How to make a great (virtual) first impression when working remotely
Impress potential clients and make online meetings a breeze with these top tips
Video calls: love them or loathe them?
As recent world events have unfolded, many of us have had to very quickly get to grips with (and often, overcome our dread of) virtual meetings.
Once an informal way to catch up with family and friends, video calls have now become our most important tool to build and maintain client relationships.
Along with mastering the technology, we also need to consider how we conduct ourselves during online meetings, especially if it’s the first time you’re meeting a potential client. In their eyes, you are the face of your company—so how you present yourself matters!
To help, here are our top tips on how to make a great virtual first impression in every video meeting.
Present yourself well
While you may only see a small thumbnail of yourself during your virtual meeting, the other participants might be viewing you full screen—so pay attention to the details!
- First off, dress appropriately for your meeting and make sure your appearance is neat and groomed.
- Before the meeting starts, check your camera position, plus the lighting and audio quality.
- Familiarize yourself with the basic features of your video conferencing software, and do a test-run of any presentations to make sure there are no technical hiccups.
- See how your background looks on camera: get rid of any clutter and smarten things up, if necessary.
- Lastly, do everything you can to prevent distractions (like children or pets) from disrupting your virtual meeting.
Behave as you would in an in-person meeting
Because it’s harder to feed off body language cues during a video meeting, it’s all the more important to visibly show the other participants you’re listening and engaged in the conversation. Here’s how:
- Sit up straight and pay attention
- Try to look at/near the camera when speaking
- Avoid looking at other screens, unless you’re looking up something that’s relevant to the conversation topic at hand.
Avoid doing any of these things!
All of these are big no-no’s when it comes to business video calls.
- Don’t eat or snack (unless you’re having a virtual coffee break or virtual lunch meeting)
- Avoid typing unless absolutely necessary. It can be extremely loud for the other meeting participants, and may drown out the voice of the person who’s speaking. We recommend making notes by hand, or muting your audio when typing. You should also mute yourself if you are in a large group meeting and you are not the active speaker.
- Avoid getting up and walking away from your screen, unless it’s absolutely necessary. In this case, you should explain why and excuse yourself first. It is also highly advised that you turn off your video and audio if you have to temporarily step out of the virtual meeting.
Lastly: don’t be tempted to turn your camera off!
Everyone finds it hard at first to be themselves in a virtual video environment. But at a time when in-person meetings are off the cards, getting to know others face-to-face (albeit through a screen) is truly the best way to build trust and nurture a prosperous professional relationship.
It can be very awkward to have a virtual meeting where the person sees you, but you can see them. If you are unavailable to use your camera, suggest a phone meeting instead, especially if this is a meeting between you and another person.
Top tip: if you record your meetings, try watching the replay to see if you can give yourself any pointers to improve on for next time.
Use these tips on how to make a great virtual first impression for your next video meeting and you’ll be well on the way to presenting yourself, and your business, in the best possible way.
Do you have a great tip for successful virtual meetings?
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