Stop Just ‘Getting By’ Online: [At least Some] Virtual Meetings are Here to Stay

It is amazing to see the advancement of virtual meeting use and interactive team engagement through technology. It is equally as amazing to see that there are still firms—and team members—who refuse to engage these resources.

Market participants are indicating that they fully expect virtual meetings to continue at least until the fall of 2021. While we expect an eventual return to ‘normal’, we believe the value of reduced travel, time and costs for business meetings will drive an ongoing preference for virtual meetings, at least some of the time. No longer can the prospect say ‘sorry I’m out of town then’. Now you can say, ‘we’ll, lets at least meet virtually. How does next Tuesday look?’ In short, it will be harder to say ‘no’ and easier to stay connected, if you are willing to participate virtually.

So why are so many individuals still struggling with getting ‘online’? We here about technology issues, background issues, and some simply don’t feel compelled to show their faces. Like many things in life, ‘showing up’ will begin to matter. Like it or not, the face time virtually is all we have right now, and it might start to separate the cream once again (those eager enough to engage that they invest themselves in their interface) with the crop (those who simply want to avoid the limelight and aren’t invested enough to get on board). Ironically, this is not, based on our experience, limited to ‘non-tech’ folks. There are individuals and institutions who have businesses related to technology, and still elect to avoid being ‘seen’. We believe this will be an error that companies will begin to pay for long after the pandemic ends. And it will end.

Virtual meetings can be incredibly productive; they are likely here to stay. After the dust settled and firms got ahead of the virtual meeting learning curve, we discovered that these opportunities are not just good for our travel budgets—they are simple, efficient, engaging when done right and highly economical. More online meetings and less unnecessary travel will likely remain long after the social distancing ends. Knowing how to make the most of your virtual meetings has become a crucial component of organization

success. 2020 taught us the value of creating a good “Virtual Corner” (i.e: the one sliver of your home office with good natural lighting, a clean background, and a place to prop up your laptop to a flattering angle.) We learned just how crucial it is to be prepared—to have all unnecessary windows closed and the presentation ready to share. We mastered the art of the mute button and learned how to truly connect online. Some of us love it, despite how tiring it is at the end of a long ‘zoom’ day. So what can and should companies do?

1. Take stock of your own organization—what platform(s) are being used? How often? Which teams are most productively using them?

2. What has been the meeting activity remotely? How does it compare to the actual face time in live meetings one year ago?

3. Who is not getting on board and why? What technology support can you provide to engage these individuals?

4. Would training be valuable? Has the firm offered any formal training on platform usage, firm positioning expectations and guidelines, etc.?

5. Is the virtual meeting becoming more interactive is folks become more comfortable with it? Are more people participating? Are white board applications being utilized? Are slides and presentations being shown?

6. Is the team winning business/expanding relationships through online meetings?

Take stock of your firm’s virtual meeting preparedness for 2021, and make the adjustments needed to make the most of the new year.

Need team training and a structured virtual meeting strategy? We are here to help.