Since the beginning of lockdown many of us are using virtual meetings to keep our businesses running. We’re hosting meetings with clients, suppliers, colleagues, friends, and family. We’re attending conferences and networking online with other business owners and decision makers.
Zoom meetings have opened up a whole new way to connect and interact. We can chat with people in the next room, the next town, across the country and the other side of the world. For some people it’s the new normal. They enjoy the possibilities of networking without geographic boundaries, without hours of travel and without additional expenses such as fuel, restaurant food and hotel accommodation.
For other people, it can be a bit daunting. It can be scary to download and learn a new app. It can be unsettling to see colleagues in their homes and out of the office environment. Equally, it can be nerve-wracking to turn on your webcam for the first time. Are you embarrassed about the clutter on your bookcases, or your lockdown hair roots showing? Are you worried about having a sip of coffee, scratching an itch, or looking bored? You may feel like you’re on show but really it’s no different from when you were in face to face boardroom and networking meetings.
I’ve compiled these top 5 tips to help reduce any worries or fears you might have about online networking. I attend dozens of meetings each week and I’ve seen the good, the bad, the funny, the serious and everything in between!
Tip 1 – Check How You Look
It might seem obvious but use Zoom’s preview window to check how you look before you join a meeting. It only takes a second and you can check for spinach between your teeth or if you need to move into or out of the light. For best results, face a window rather than having the light behind you as this can cause your face to be in the shadow. Think of it like checking yourself in the mirror before leaving the house.
Tip 2 – Arrive Early
Many of the 4Networking meetings open 10 minutes early. This is so the host can check everything’s working and so they can greet people as they join the meeting. As an attendee, you can treat this as an extra networking opportunity. You’re getting an extra 10 minutes of free networking time. Lots of people use this time to say hello to people they already know, to give testimonials and recommendations, or simply just to observe and settle into the meeting.
Tip 3 – Use The Group Chat Feature
When arriving in a Zoom meeting remember to introduce yourself. This could be with a smile, a wave or saying hello. It will let the host and other attendees know you’ve arrived and, if appropriate, you can also advertise your business in the group chat with a short description and contact details. At the end of 4Networking Zoom meetings everyone is encouraged to save the chat. This means your contact details will be seen again by the attendees. You could consider putting a free download link or details of a special offer in the chat to encourage follow ups.
Tip 4 – Enjoy The Meeting
Being in a Zoom meeting is a great way to connect with people from all around the world. There are brand new 4Networking meetings connecting people from the UK with business owners in America and Australia, and many new groups emerging in the near future. Remember, while the meeting is taking place if you need to make a call, get a drink or take a toilet break, you can always switch your webcam off temporarily while you leave the room. If you’ve set a custom background this can continue to advertise your business until you return.
Tip 5 – Always Follow Up
Just as I advised to write your own details in the Group Chat feature, I strongly encourage you to read through the chat and connect with people after the meeting has finished. This works equally well after virtual meetings as it does after face to face meetings. It can be as simple as “great to meet you today” to “would you like to meet for coffee”.
Bonus Tip – Every big opportunity starts with a little conversation.
You never know who knows who or who will recommend you further down the line. Ask questions in your 121s. Be interested in the other attendees. Remember the golden rule, “Meet, Like, Know, Trust” and enjoy your Zoom meetings.
Rachael Chiverton, Focus Guru – Giving You Your Time, Your Way
www.getfocus.guru | 07756 772950