Like most of you, we’ve been working to adjust to a world of meetings and social interactions on virtual devices. Stress of the overall situation aside, it’s been fascinating to experiment to learn what works and what doesn’t.
There is a strong chance that a remote environment will endure for a while given that this is the “new normal.”
Here are the best virtual meeting and engagement tips and ideas we’ve come across.
Think about the purpose and desired outcome for meetings you are setting. There are four broad reasons to hold a meeting:
- To influence others
- To make decisions
- To solve problems
- To strengthen relationships
“Since all of these are active processes, passive passengers in a meeting rarely do quality work.” (Harvard Business Review). This is more critical in a virtual environment, especially for sales conversations. Are your customers engaged? Multitasking?
Be more judicious on time.
People now face “Zoom Fatigue.” People now feel like they must make more emotional effort to appear interested. The absence of many non-verbal cues has made intense focus on words and sustained eye contact. It is exhausting. We’ve certainly felt this, along with “Meeting Recovery Syndrome”, at the end of a busy day. How about you?
Consciously consider meeting attendees.
This applies to both your team/company and your customer’s. Based on the desired meeting outcome, who are core vs secondary meeting attendees? (Tip: The more is not merrier unless it’s a “rave, soccer match, or concert, then more is scarier.”) Make exclusion purposeful, not personal. It’s also increasingly a team effort – have someone monitoring “chat” and polls, taking notes, etc. so you can focus on your audience.
Consider the 4 R’s of Customer Engagement: Be Relevant, Real, Relatable, and Reliable.
Then, based on your objective, attendees, and time: think about the amount of content required. And then halve it. Focusing on “MVP: Minimum Viable PowerPoint” (also from HBR) is something for us all to consider across meetings, presentations, proposals, etc. Especially with all of us in back-to-back-to-back virtual meetings. Less is certainly more.
Channel your inner movie set director. Consider your camera angle, posture, appearance and even lighting. Virtual meeting should be treated with as much preparation and effort as in-person ones.
Even though Brevet’s team is used to a virtual sales environment, adapting to a fully virtual experience has been a huge adjustment. We will continue to learn and improve. We welcome feedback from you on these ideas and others.
About The Author
Warren Shiver is a Partner at The Brevet Group, a management consultancy focused on end-to-end improvement in sales force effectiveness. Warren’s leadership has helped numerous organizations build high-performing sales teams focused on the right go-to-market strategy, disciplined sales process, and well-designed enablement tools.