Online meetings aren’t new, but we are all moving rapidly towards using technology and taking leaps that we’ve been putting off in order to be successful in this new normal. So, maybe this is a refresher for you – or maybe you’ll learn some new tricks. Let’s dive in.
Your needs here are basic – internet, webcam and audio for each of your audience members and a secure video conferencing platform to do it on. Most online meetings can now be attended from a computer, phone or tablet from almost anywhere that one can get online.
(Because your needs and the regulations where you live will vary, I’m going to refrain from making suggestions on platforms by name – but I’m glad to have a conversation about pros and cons anytime.)
We have an opportunity to innovate in how we approach our meetings in the new normal:
1. Be real. If only one positive comes out of the situation we find ourselves in today – let it be that we embrace the real us. To be human is to be vulnerable. Get on that video call and show your face. The real you – without a recent haircut, manicure or dye job. Skip the makeup if you want… skip the pants if you want. You are enough. You be you, and let others in your tribe know that they can be themselves too.
2. Break the ice. If virtual meetings are a newish thing for you and your team, consider throwing in a team building or icebreaker exercise. This could be as simple as having everyone stand up, stretch as one and clear their minds to focus on the task at hand. Or, as kitchy as a summer-camp icebreaker game. Try using the polling feature on your meeting platform to ask an icebreaker question with three possible answers and share the results with the team. This simple exercise can demonstrate that we are going through some of the same challenges and experiencing some of the same emotions. Choose an activity that will be mildly entertaining while highlighting humanity and strengthening the bond of the group. We’re all in this together, so be sure you connect as people before you dig into the work.
3. Be organized. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to add a virtual collaboration and task-management platform to your team’s software arsenal. More on this in a future post, but I can’t stress enough that you need to get your marketing deliverables in a live space that you can all communicate in. Don’t suffer through chain emails or forwarded work product ever again. These antiquated solutions are bad enough when we are all in the same office building, and nearly impossible to be productive with in an all-virtual space.
4. Be considerate. Be sure to communicate the anticipated length of your meeting ahead of time. Working from home means different things for each of us. Some are juggling kids, loved ones or caring for the ill, so be respectful of everyone’s time by planning ahead. You’ll need a digital agenda that can be found on your above mentioned collaboration platform prior to the meeting. Invite others to the task to add agenda items or resolve items that don’t need to be included in the meeting. Set a timeline for the meeting and stick to it, scheduling additional conversations for items that need more time.
5. Be branded. Brand awareness is paramount when we are dealing with each other in a digital paradigm. Take advantage of ways to showcase your brand online. Adding a branded background to your video calls is a simple way to break up the monotony of online meetings. Depending on the virtual meeting platform you choose, there are also opportunities to brand your business throughout the process of setting up, inviting and registering your audience for your meeting.
Meetings are a powerful piece of our cultural connections. Don’t shy away from them now. Push yourself to gather online. Take your brand boldly into the new normal. Keep pushing for real, authentic interaction with your tribe and keep your brand top-of-mind. If you need more ideas or a plan to get started, let’s talk. Remember, we are on this journey together.
Wishing you light and love. ~Hema