Are you using online meetings for your business?

I’ve been working many 12 hour days over the last year to build a new business. Most of my meetings since last March have been virtual meetings. If that’s true for you, or virtual meetings are an important part of your business, but you’ve back to more face to face meetings, it’s still important that you maximize your virtual meeting efforts.

Dan Smaida is a go-to guy when it comes to virtual meetings. Dan is the president of Boatman Learning Inc., and while he works primarily with financial advisors, his expertise will benefit everyone who uses online meetings for business purposes. In a recent email, Dan took aim at a number of myths about virtual meetings. Here’s what Dan has to say:

There are still bits of “fake news”about online meetings.  (You may also know them as “alternative facts.”) Well, it’s time to put some of them to bed – times have changed quite a bit in the past year.

Myth:  Online meetings are “virtual meetings.”
Reality:  Online meetings are every bit as real as in-person meetings. Your peers are doing real business online, not virtual business. 

Myth: Clients are “Zoomed out,” or burned out on virtual meetings. 
Reality:  Many if not most clients still need the interaction and communication that face-to-face technology provides.  What they ARE burned out on is super-long Zoom meetings that could have been an email.

Myth:  Online meetings “aren’t secure.”
Reality: Yes, they are.  Zoom-bombing is so 2020. You can’t do that anymore.

Myth:  Getting online is “harder” than a phone call.
Reality:  Clicking a link on your phone or PC is just as easy, if not easier, than dialing a number.

Myth:  Virtual meetings are “worse than” in-person meetings.
Reality:  For introverted clients, when geography is a limiting factor, when schedules are too tight, and when putting on dress pants is just too much, virtual meetings can be better than the in-person variety.

Myth:   It’s “harder to communicate” in online meetings.
Reality:  It’s actually EASIER to communicate complex data, processes, and math online than it is in person – technology makes it better. 

Making great online meetings a reality starts with execution. Use these strategies to combat online meeting myths and make the most of online advantages:

  • Keep your meetings short, and schedule so they get a break before their next one.  I use the 50/10 rule: 50-minute meetings max.  (Also, the 25/5 rule!)
  • Flip the webcams off when you’re looking at other things.  Give clients a break from looking at themselves in the Zoom all day.
  • Assume clients are okay with online.  Many clients actually welcome your cue and will take your lead.
  • Migrate calls online as you go.  Send them a link during a phone call and ease clients into the online experience.
  • Make it okay to be imperfect.  It’s actually a GOOD idea to meet from your kitchen with dogs barking and a sweater on.  You’re real, and you’re giving clients permission to be real instead of worried about their online appearance.
  • Get great at managing visuals and client attention.  There’s definitely an art to it – most clients learn best by seeing, yet clients can only manage a finite amount of information at any given time. You need to use visual presentation techniques adapted for the small screen.

Dan has some Online Meeting Accelerators that will help you apply this thinking to your own practice and online meetings.  He’s running one now and he reports “it’s a blast – advisors are turned on by the power of online meetings when they realize the possibilities.”

Dan says “If you or someone on your team would like to discuss how to level-up your online meetings, let me know by booking a call with me here.

What’s your experience with online meetings? Start a conversation in the comments section.

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