Successful Virtual Meetings – Ultimate Guide 2.0

Most of us attend Virtual Meetings very often. We either lead a virtual meet or be a part of it. According to research, humans spend 5.5 billion minutes on virtual meetings, making them an integral part of our communication. This read will help you make the meetings efficient for yourself and other attendees.

The topics covered in the blog are:

  1. How to Introduce Yourself during a Virtual Meeting?
  2. Creative ways to avoid embarrassment in Virtual Meetings
  3. Ways to Sell Your Ideas on a Virtual Meeting 
  4. How to Cut Short Your Virtual Meeting Time by Half
  5. How to Defuse a Tense Situation in a Virtual Meeting?
  6. Do you need Virtual Team Building?

How to Introduce Yourself during a Virtual Meeting?

Virtual Meet

As we all know, the first impression is the last. Be it a virtual meeting, telephonic interview, online event, or face-to-face interaction; it is your intro that will render a long-lasting impression on everyone else. Always include the element of brevity in your introduction and see how the person on the other side perceives your charm. These tips will help you introduce yourself ideally in a virtual meeting. 

Avoid limiting yourself to your profile and company

At the time of introduction, don’t just confine your intro to your profile and company. Now I am not saying that you have to give a complete biography of your own….no, absolutely not. But, for instance, if you say- hi, I am Robert Williams, President of XYZ Company, you are getting a tone of incompleteness, right? 

Now, if you say, Hi, I am Robert Williams, President of XYZ Company, an agency focused in the fintech sector, providing the basis for services of digital lending, the listener somewhat gets a little more information about you, but confusion still lingers on, because the focus is on the company you are working for. But, when you say, Hi, I am Robert Williams of XYZ Company, a Blockchain expert and a Data specialist at the same time can wield skills in the field of cybersecurity- the other person gets a complete picture of who you are, what skills you possess, etc. 

Keep the intro short and crisp

Practice brevity to keep the intro short and crisp. Figure out the area that’s way too vital and talk mainly about that. Do not deviate from the main topic. It is better if you practice beforehand and record your speech. Listen to it and make the changes, if needed. In this way, you’ll also get to know if you are stammering and can work to avoid rambling. Try not to sound mechanical but confident. The shorter the intro, the more significant the impact. 

Avoid being too self-restraint

While striving to keep the intro short, don’t become too self-restraint and make your introduction sound incomplete. Grab the opportunity of mentioning all your essential information, skills, and qualities. If you’re looking for a board seat, a more prominent role/position, etc., direct the communication towards your interest and make the most out of this conversation. 

Your body language still matters!

The way you deliver the speech, no matter even if it’s in the virtual space, is critical for the listener to form an impression of yours. The pace at which you speak and the eye contact you make with your viewers matter a lot. Give frequent nods to make others understand that you are actively listening to the discussion. Stay cautious while making any hand gestures or facial expressions in virtual meets. 

Creative ways to avoid embarrassment in Virtual Meetings

Most of us have experienced various embarrassing situations. Very recently, a U.S. woman forgot to turn off her A.V while using the washroom. Effect of which her video went viral and trended on Twitter as #PoorJennifer. Loads of time, people have faced embarrassment during virtual meetings because of their pets or something else.

These situations are so embarrassing and might take a lot of time to overcome it but these moments can always be prevented with great caution during the virtual sessions. 

a. Beware of noise in the background.

b. When you’re not speaking, leave the microphones on mute.

c. Meetings that are just too long.

d. Untidy offices, dirty closets, unwashed pots, or people in the background.

e. Being unprepared and fiddling with documents is a recipe for disaster.

f. The background isn’t ideal, and the lighting isn’t proper.

g. When unmuted, chewing or sipping a beverage.

h. When at a conference, using a mobile phone.

i. Latecomers tuning in and then having to catch up.

j. Asking “Can you hear me?” repeatedly.

Here are some interactive tips to have active, efficient and successful virtual meetings:

  • Put on proper attire.
  • Restrain from eating or doing any other activity you wouldn’t do in an offline meeting. 
  • Ensure, members of your family do not show in your display. Background noises are not conducive to projecting a professional picture. 
  • Ensure that you’re on mute before you take a screenshot.
  • Before using the bathroom, kindly check that you have not left the video or audio.
  • Remain seated and attentive. Use vigilant body language while using your webcam. 
  • Restrain yourself from checking your phones while the video is on.
  • Be aware of the amount you speak in online conferences; give everyone an equal opportunity to participate.
  • Do not click the share button until you see the exemplary screen shown when you share the screen. Sharing the incorrect screen can make people see stuff that they don’t want them to.
  • Nothing is worse than a colleague who sends a personal message to you while you have shared your screen—unable alerts for windows before each video conference.
  • Most applications such as Zoom allows you to choose a digital background. Make use of it if stuck with an unappealing background.

