Virtual networking is becoming more common as we move through these interesting times. I believe that virtual meetings will continue in the future even after we can physically be with others. Virtual networking has different nuances than in-person networking and understanding how to utilize this tool to help you build your network of influencers, referral partners, and prospects which will increase your success.
As I write this article, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 situation, which prevents us all from gathering in-person. Many network groups are moving to a virtual meeting platform for the time being. Each of us can quickly join local groups, larger national, and even international groups. New opportunities are open to us all.
How we show up on these meetings and how we market ourselves is a little different than in-person. We use the same basic techniques, although how we deliver them is a little different.
There are a few different applications available to use for virtual meetings, although I like to use the Zoom platform, for a few reasons. Everyone can create their account, and it is not necessary to have the paid version to join other meetings. It is easy to use, and they have a variety of helpful video tutorials and articles on their site to help you get started. My references for specific tips will be referring to the Zoom platform in this article.
Most meetings will give each person 30-60 seconds for an introduction to the group. If the group is larger, then separate zoom rooms are often created. There are even speed networking groups where you are moved from place to room to have more time with individuals. You will want to have prepared beforehand your introduction, or still, most call it your “elevator speech” before the meeting starts. Have your message made in a 15 second, 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60-second format. Because each session is different in how much time is allowed per person, you will be ready for what is specified.
These are the seven key areas to include in your introduction speech
1. Your name
2. What you do
3. Who you serve – your target market/customer
4. Pain or Problem you solve
5. Result – the benefit you provide
6. Your why – what drives you, your passion
7. Closing goal/statement or call to action
Review each area and write out your speech. Once you have it to where you like it, then you can edit it to have shorter speeches ready.
The more prepared you are, the more professional, confident, and competent you will be. Rambling on and on serves no one. Get to the result you solve and what and why you are different. People are always wondering what is in it for them.
When you have your message detailed of what results you provide and how you help others, you will be able to use this in all your conversations. I won’t go into all the details in this article; you can visit our website for more information.
The first few seconds in “showing up” is just as important in person as virtually, if not more so. When you select “join” on your computer and enter the zoom meeting, those at the meeting will be watching you as you enter the meeting. It is to your benefit to be prepared as you are entering the meeting. Why? Others are forming an opinion or impression of you in those first two seconds, of which they will use in judging you throughout the session.
How to show up.
1. Be in front of your computer and look directly into the camera. When you enter the meeting, you will have eye contact with everyone creating positive interaction. Don’t forget to smile!
a. You don’t want to hit join and then walk away or not be in the camera view. What others see is your background, and they are wondering who joined the meeting? Where are they? What are they doing? And if they have something else to do, then why are they even joining the meeting? Joining a meeting while multi-tasking does not create a positive first impression.
2. Name – Make sure your name is displayed on the screen so others will know who you are and can call you by name. One thing about zoom is if you forget someone’s name, it happens to all of us; you can still easily use their name because it is right there in front of you.
a. You don’t want to use your company name after all your “company” is not on screen; You are.
3. Profile photo – make sure you have a professional photo of yourself. Each time you turn off your video, your photo will display. This way, all other participants will know who is in the meeting. If you don’t have a picture displayed, all that shows on the screen is your name, and no one likes talking to a black screen.
a. Don’t try to get creative here, use a photo of yourself. Again, don’t have your company logo or a picture of your favorite pet or whatever else you come up with to display. People want to know who is on the call.
b. If you join the meeting with your video off, this is even more important to have a profile photo.
During the meeting:
I find it even more important to remain “on” during the meeting. What I mean by this is we are used to attending in-person meetings where we move around the room, look around the room and others while in conversations, which is acceptable when in-person. When this is done virtually, it becomes distracting to others on the call. Be present when you have your video on. When you see everyone in the gallery view, we tend to scan all the various thumbnail videos of those on the call. If you are doing something embarrassing, be aware that someone on the call will see it. If you need to get up and move around for some reason, simply turn off your video for those few seconds and then turn it back on when you are situated again. This way, you won’t have someone watching you wondering what you are doing. It distracts others and is disrespectful to the speaker because you are taking attention away from them.
We have created a few videos on our YouTube site to demonstrate why this important visually.
We are all learning how to use virtual meetings right now to our advantage, whether for business or personal reasons. Virtual meetings will continue for all of us as we move into the future, even after we can physically meet once again. It is time to become comfortable in front of a camera and not hide from view. Currently, we hear different predictions of how business will be conducted in the next few months. Mastering the skill of virtual meetings is one that will increase your success now and into the future.
Need help with your introduction speech? Download our free resource. It will give you a step by step guide in how to create your effective introduction.