With all the meetings, training, summits, and webinars happening on the virtual zoom platform, we have new opportunities to connect with others. Most online conferences have participants coming from around the world, it’s just not your backyard anymore. You never know who might show up on one of these meetings, he or she may be your next big client or influencer in your network.
If you haven’t noticed yet, others are “checking you out” on the call. They are looking at your surroundings or background, how you appear on the call, and your non-verbal language. As I have discussed in previous articles about how important the first few seconds are in formulating our impression of others – (you can read more in these blog articles: Seconds Count and How to show up on virtual meetings ) We are all sending key information to others on these calls. When you have your presentation setting to “gallery view,” you will be able to see everyone in the meeting, and they can see you as well. I find myself now observing others on the call, and when someone piques my interest for one reason or another, I look them up on LinkedIn to learn more about him or her. And don’t be naïve to think that others aren’t doing the same about you. I have connected with several this way on LinkedIn, adding them to my network.
Here are three ideas you can use to connect with others on zoom meetings and how you can market yourself.
1. Presenting yourself– You want your First and Last name displayed, so others will know who you are. If you only have your first name, others won’t be able to research who you are. Being mysterious won’t help you build your network. Others may know you by the first name only within your close network, but when you go outside your network, they don’t know who you are. It is vital to use your name and not your company name; YOU are on the call and not your “company.” You may be representing your company, although others will still connect with you and not your company at large.
a. Use the name display to also add your title as a descriptor. Keep in mind that as more people are on the call, the snapshots of each person are smaller, and often your name will only appear, and your title is cut off. You can easily change your name/description in zoom by clicking on the 3 dots in the right corner and select “rename”. Keep it simple, yet you can be intriguing with it—some ideas I have seen are brand mother, opportunist, strategist, money expert, people energizer.
b. Email – you can also have your email displayed after your name. I have also seen others just display their email. If your email address has your full name included, it can work well. It still provides the opportunity for others to look up who you are, and you are sending a message that you are open to connecting. Keep in mind that it is more challenging to read, and often others struggle to know your name.
2. Background – use your surroundings to describe who you are non-verbally. If you are an author, have your book or books showing behind you. Use this opportunity to market your work. Most likely, someone, if not several, will be intrigued and look up the book information during the call. If you have a banner or backdrop you use to brand yourself, product, or company, this works well to have it displayed behind you. Think of it as an advertisement. I would caution you on the type of banner you use –blatant use of selling will turn off most people on the call.
a. Virtual backgrounds – make sure the one you select supports you and your brand. I have seen others choose photos of places and things which have nothing to do with who they are. For example, I was on a meeting recently with several local members in the Austin area and a few others from outside our city; one person put up the photo of the golden gate bridge. She wasn’t from San Francisco; it didn’t say anything about who she was or did. The photo did nothing to encourage me to want to learn more about her; instead, it left me wondering why. If she had had a photo of Austin or one of our landmarks, that would have sent a better message telling others about where she is located.
3. Connecting – when someone interests you for one reason or another, do a quick search on LinkedIn to view their profile and discover if it makes sense to connect with him or her. You may want to add him or her to your network for several reasons: you serve the same clientele and can support one another; you are interested in their services; he or she is someone you can help; he or she is influential in their industry.
a. When reaching out via LinkedIn, send a personal message with your invite, not the automated one. Use the opportunity to describe why you want to connect, where you know them from (the zoom meeting), and something about yourself.
I believe that virtual meetings are here to stay. Understanding how you can utilize them to increase your presence will help your long-term success. Keep in mind that showing up incognito, (you know the ones who don’t have their name displayed), have their camera off and no photo, all you see is a black square with possibly “iPhone” displayed, it makes you curious who is lurking in the shadows. This does not serve anyone. When you show up well, are present on the call meaning attentive and respectful of others – you never know who your next connection will be and where it could lead.