Operating virtual meetings is as much of an art as it is a science. The science is your mastery of your meeting application, preparation, and operations during the gathering. The art, and fun, is how you deliver a "best-in-class" experience that leads everyone to their desired outcomes. With virtual meetings now firmly established and challenging the need for telephonic or in-person huddles, we thought it'd be helpful to offer some quick tips & tricks to assure you're mastering not just the science but the art of running an effective virtual meeting.
Your subject line matters. Think of this as having the same objectives as any subject line in your marketing efforts. You want it to remind the recipient who you (or your organization) are and why you're meeting. Short-sweet, and to the point is best as you'll want them to see it in their calendar and think this is the meeting I have to attend. Here's an example of what we recommend:
[YourName_or_YourCompanyName]/[YourContact_or_YourContact'sCompanyName] - [why we're meeting]
Customer Success by Design/Your Awesome Business - customer vision strategy session
Use a video conference line. Albert Mehrabian's Silent Messages theorizes 93% of an individual's credibility is determined through nonverbal cues. His research affirms the value in face-time for building trust and relationships. Thankfully there are multiple video conferencing solutions (many free) to choose from. As a bonus, the video conference ensures you're able to share collateral immediately, rather than wasting time spinning up one during a teleconference call.
Test your tech prior to the meeting. Nothing kills meeting mojo more than choppy application performance or technical issues launching the call. Give yourself at least 10 minutes prior to the gathering to run your software and assure it's performing as expected. Don't forget to check audio as much as video performance, and have a backup ready to go in case you need it.
Minimize visual distractions. Your goal is to have people focus on solving a problem. You don't want your audience straying to zany background images or other eye candy. Do your best to find a quiet space in a non-descript environment, and present the visual part of you as you would if you were meeting them in person.
Open and close strong. Remember people will see your face and attitude is everything. Smile and thank people for attending. Describe how you'll be running the meeting and allow for introductions. Close with next steps, gratitude, a smile, a wave, and a reminder that you're looking forward to seeing them again!
One can (and should) truly geek out on generating best in class virtual meetings as it aligns perfectly with creating a customer-centric culture. Audiences, problems, and technologies will continue to evolve and customer experience leaders will need to revisit their practices frequently. That said, the framework above will offer a sound foundation for anyone looking to transition their team from telephonic or in-person to video-based meetings.