Research shows you have between 7 and 30 seconds to make a good first impression. In the virtual world the visual cues are slightly different, and can be extend over a much longer period of time.
Not only are you evaluated by the personal impression you make, the audience is taking in everything from your content to your background, lighting, sound quality and presence.
When moving from an in-person meeting to a virtual meeting, here is a 5-point check list to making it stand out.
1. Riveting. Move beyond a strong first impression. Be riveting throughout the entire meeting. Recently I was in a meeting with a colleague exchanging ideas. I’ve always admired his business acumen and agile conversation skills. Just as our meeting was about to end, I found I could not stop thinking about how well lit he was. His face radiated throughout our conversation.
By comparison I was dark and shadowed. It made a lasting impression. It also took me
much longer for my opinion to materialize as I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first.
In a virtual world there are so many other variables at play, it’s important to be riveting
throughout the meeting, beyond the first 30 seconds.
2. Engaging: The best virtual meetings flow like a conversation that has a balance of inclusiveness, shared opinions, ideation and problem solving. This means doing your homework. Sharpen your facilitation skills that draw people into the conversation.
Create agenda that is tied to the purpose of the meeting.
Know your audience – who can contribute valuable insight to meeting forward.
Engagement can’t be forced. It’s inspired by great leadership and the meeting before the meeting.
3. Insightful: Insight is the fuel that jump starts flow. It’s that gratifying “a ha” moment. Do your research to find important facts, stories, quotes and authors that can amplify message.
4. Memorable: Virtual meetings are taking a lot of heat these days due to Zoom burnout. Not surprisingly, when leaders are isolated from their teams, stakeholders, and customers, the natural inclination is to throw a meeting at the problem.
The first step in becoming memorable, is to decide if the meeting is even necessary? Sometimes the most impactful thing you can do is cancel the meeting, in favor time for people to do their deep work.
If you do host the meeting, set out to stand out. Make the best meeting of the day, week or even since the pandemic. Aim high, your team will thank you for it.
5. Mobilizing: The goal of the meeting is to save time not waste time. The biggest complaint against meetings is that they can be a waste of time. In 2017 research done by Harvard Business review showed that 71% of meetings were unproductive and that 65% kept them from doing their own work.
Help people get their own work done at your meeting by generating key take aways and commitments.