How to Make Virtual Meetings Efficient and Successful

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by Jane Hanson

How to Make Virtual Meetings Efficient and Successful

Are you shocked at how much you’ve used technology these past few weeks as you are bombarded with Zoom meetings and skype calls?   I’ve been amazed and frequently enchanted by the creative uses of technology:  Easter Sunday services; cocktails with old and new friends, chatting with my 100–year-old Aunt from her quarantined nursing home, created a costume dance birthday party, and of course daily exercise my heart out to live classes …

And ALL of my coaching work has literally turned virtual, which has been a sweet spot for some time.  I’ve worked with clients all over the world, and the one universal quest they have is … how do I make my virtual meetings more efficient and successful.

My advice begins with lessons from my TV time as a broadcaster on NBC, where we were always on camera—coming to someone’s home through a screen.   Now you too are being called upon to be a “broadcaster” of sorts, where you want to get people to tune in and stay tuned.   Here’s a few easy tips on how to make it better.

First:  Create a good script.   By that, I mean prepare well.   Agenda, info, and what you hope to accomplish with the meeting sent out in advance.  And be on time—beginning and end.  We couldn’t ever be late for a newscast.  Be punctual—especially as a participant.

Second:  Get your technology right.   Make sure it works; Learn it well — Zoom for example has lots of tools to add to the visuals; sharing your screen with video or white boards is simple and engaging.  Make sure EVERYONE is on camera.   When they aren’t, it could mean they are multitasking and don’t want you to know.   Face to face meetings, we show our face.   Do it here to.

Third: There’s an old saying in TV news:  Don’t bury your lead, which means put your bottom line up front.  Ask yourself:   What do I want the participants to take-away from it … then make sure your messaging addresses that right from the top.  It sets expectations, and helps you be timely and efficient

Fourth: Keep people engaged with the use of “teases” — that’s like the anchor saying: “Coming up next …” so you’ll stay watching.   Use rhetorical questions throughout that will help create drama, and keep people interested.  And call on specific people by name.   Keeps everyone on their toes.

Fifth:  Get the set right.  There’s a reason producers spend millions of dollars on the desk, lighting, & background for a news set. You can do it too.That means pay attention to your setting, camera angle, what’s behind you, and the lighting. Haven’t we seen a few too many plants growing out of heads?  Or looking up nostrils? Simply putting books under your computer screen will give you the right eye contact.  Keep your background simple – avoid patterned wallpaper, too many objects, messy shelves, open doors, glaring windows.  People judge you by your background— Admit it — you know you’ve done it too.

And finally dress like the professional you are, appropriate for your job and your audience.   Think business casual—not your hoodie.   Psychologically it makes you feel more like a work environment, and that’s important.

All of this is a recipe for success — I’ve got much more in our virtual trainings – reach out, happy to help! 

Emmy award winning television journalist and coach Jane Hanson has spent over 30 years helping people learn to communicate better.

Not only does it enhance their presence, and ensure they resonate with every type of audience, but in today’s fast paced world, it is imperative to be on one’s game 24/7. Hanson focuses on three core elements: what you say, how you say it, and how your body language keeps it all in sync. Learn more.


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