In our new age of social distancing meetings on Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Google and Facebook* are nearly commonplace. As you re-reopen and re-build your business, you may have considered virtual meetings to reconnect with your customers and employees, too.

We think that’s a great plan, but having hosted our share of virtual events we know there’s more to making an impact than click-and-go. Here are a few steps we take to make our virtual meeting rock.

Start with Your Audience

Keep things organized and structured. Your attendees may get annoyed if people spend too much time talking about unrelated or personal topics. If people ask questions that are specific to them, ask them to write you an email or schedule a private session with them to be courteous to your other attendees.

If this is a general informational meeting or a Q&A, you may want to record the meeting for those who are unable to attend. Make sure to let everyone know that you will be recording the meeting for those who couldn’t make it, this way they have the opportunity to turn off their cameras if they are uncomfortable being recorded.

What Do You Want to Say?

Unless you improvise at world-class levels being unprepared is almost guaranteed lead to a messy meeting, so know before you begin. What questions will come up? Why are you implementing certain policies? How safe will I be in your business? How are you enforcing new policies with your employees? I don’t have a mask, will you provide one for me? You should be able to explain yourself and your decisions clearly to customers and employees. All of your policies should have a purpose, for example, if something is federally or state mandated. Let people know that you understand how to keep your employees, customers, and yourself safe.

Crisp and Consistent Messaging

Spontaneity is great but for good maximum impact people need to know about your meeting ahead of time. This is the time to use your email list, blog, and social channels to extend the invitation across all channels, repeatedly. Let your customers know you have not forgotten about them, you are or have re-opened, you care about their safety and value their business, and you’re having an online meeting for their benefit. Then repeat, and repeat again, starting at least two weeks before your event if possible.

Make a Checklist

There are many details that go into a successful meeting. Is it going to be a group Q&A? A lecture or presentation? Will it be one-on-one? Will the call be public where anyone with the link can join, or will it be password-protected? How long do you plan on the call being? Create a schedule for the call and set a time limit to keep things orderly and on track. If you are unfamiliar, learn how to use Zoom. Do some practice calls with another person to make sure you understand how to host a call. Here’s our video meeting checklist – add or delete items to fit your situation.

  • Plan the program (intention, topics, guests)
  • Set an agenda, project timeline and show order
  • Write an email sequence using your Mailchimp or ConstantContact account and mailing list (invitation, reminder, thank you)
  • Create posts for Facebook and Instagram
  • Plan video camera position, lighting, background, wardrobe
  • Create a branded virtual background
  • Practice session with presenter
  • Zoom meeting hosting and moderation
  • Live tech support during meeting
  • Video recording of meeting and attendance report

Work It

You’ve got to start with a strong and stable internet connection. If you’re working it as the star of the show you don’t want video lagging Lighting is just as important. Make sure you’re well lit from the front — a window or bright light behind and you may be in silhouette. The best look is with the camera at eye height. Nobody wants to look up and count your nose hairs, or see you on a surveillance camera.

Practice makes perfect. Run some test sessions and make sure your audio is clear. If you’re not talking, mute yourself and ask others to do the same (there are tools for this on the Zoom meeting controls). If you’re sharing your workspace ask others to be quiet or leave the room. Turn off the TV or any other device that causes noise. Keep your desk and background uncluttered to start or add a virtual background. And don’t fortet to update and test your software. There’s nothing worse than discovering a update and re-start is required right before show time.

Never Zoom and Run!

You wouldn’t stop by for dinner (remember when we could do that?) then dash out as soon as you put your fork. Same thing holds when you host an online meeting. Make sure to follow up, either with a summery of the discussion, a list of resources, or a quick survey. Did they enjoy the meeting? Would they like another session? Comments? We suggest that you make a survey on Google Forms or Survey Monkey before the meeting so you’ll be ready to send it and get feedback immediately.

More Resources

From concept to to screen to customer, RCDM Studio helps businesses increase their revenue with world class digital media development and marketing services. We can help with producing virtual meetings, too. Book a free consultation and let’s talk about how to improve your web traffic and sales.

* Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and other video conferencing systems mentioned in this post are the property of their respective publishers.