Virtual Meetings 101 – 9 things to check before the call
As we settle into the new normal of working remotely, virtual meetings have become a part of our workday. When working from home, conducting meetings and furthering deals with customers doesn’t need to come to a halt. Using online platforms that allow audio and video communication along with some more features that make it easy to facilitate a virtual meeting is a big part of how companies can continue doing business.
While conducting such calls isn’t really rocket science and we have all used such a platform a few times before in our lives, there are certain things you should check before you go on a call with your clients or business partners. Ensuring that you have a checklist of sorts to go through before starting any virtual call allows you to eliminate any margin for error and be prepared for anything that may come your way during the call.
This is especially necessary if you have been working as a field sales rep and aren’t used to a work-from-home remote set up. When getting ready for a meeting face-to-face, the kind of preparation you do is different to what you will do for a virtual one. Getting ready with your printed marketing materials, lucky pen, and presentation file is a vastly contrasting pre-demo checklist than the one you will need in the time of COVID-19. Get comfortable with a virtual platform as more and more meetings are taking place through web conferencing using screen-sharing presentations.
Read through this new checklist to make sure you are completely ready for your meetings and presentations online!
Choose the platform you want to use
Even before the pandemic shut down offices, remote working has become a trend among many professions all over the world. Due to the ease of use and the fact that it allows you to speak conveniently with people in different parts of the world, web conferencing has become popular and has moved ahead of just Skype. There are now a number of different web-based audio and video conferencing platforms that allow people from all over to connect with each other.
Based on convenience, pick a platform such as Zoom,GotoMeeting or Google Meet, all of which are easy to use and convenient for everyone to access. Depending on what your client is comfortable with you can pick one of the many web-based platforms everyone knows how to use and can connect to.
Check what device your client will be using
Always make sure to check with the person you will be speaking to about what device they will be using and what they are comfortable with. If the platform being used is new to them, remind them to download it and help them set it up if needed.
Letting them know your plan for the presentation will also allow them to better choose a device depending on whether it’s just an audio call, a video call, needs screen sharing, etc.
Set up an invite for the virtual meeting
As a host, you will have to set up a meeting on the platform you and your client have mutually chosen. Add the title, date, and time, including the purpose of the call. Make sure to check the time zones and set up the invite accordingly.
Email and create a calendar invitation
Once an invite for your virtual meeting has been created, you will get an attendee link with conference code and call information. Email this to everyone who will be joining in on the call with a formal invite and ensure everyone can confirm the meeting time and date.
Make sure to also create a calendar invitation with all the details to the web conference so your attendees don’t have to search through their email inbox for the required information when it’s time for the meeting.
Join early to check how everything is working
There is nothing more embarrassing than getting on the call and realising your microphone isn’t working or there’s a problem with your internet connection. Always log in 10 – 15 minutes early to make sure all systems are working perfectly without any glitches.
Ensure screen sharing is possible
This is one of the most important aspects to check before any meeting. When you are presenting, using the screen sharing option is very useful as it allows everyone else on the call to see exactly what you see on your screen. This way you can display product and service presentations, without having to ask people to open different links and documents individually on their own screens.
Prepare your screen for sharing by closing all tabs and windows with personal pictures, social media, emails, and such. Look at your screen like your client would and remove anything that looks unprofessional and doesn’t need to be viewed by them. If you are presenting something, open and maximise it on the screen so when you start sharing that’s where you being and don’t need to scramble to find your presentation at the last minute.
Add the attendees to the meeting when they come online
Most online meeting platforms require the host of the meeting to add the attendees into the call when they come online and ask to join in. As people start coming online, make sure to be there and add them in. Being late and keeping them waiting will look unprofessional just like in a meeting in person.
Record the meeting if needed
Before you begin, take permission from everyone to record the meeting if that is necessary. Recording the meeting will allow everyone to go back to it at a later date for important points discussed. It also works as a record to use for people who weren’t present in the meeting at that time.
Stay calm and don’t panic!
Every once in a while, even after ensuring everything is working perfectly, there may be a hiccup or two. Right as your virtual meeting starts, your neighbour’s kids start playing loudly outside in the pool or the gardener starts mowing the lawn – these are unforeseen things you just can’t do anything about!
Keep in mind that everyone has been through this at least once in their life and that it’s okay. You can’t plan for everything so stay calm if something does go wrong. Instead of panicking, laugh it off and move forward with your meeting.
These tips may seem basic but trust us, running through this checklist can save you a lot of time last minute! Adapting to the new normal is the best way to move forward as a sales rep. Learn the best tricks to make remote working easier and keep carrying on with making deals.