Tips for a successful online meeting.
Recently I have been coaching on how to successfully transition from face to face meetings to virtual. This seemingly small change has induced the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome, a fear of being found out, that weren’t necessarily evident in a face to face meeting.
What are the issues?
When hosting a virtual meeting with a client we experience a lack of control. As we struggle with the following:
- How to build rapport
- How to keep the client’s attention
- How to stop the client checking and responding to emails
- How to achieve a positive outcome
What’s the difference between face to face and virtual?
In a nutshell, it’s the unspoken “rules”! The actual act of being in a physical meeting room means there is a tacit agreement about acceptable behaviour. There is an assumption that everyone in the room has signed up to the same set of rules which remain pretty much unspoken. We don’t need to think about the agreed boundaries as everyone pretty much adheres to them.
This is not true of the virtual environment. Your client may find it perfectly acceptable to bash out an email and check their text messages in a one to one virtual meeting while you are desperately trying to build some rapport. Some clients act as if their behaviour is hidden, even though it is in plain sight.
Watching your client check their emails and text messages whilst pretending to listen to you can induce an imposter episode. You start to feel rejection from your client as you feel the success of the meeting running away from you. Worse still as the meeting draws to a close, you feel a failure for coming away with nothing.
How can you take control and turn it around?
Here are some top tips for having a successful virtual meeting.
This is the key. What do you want to come away with? In the words of Steven Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “begin with the end in mind. Clarify the outcome you want and then work it backwards to the starting point so you can plot how to get there. This will also help you understand what behaviour on the part of the client might stop you achieving your goal. What problems are you anticipating? How will you overcome them?
Now you’ve decided what a successful meeting will look like for you and you’ve understood what you need from the client, it’s time to establish some housekeeping rules that you will all adhere to.
Rather than sending out an email listing a set of guidelines that are easy to ignore, it is much more effective to partner with the other meeting attendee(s) to agree on a set of boundaries. Start the meeting by asking “Are you expecting any calls or emails that need to be answered?” Then have a “What happens if….?” conversation. What happens if your phone rings, will you need to answer it? What happens if you get an email, will you need to respond? Get their agreement as to how they will conduct their behaviour around certain scenarios.
You probably told everyone when the meeting was first booked how long it was going to be. However, that might have been several days ago. It is a good idea to make the timekeeping part of the verbal contracting. Ask your client how long they have as a way of getting them to commit to a timeframe.
Once you have sorted the timekeeping and done some contracting, you will find it much easier to build rapport as you have the client’s undivided attention.
If you would like to have a chat in confidence about managing your Imposter Syndrome then call me on 02030581790 or contact me