As businesses in some states begin to reopen, video meetings will still remain the new norm for conducting client meetings.
Most of us have little experience with video conferencing, so this is still uncharted territory. You might be struggling with questions like, “How can we ensure a good Zoom experience for our client meetings?” or “what is the proper etiquette to follow for video calls?”
We’ve been dealing with similar questions, and we’ve discovered some good techniques and strategies to help create a good meeting experience. We’ll be focusing on using Zoom, a video conferencing platform that has gained immense popularity in the last few months. There are other alternatives such as; Google Meet, GoToMeeting, and Cisco Webex, but in our conversations Zoom has been adopted as the most widely used virtual conferencing software so our tips will focus on that platform.
Before the Meeting
If this is your first meeting or webinar using Zoom, practice with another co-worker if possible. If it’s not possible to practice with someone else set up a practice meeting with yourself. Practicing helps you become familiar with the features of a Zoom meeting.
Practicing will decrease your anxiety during the call and therefore improve your experience. Focus on learning how to respond to a chat message, mute someone (including yourself), unmute someone, remove someone from a meeting, record the meeting, and share your screen with the audience.
Next, spend some time getting used to talking to your computer. Practice looking at the camera and replicating a normal conversation. This will help you feel and look more natural during the meeting.
On the day of the meeting, get on Zoom, and look at how your setting would appear to the audience. If you are not in your office, consider what’s in the background. If you’re worried about your surroundings, consider using a photo background to hide any unprofessional items such as your king-size bed or your child’s Elsa tricycle. You can adjust for this in Zoom settings under video options.
Do a sound test to make sure your clients can hear you and you can hear them. Investing in an inexpensive set of headphones with a microphone can ensure good audio quality for everyone on the video conference and decrease the likelihood of picking up background noise or feedback from other participants’ audio.
Finally, make sure to adjust the Zoom settings to fit your meeting needs. A few settings that you should be particularly mindful of is the call masking feature, which allows you to hide a few digits of the participant’s cell phone, the renaming function (which allows you to change your name as it appears on the call), muting, disabling video, and the automatic notification that states that the call is being recorded. There are a few more so familiarize yourself with Zoom’s meeting controls by watching this video if you have any additional questions or specific meeting needs.
Helping People Get on the Call
This is a frequent problem we’ve experienced with our clients. If you set up the meeting, you also need to be able to help your clients, who may not be tech-savvy, get on the call.
Your client’s ease of access sets the tone for the call, so follow these steps to ensure all your bases are covered.
- Have a back-up option if the person cannot manage to figure out how Zoom works. This happens, so it’s good to be prepared.
- For meeting with multiple attendees, appoint someone in your office to address last-minute stragglers who can’t seem to log in or lost their call information. You don’t want to hold up the meeting to deal with these issues.
- Include a “how-to” video with the invite that displays step-by-step how to download and use the Zoom app.
- Send the dial-in instructions more than 30 minutes before the call, and suggest that people test their login 10-15 minutes prior to the start time.
During the Meeting
Like any planned event, there will be some unplanned snafus you were not expecting. Here are some tips to avoid the traps we experienced when we were first wading into video conferencing with our clients:
- Log on 5-10 minutes before the start time. This makes sure that everything is tested out and working correctly.
- Don’t expect most of the meeting attendees to show up until five minutes after the start time. Plan for interruptions and give space for connection issues.
- If it is a presentation-style meeting, such as a webinar, have a moderator to help the presenter address any questions that may come up over Zoom chat. It’s highly distracting to have to field questions as you are speaking, and it will be obvious to the listener.
- Close your other windows, especially email and anything client-sensitive. You don’t want to be in a screen share, end up on the wrong page, and accidentally expose something you shouldn’t have. Do not minimize these screens; close them. Operate under the assumption that if the screen is up on your computer, the audience will see it.
- Turn off your cell phone to eliminate distractions.
- Look at the webcam while you talk because it helps replicate eye contact. It’s a common mistake to look at the other information displayed on Zoom or at your notes, but this may have a distracting or jarring effect on the audience because you’ll be looking away from their eye line.
- Many people who are camera shy prefer to show slides without having people see their faces. Your clients and prospects will be significantly less trusting and invested in the meeting if they can’t see you. Body language communicates more powerfully than any words. If you are nervous know that as you have more Zoom meeting experiences with your clients, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable with the platform. That’s why practicing helps.
Closing the Meeting
If you recorded the meeting, tell your attendees you will send them a replay of the meeting. If you’re hosting a webinar, you’ll usually find fewer people than registered will attend, so we would recommend recording all webinars. By recording, you’ll be able to send a link to those who were not able to attend and still maintain contact with the registrants.
Understand that when you signal by saying something like, “So that’s it! Thanks for joining us!” people will naturally start to leave. This is different from a phone call where people won’t want to offend you by hanging up –- but they will on Zoom! Cover all the important details before signaling the end of the meeting.
Try your Best and Be Positive
As we meet with our clients and prospects, we are getting better at Zoom conferencing. However, don’t be surprised if we fail to follow a few of these etiquette rules ourselves from time to time.
Nevertheless, in the true Healy Spirit we are committed to creating a positive experience anytime you have an interaction with us.
Have questions about your business or personal insurance? Let’s connect.
About the Authors
Connie Greenwood, Personal Insurance Advisor
Connie Greenwood has 35 years of experience as an Insurance Advisor. She enjoys helping her clients and prospects understand their insurance options, and crafting insurance solutions tailored to their unique needs. Connie finds great joy in being a trusted advisor for her clients. She loves helping protect their financial welfare against unforeseen accidents and circumstances and bringing them peace of mind.
Tim Pingel, Personal Insurance Advisor
Tim Pingel has almost 20 years of experience as a personal insurance adviser. He provides individuals, couples, and families with home, auto, and umbrella insurance. His ultimate goal is to be his clients’ trusted adviser and expert, so they have the peace of mind and protection they deserve.