Digital advances in business have made it possible for many to get ahead. E-commerce has made it feasible to start a business for much lower costs. And for women, digital operations have given us the chance to overcome stigmas we’ve always faced in the workplace.
There are countless articles about how to run your website, or how to make a name for yourself on social media. And, these are obviously important points. But we focus on them so much that we forget the other benefits of digital business, such as video conferences.
Video conferencing capabilities are fantastic news for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re in an office or working freelance, video conferences could take you further. They give you the ability to speak with long distance business contacts without paying for travel. The convenience of the medium also makes it more likely that startups can secure meetings with important people.
But, with this new form, there’s a new set of rules to get your head around. If done badly, video conferencing can be catastrophic. The following points should give you an idea of how to go about things the right way.
The more casual nature of video conferences can make it difficult to be punctual. After all, there are no physical arrivals to remind you it’s time to go. And, you may not think it matters as much anyway. It’s not like they’re particularly going out of their way, right? Wrong. Timings are just as important with video calls as they are with face to face meetings. During arrangements, make the exact time clear to your clients. Then, turn up at your computer at least ten minutes beforehand. That way, you have time to ensure everything’s ready at the agreed moment. This will also give you a chance to iron out any technical kinks before you get going!
Use reliable programs
This video conference is your chance to impress. As such, it’s crucial that you pick the right program, and that you know how to operate it. Technical problems on your chosen platform are sure to send the wrong impression. Besides which, there’s nothing to stop your clients getting fed up and going offline if this happens.
Take your time while choosing a program. Options such as Skype are often the first choice, but they may not be best suited to a professional finish. Instead, you could work with companies like Brennan IT, who offer virtual meeting room solutions designed for tasks like these. Bear in mind that whatever you use, your client will need the same program. Make sure to keep lines of communication open, so that you know what platforms you can choose from.
Once decided, make sure to have a test run or two with the chosen program. Try to get a grip on small niggles and general operations. You’ll need to know how to invite people to a meeting, how to control volume, and so on. Test this with people in your office to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.
Get your video conference etiquette up to scratch
One thing you may not foresee is the issue of video conference etiquette. When you have clients in front of you, it’s easy to act professionally. The chances are that you even know how to convince them into a sale using body language and personality. But, these things are much harder to portray on camera. Rather than being right in front of these people, you’re coming at them through a computer screen. As such, you may find it harder to make that instant human connection. After all, you can’t give them a winning handshake across networks.
The good news is, there are ways to win them over, even across the divide. For one, overcome the handshake issue by developing an effective greeting. Plan an opening speech which acts in the same way a handshake would. Try to give them some idea of who you are in your first opening lines.
Make sure, too, that you consider the eye contact issue. Eye contact is a crucial aspect of any business meeting, and you’re in part removing it with this medium. The good news is, looking at the camera should be enough to provide the same sense of connection. When speaking, you may be tempted to look at the image on screen, but train yourself to look at the camera instead. Otherwise, you may find clients don’t warm to you the way you’d like.