Virtual meetings are the next best interaction to in-person meetings. Because most of us are required to stay at home currently, we are all using the various tools for virtual meetings. In business, we have meetings covering multiple topics, just as if we were meeting in the company conference room. Visually seeing one another helps everyone communicate better and articulate our ideas and concerns.
Today many people have not used these tools to communicate before, and we are all experiencing poor judgments, annoying and distracting behavior, and embarrassing moments on video. Worse is that so many are recorded!
You can go to YouTube right now and search “virtual meeting gone wrong” and find various clips of people going to the bathroom, naked, in their underwear, in bed, and various other issues. It is surprising and understandable how easy it can happen. When discussing matters with coworkers and friends, we become comfortable and forget that it is not a one-way mirror. One embarrassing mistake is remembered for a long time. Gossip now is more than just hearsay, with most of the virtual meetings being recorded. These mishaps and poor judgments are more than just a humorous act; they ultimately affect your reputation, work, and interaction.
One story I was told last week was of a senior trainer with a financial advisor company who held a training session with six newer advisors. Five of the six showed up on the call as you would expect, dressed, awake, and ready to learn. One person showed up at the meeting in bed. The bedsheets covered him from the waist down, so nothing embarrassing was showing, but in bed none the less.
Why was this such inappropriate behavior?
What we must keep in mind is the two-second approach. In the first two seconds of meeting or seeing another person, we form an impression of that person and determine several things about him or her – are they friendly, trustworthy, confident, competent and knowledgeable. This impression we create then forms a filter where all future communication and interaction passes through this filter. We all do it. It’s the way we’re wired. And we believe we are correct with our summary 67% of the time, so we rarely change, and if we do, it will take 5-12 interactions on average before we do. Understanding this, lets breakdown the circumstances of this meeting.
Let’s review what impressions and filters created in this story.
- His manager likely thinks that if he is not able to get out of bed to learn new skills to be successful, most likely, he won’t.
- He is selfish minded, not thinking about the others on the call and how disrespectful this is. After all, when these meetings at the office, he wouldn’t show up in pajamas.
- He doesn’t take his job or the meeting seriously.
- He is not in the best frame of mind to learn after all the bed is not for learning, but sleeping, he didn’t set himself up for success.
- When sharing this story with other business associates, these are the various comments I received: He is a slacker, lazy, disrespectful, loser, ignorant, and the list goes on.
In this one-act, this person created an impression that will affect his future success in his career. I would not be surprised if he is doing something else in six months.
We are unable to have meetings right now in person. I have been having “coffee over zoom” for some time now to network with others. One to one virtual conversation is great because it saves both people time and travel expenses. How we show up on these “coffee chats” are just as important as any business or company meeting. You create an impression filter about the other person and use it throughout the conversation. Don’t forget the person you are meeting with is doing the same about you.
We may not physically be in the same room together, although virtually we are in the same place. Remember this vital fact, and your decision about how you show up is easy. You wouldn’t invite your prospect to meet in your bed, or go to the bathroom with you, or hold on while you get dressed.
When you show up your virtual meetings professionally, presentable, prepared, you will create a positive filter for others who will view you as someone who is:
- and Likeable!
And these attributes will help you create even more success in your future.
Review the article posted last week about best practices for virtual meetings for necessary steps to follow to make sure you show up in the best light. Following best practices will prevent you from being the next most embarrassing YouTube video.