I hosted a webinar earlier this week on Go to Market Strategy for SME Business owners; it was due to last 1-hour, including a bit of time for Q and A. The miracle of social media meant it was well attended, with more than 30 people online from all over the world from California to Queensland.
During the webinar, something remarkable happened.
Quite naturally and without influence, I noticed that people were engaging with each other in dialogue, using the chat box function. It wasn’t disruptive at all but, as the speaker, I did notice it and was happy for it to continue as it was a positive behaviour.
An Anxious Time for Many of Us
Even out of lockdown, this is still an anxious time for many of us. It was clear that a very basic human need to interact with others was being met for the people on the webinar, yet that wasn’t really the purpose of the webinar, it was an unintended consequence. The participants of this webinar happened to all be like-minded business owners who wanted to improve themselves and learn new skills in order to trade their way out of this terrible COVID 19 crisis.
The interaction of the participants both intrigued and inspired me at the same time and in equal measure. Lots of “goodness” was created during the call without any of that nasty “in your face selling” taking place – a very powerful dynamic. In effect, they were networking with each other at a non-networking event.
And that’s the point, networking is not always something you specifically do or an event you go to – it can be the incidental benefit of attending a learning or other event – whether online or real-world.
I’m also a member of Ralph Watson’s international virtual networking group which attracts participants from all over the world. Ralph always has an excellent guest speaker to talk on a particular topic and, that particular week, Lynda Holt spoke on the subject of bravery.
A significant benefit of this particular group is that you also get the opportunity to “pitch” your business to the other participants on the call.
Whilst pitching is a great opportunity to promote your business, it’s important to respect the time allocated for your pitch; for example, each pitch may only take 30 seconds but if there are 30 other people online that also want to pitch (you’re not required to), then it could take 15 to 20 minutes to get through just the pitches – a significant part of the overall call. However, if you take just your allocated time and deliver a perfect pitch, you will stand out amongst the rest of the people on the call. I recently produced an article on pitching which you can read here.
9-Tips for a Top Zoom Call:
- Turn up early for the call, so that when it starts, you’re already sat in front of the camera and ready for the meeting or session
- Make sure you’ve dressed appropriately. That doesn’t mean you need to be wearing a business suit but it does mean you probably shouldn’t still be wearing your pyjamas …unless otherwise agreed ?
- Unless you’re actually talking, it’s best to keep your microphone muted in order not to inadvertently embarrass yourself / distract others with extraneous noises – dogs barking, young children calling to you or being brought relentless cups of tea
- No eating during the call; drinking non-alcoholic drinks is almost certainly ok – make sure you’ve got that mute button on though. Slurp 🙂
- Look directly into the camera lens whilst addressing the participants; It will appear to everyone that you’re looking at them in the eyes and fosters an enhanced level of communication, whilst building trust at the same time
- Don’t interrupt each other; you’ll create “audio conflict” meaning you won’t be able to hear each other properly – it also disrupts the natural flow of the call and can be frustrating
- Try to keep any acknowledgements non-verbal in nature – e.g. nodding or shaking of the head, facial gestures – rather than saying aha, yes or OMG(!) This keeps the conversation flowing naturally, is less disruptive and leads to a higher quality of communication
- If there are a larger number of participants on the call, you should use the raise hands button if you want to say something. It will come to the moderator or chair’s attention and they can introduce your question – or allow you to ask it – at the most appropriate point.
- Above all, the meeting should – as far as is possible – emulate a real-life, face-to-face meeting and, if everyone observes these tips, there is a pretty good chance that it will.
So, during this period of anxiety, I encourage you to use Zoom whilst observing the tips above (though other video platforms are available). The ability to see and interact with other human faces (even mine) can create a valuable, life-affirming effect for those confined to home who may not otherwise get to see anyone else.
A very welcome, if unintended, consequence of delivering Zoom Webinars.
Stay Well. Stay Safe. Stay 1m+
Click here to see my upcoming Webinars firstname.lastname@example.org