Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” While many aspects of our daily personal and professional life changed in the last year, the importance of preparation and accuracy of this quote did not. Preparing for meetings in a virtual world has many parallels and some differences to in-person preparation. Below are some best practices we have used at Good Karma Brands.
- Set aside dedicated time to review notes from previous interactions with your contact. You don’t want to be clicking through your CRM or turning pages in a notebook to find your points.
- Prepare for the meeting as you would in a normal setting.
- Consider your goals going into the meeting and how you hope to accomplish them.
- Prepare a few implication questions that will help you learn something about your customer that you didn’t know prior.
- Test the Technology. Make sure you know all of the video conferencing functions, how to screen share, etc. to show you prepared for the meeting.
- Dress as if you were meeting in person. This not only makes you look more prepared for a meeting, but also will help get you in the right mindset.
- If you are bringing other teammates on the call, set up a video call to prep them beforehand. During internal prep call to discuss strategy and send them an agenda at least 24 hours in advance answering the following questions:
- What you want to accomplish
- How you plan to do it
- Who will be in the meeting
- Who will be leading the meeting
- Schedule a virtual “parking lot meeting” fifteen minutes before your call. Thanks to Steve Politiziner for creating this term. In a non-pandemic world, the parking lot meeting is the time before the meeting where you meet with teammates in an actual parking lot to discuss last minute details and review roles for the call.
8. Once the meeting begins, be present! Tom Coughlin, a Super Bowl winning coach says, “be where your feet are” and that is more true and more challenging for virtual meetings. There are a lot of avoidable distractions, like pop-ups on your computer, texts from friends and other focus-altering beeps that we can avoid. Mute all the distractions that are not important.
9. Finally, schedule a parking lot meeting after your partner call. The second parking lot meeting is a great time to recap what was discussed, determine next steps, and record any notes you took during the call. Alyce Cornyn Selby, an expert writer on self-sabotage said, “Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.” Don’t allow yourself to procrastinate following the virtual meeting.
Winning in a virtual world isn’t easy but the first step is to prepare to win!