“Success at anything will always come down to this: focus and effort. And we control both.”

— Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johson

 
Some of us are no longer working remotely full-time, but nearly everyone running a business today is meeting via Zoom or other video conferencing programs at least some of the time.
 
Whether you’re using virtual meetings to address employees, collaborate on projects, conduct sales calls, provide customer service, or network, these ideas will make your virtual connections more meaningful.  
 
Engaging and Inclusive Employee Meetings
 
Keep cameras on. When one or more individuals have their cameras off, there’s a sense of disengagement. Ask everyone at the start of the meeting to turn on their cameras and keep them on. Background noise, on the other hand, can be distracting, so also ask participants to mute themselves when they’re not speaking.
 
Try an ice breaker. An inclusive activity that prompts everyone in your group to participate is a great way to be sure everyone gets a chance to talk. An ice breaker can be as simple as asking one question and inviting each person to respond. 
 
Follow an agenda. When everyone has the same understanding of the structure of the meeting, it’s easier to stay on topic. Covering everything on the agenda helps make the meeting feel more productive and valuable to your employees. If they have a sense that your meetings don’t accomplish what they were set out to do, or that there’s a lack of order, they’ll check out.
 
Who’s on first? If you are leading the meeting, try asking “directed” questions when possible, by saying the name of the person who should respond. When participants don’t know who should respond first, there’s usually some silence and confusion until someone jumps in. You can make everyone feel more comfortable speaking by saying something like, “Let’s hear from Jane first, and then Mike and Anne.”
 
Memorable One-on-One Meetings
 
Take turns. In your one-on-one meetings, try to avoid monopolizing the conversation. Insert pauses, ask questions and listen without interrupting or talking at the same time. When someone delivers a monologue in a virtual meeting, it’s difficult for the listener to stay focused for extended periods. 
 
Create a Positive Impression for Sales, Customer Service and Networking
 
Put your best face forward. Many of the same rules that apply to meeting in person apply to meeting with them virtuall. One difference is on a video conference call, you have an opportunity be promote your business by putting your business logo in the background, either by using a real “branded” setting in your work place, or by creating a custom virtual background. 
 
Be prepared to share. During the call, you may want to share a document or images of your service or products on your screen with your audience, so be sure you’ve closed out other tabs and files before the call. If you plan to demonstrate products on the call, have them at hand so you don’t have to get up to look for something.
 
Extend the call beyond the screen. Explore opportunities to create a sense of surprise and delight either before or after a virtual sales call by extending it beyond the screen. For example, set up a meeting with a prospect for a “virtual” coffee and then send them a Starbucks e-gift card in advance of the call with a note confirming the meeting. 
 
For more tips on how to transform your business, visit me on YouTube
or email me to set up a  complimentary coaching session.
 
About the author,

As an ActionCOACH Business Coach from Chicago North Shore, I understand that time is your most valuable asset. Now, I can help you recreate your dreams and vision…and accomplish the goals you first set out to achieve with your business. Ultimately, you will experience a better quality of life because of your commitment to invest in yourself with the help of an ActionCOACH Business Coach and personal mentor.

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