Online meetings really are the new normal. For “people people”, they can be difficult. They feel strange and impersonal. For those who prefer smaller meetings for interactions with others, the chatter from unmuted conversations and myriad images on the screen can be overwhelming. For the private person who separates work and home into distinct compartments, the blurring of lines can produce feelings of invasion, anxiety, or even violation. And the distraction of dogs, spouses, and kids, can mean that even the most focused attendees can easily get side tracked. Combine all this with wanting to make a good impression with clients, and you’ve got tall order to fill. We’ve been working remotely with many of our clients for decades, and we’ve got five tips for remote meetings with your clients that we hope will make your days just a bit easier.
- First, plan in advance, just as you would for a face-to-face meeting. Email an agenda, if you’re in the driver’s seat, with no more than three key topics you want to cover. Or if the client has asked to meet with you, a simple, “what would you like me to be prepared to work on for our meeting?” goes a long way to setting the stage that they’re still as important as ever, and that you are taking the meeting seriously.
- Next, find a good space. In a small space like our big city condo, that can be a challenge. We’re lucky to have a dedicated office space, but not everyone does. Whether it’s your couch, your dining room table, or perched on your bed with a virtual backdrop, what’s most important is to eliminate distractions as much as possible, so you can give the client your full attention.
- Then, dress up how you want to show up. If your colleagues are into pjs and t-shirts, that’s their call. If you’re trying to mirror the client and their style is more relaxed than it might normally be, you can still do your smartest smart casual and not make a misstep. You need to present yourself in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable.
- Also, when you’re online with the client, do the same thing you might do in their office. Pay attention to their environment. Learn what you can about them that might help you create a richer connection. Find out how they like to live and work. Show some empathy and ask how they’re holding up, if this is a new way for them to work.
- Last of all, ask yourself how you need to meet, to best accomplish the goals of this interaction. Even though it is currently “flavour of the month”, do you need a video call at all? Just because everyone’s on a Hangout, a Zoom, or a Teams right now, doesn’t mean those are the right tool. Maybe just the sound of your voice is enough. Or an email. Or even an old-fashioned handwritten note. Marshall Mcluhan said that the medium is the message, and he was never more right than right now.
I’m Megann Willson, and I’m one of the Partners here at PANOPTIKA. We work with our clients to help them see everything they need to know to make better decisions. You can find us on Twitter, on Facebook, or on LinkedIn. We can meet you online, or hop on a call. And if you’d like more news you can use delivered straight to your inbox, sign up with the handy orange button.