For a meeting to be successful, everyone involved must leave with a specific goal in mind. The following are the most important topics for all to know:

  • Next steps and deliverables
  • When do such deliverables have to be completed?
  • When’s the next meeting?

Ways to Sell Your Ideas on a Virtual Meeting 

Sell Your Ideas Effectively

The era of the pandemic has seen a complete shift of businesses to the virtual model. While the sales representatives used to be constantly on the move, going about from one part to other to sell services, they now have to convince the parties to purchase the services in the virtual sphere. Being confined within the screen makes selling difficult. Virtual selling is not limited to the sales rep who is trying to sell something but this goes to a wide majority of people, including, students, teachers, and managers. The essential thing while selling an idea or pitching something new during a virtual meet is to communicate effectively. With people shifting from traditional meetings to online virtual meet, it is imperative to learn the differences between traditional and virtual meets. 

Differences between Traditional and Virtual Meets

In traditional meets, the team members meet each other physically for actual face-to-face interaction. In the virtual meets, the attendee’s login to an online video calling platform to discuss plans and carry out the decision-making process.

While many resources are spent on venue bookings and food supplies in traditional meets, less expenditure is involved in the virtual meets as there are no travelling or booking costs. 

Traditional meets contribute more excellent network building, which is not much possible while sitting behind the screen in virtual meets. 

The technical setup for Virtual Selling

  • Explore options for video conferencing software include Zoom, Google Hangouts, MS Teams, Skype for Business, etc. 
  • Keep the background clean and wall-facing. 
  • Avoid sitting in front of the window and keep the surroundings bright. 
  • Use a headset from a reputable brand to minimize audio problems. 
  • Make sure you have a solid bandwidth to carry out smooth group calling. For high-quality video, you’ll need 1.0 Mbps and 3.0 Mbps for 1080p HD video. 

Tips for Virtual Selling 

Visual Presentations: Keep the audience engaged by designing a presentation containing a list of the summarized points and illustrations. This will let the audience have a quick grasp of your plan and make it easier for them to comprehend what you’re going to say. 

Real-time examples: Make use of real-time examples to attract audience attention to your idea. These examples will impact your audience’s attention and steer their interests to know more about your ideas. 

Asking for suggestions: Always incorporate suggestions from your audience to further enrich the ideas to promote virtual selling. 

Using polls and emojis with the central idea: Conduct polls and quizzes to make for a high converting idea. Incorporating emojis will give an edge to your idea over others who’ll be simply laying down their points without any illustrations and visual features. 

Playing relevant videos and reads from the internet: Present your screen and play some videos to emphasize the idea you want to showcase to your clients. You may also go for displaying some critical articles and write-ups to convince the buyers of your idea. 

Clear Structure: To keep the audience focused, fixing the expectations and establishing clear communication is very important. Be prepared with the things that you intend to say. Use rich media to grab the attention of your prospects. 

Presentation sharing: Send the presentation to your audience in advance before the call starts. In this way, they will be able to have a look at the main points. They will be able to comprehend fully the proposition that you make over the call. The graphs, statistical records, and other illustrations that you use will catch the attention of your prospects. 

Concluding Tip

Use the Envelop Method from a famous book, Speakership. Imagine the backside of an envelope. Mention the context of the presentation on top of the flap and 3 key takeaways on the bottom of the envelope. Use the centre part to write 1 word that describes your presentation.

How to Cut Short Your Virtual Meeting Time by Half

Attending meetings all day long is highly exhaustive. Sitting in front of the screen in an upright posture will drain all of your energy. Along with those boring meetings comes the irritating backaches. So, how to manage time and reduce the meeting duration to 30 minutes? Ever given a thought about it? No, right? Say goodbye to 1-hour long meetings! For, you can do a lot more within half an hour, thus increasing productivity. 

Why is it Important to have Short and Effective Meetings?

