Meeting is Marketing, Too
Welcome to week whatever of Covid-19 quarantine.
Despite how taxing this stretch has been on all of us, especially from a productivity / organization / scheduling / sanity perspective, it has also proven to be eye-opening as to just how connected we can still be, even when we have to stay outside the 6-foot zone.
For many it has changed the way we think of the word “meetings” – they’re no longer a 30-minute annoyance that eats up a day’s schedule. They’ve become a new way to connect, to bond, and, yes, to market yourself and your organization.
No doubt you’ve used or heard of Zoom, the de facto winner in the remote-meeting wars. I had never used Zoom prior to COVID-19, and but I now rank it 3rd after my phone and laptop as a business essential. In that short ramp-up period, we’ve come up with a few tips to make the most of these virtual meet-ups.
Tip #1: Get Face to Face
Yes, this should seem obvious, but plenty of people are still using call-in conferences or are keeping that sticky note posted over their laptop camera. There are a couple good reasons to stop hiding. First, visual cues in meetings can go a long way. Client smiling from ear to ear? That’s pretty tough to pick up on from a voice call (and that’s a two-way street). Second, knowing you are “live on camera” helps maintain focus, something we could all use during this lockdown.
Tip #2: Be “Video Vulnerable”
This is a corollary to tip one, but it’s one that’s a little contrary to what a lot of “meeting experts” have posted in recent years. Many sites call for creating a perfectly curated background for virtual meetings; all things polished and professional. In many cases, this is great advice, but we’ve found that there’s a flip side that’s pretty powerful as well. Opening the door into your own personal WFH craziness – the cat walking in front of the screen, the hubby popping unexpected into your “work closet” – can actually create some much-needed humor and positive bonding moments. Your camera becomes an open window into people’s lives so you can know them beyond the office – which means you can better communicate directly to their personality. I had a client join a call the other day wearing a Rush t-shirt, sitting in front of a bitchin’ drum set. I feel like I finally know this guy.
Tip #3 Dress to Impress (or not)
Sweats and tees seem to be the new business casual, and that’s fine for internal meetings and for regular client updates. But a funny thing happens when someone shows up to a meeting freshly showered, shaved and wearing a shirt with actual buttons on it. People know you think this particular meeting is really important. Or, at the very least, that you aren’t 100% comfortable as a sloth 100% of the time. For your next meeting, lose the hat / ponytail. Blow dry your hair. Shave. Put on lipstick. Then watch as your coworkers comment in amazement at “how good you look today!” It’s personal marketing in the “1st date / 1st interview” sense.
Tip #4: Be Sociable
For a lot of us, “work” also involves a bit of “social.” You can do lunch or grab drinks online, and it actually feels less artificial than it sounds. It can also be a great opportunity to have a social moment with a client from out of town you don’t really get to see face to face that often. Make some ground rules – “we’re not talking work the whole time” and do what you do. Chit chat. Schmooze. Connect. You can even get really fancy / thoughtful and send a meal or booze so it’s still technically “your treat.” This works for internal teams too. Take a co-worker to lunch, or get the whole team together for a happy hour – we have one at 4 PM every Friday (which is more than we did IRL before this thing happened).
Tip #5: Have Fun with It
Zoom has a virtual background feature that is just plain good, old-fashioned, green-screen fun. Upload a picture or video and take your next meeting from the surface of the moon. Or on stage at Woodstock. You can also get clever and cook up a slick branded background on those days you want to stage to amaze.
One word of caution – with great connectivity comes great responsibility, and there are already experts that are saying people can suffer from “Zoom Fatigue,” a condition that’s marked by feeling worn out, anxious, and even depressed. So set some boundaries and keep an eye on your screen time – or just Google “Zoom Fatigue” and see what the mindfulness experts have to say.
That’s it for how to zoom zoom zoom with some marketing flair. Let us know the tips and tricks you’ve been using for your virtual meetings below in the comments.