’re all figuring this out together.
Until next time—stay home and sell some stuff!