A majority of the meetings of the corporate world last 1 hour. But why does this happen? Is it a hard and fast rule to schedule 1-hour sessions? 
Scheduling the meeting for an hour-long implies people will join late, and there will be deviations from the main topic to ensure the meeting lasts 1-hour. Planning 30-minute-long meetings will make the workers more punctual as they are aware of the limited time. You’ll see how the decisions are made quickly without any wastage of time. 

How can a meeting be shortened and made effective?

Go for 30-minute meetings: While some of your workers may find it queer and feel nervous about short meetings, everyone will get adjusted to this habit of saving precious time with time. 

Ask everyone to come prepared: To make complete utilization of 30 minutes, ask everyone to come prepared. For instance, if you have asked others to review any document or report and then join the meeting, many of them may not do so, thinking they’ll do that within 1 hour. Such a thing will not happen in a 30-minutes meeting. 

Start and End the meeting on time: Always start the meeting on time and try not to be late, even by 5 minutes. Also, end the meeting on time. Usually, people tend to talk or offer their point of view, especially at the end of the meeting. If you notice someone doing this, politely ask them to stop, no matter if he’s in the mid-sentence.

Avoid going off-track: Always be focused on the agenda for the discussion of which you have scheduled the meeting. Of course, there may be someone or the other who will try to blabber about things off the track. But don’t let anyone deviate from the meeting’s goal. In this way, you’ll be able to save time and get things done fast. 

Avoid dithering to end the meeting: While attending a meeting, you’ve often heard people saying, “Oh, we’ve got 10 minutes more, so let’s not leave the meeting now”. This intentional filling up of the time is to be avoided. Instead, once you’ve decided and plans have been chalked out, end the meeting there and then. 

How to Defuse a Tense Situation in a Virtual Meeting?

With the current crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, many works have been compelled to shift to Work from Home- attending calls, meetings, presentations, and managing office-related stuff within the domestic sphere. While the ambience at home doesn’t always remain conducive for work, it’s usually for conflicts to occur among the colleagues due to the absence of a proper working environment.

 Some examples of tense situations during virtual meetings and ways to overcome them:

Bad Internet Having an unstable network connection may lead to frequent freezing of the screen. Either you’ll not be able to hear what other persons have to say, or your voice seems to be broken for other participants in the meet. This may lead to a tense situation, especially when you’ll explain specific points or make arguments in favour of your project. 

A boring presentation: Creating a boring presentation will not keep the participants of the meeting hooked to what you’re saying. On the contrary, the lack of interest among the audience may lead to your efforts going in vain. Begin the presentation with a question to get the audience’s attention.

Avoid beating around the bush and lay down the points by keeping the content direct, short and crisp. Incorporate poll questions, quiz and MCQs to mix match the content delivery. Use media such as gifs, short video clips, and pictures in the presentation to illustrate your ideas. 

Interruptions from families: It isn’t very comfortable when the elders of your home call out by your nickname. A good impression isn’t made on your clients or employers present in the meeting. The situation gets worse with the wailing of your kids. 

The solution lies in eking out a part of the home for your working space and ask others not to call you or come to your space, especially when you’re on an important call. Finally, keep your kids engaged in activities they love and establish specific ground rules for them. 

Conflicts due to differed work hours of colleagues: Differences in working hours of colleagues may result in intense situations. The solution lies in meeting together to agree upon a particular working hour and prevent conflicts between colleagues. 

Confronting about the deadlines: Confronting the employees about the deadlines may lead to a tense situation. Always make a friendly approach while making a conversation about the deadline. For example, instead of saying, “Hey! You were supposed to submit the work by yesterday. Why didn’t you do so?” it’s always better to ask, “Hi! Is everything okay? Can I expect the pending project now?”

Difficulty in putting across a point: It is usual to face difficulty in making your point in a virtual meeting. To ease the problem, summarize your thoughts in a well-compressed form and make your point while complimenting the other person’s opinion. Agree with specific points made by the other person and then go on to put forth your point.  

Do you need Virtual Team Building? 15 Point Checklist

A. Team members are Strangers

B. Morale is low

C. Low Creativity

D. The team doesn’t know company goals

E. Inclusion of New Members

F. Consistent Bickering

G. Reduced Work Quality

H. Broken rules

I. Trust Issues

J. Loss of Focus.

K. Blatant Favouritism 

L. Unchecked Egos

M. Sky-dropping Accountability

N. Multiple resignations

Explore 51+ Virtual Team Activities

Happy E-Meeting!

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