Times have changed in meaningful and lasting ways when it comes to how advisors are communicating with clients and prospects. While many of us were familiar with technology that enabled virtual connecting within our companies and personal lives, using this technology as the primary means of reaching clients is unprecedented. We asked the DeSola Group, a marketing agency specializing in financial services, to provide some tips to help advisors put their best foot forward when staying in touch with clients.
1. Know and Test the Technology
Whatever platform you’re using to connect with your clients (Zoom, Google, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, etc.), make sure you’re comfortable with its features and functions. Get to know how it interacts with your computer. Test things like your microphone, speakers, camera, Internet connection, screen share and scheduling. For example, if you’re a presenter, make sure you know how to mute your audience as necessary. Spend some time taking it for a test drive by scheduling a meeting with a friend or colleague to make sure your technology is on point. Once you’re comfortable, make sure to practice the same technical setup for each presentation.
2. Make Sure Your Audio is Clear
While you should make sure your video quality is clear, people will understand if the video quality is not perfect. However if your audience can’t clearly hear you, you’ve lost your audience altogether. Sometimes headphones (or earbuds or wireless headphones so you still look professional) work better than the computer audio. While each platform is different, always make sure your sound quality is clear in each virtual meeting.
3. Make (the Right) Eye Contact
If you were sitting at a table across from your client and your eyes were darting around the room – that would be a problem. Talking to your audience through your computer is not a natural form of communication for most. As with in-person meetings, eye contact is critical in virtual meetings. Make sure to have your eyes on your computer’s camera, not the screen – this way your eyes are looking directly at the audience and don’t appear to be looking off screen. One last tip is to minimize or remove the video view of yourself from your own screen to avoid distraction.
4. Embrace the Silence for Audience Interaction
In virtual meetings, it’s sometimes difficult to read your counterpart’s feedback. Not being able to clearly see your audience and “read” their body language when presenting to larger groups can lead presenters to belabor a point to avoid silence and discourage audience participation. A brief moment of silence can let the audience digest the information or lead to interaction. To keep your audience’s attention, plan some form of interaction every five minutes to keep the room engaged.
5. Close Out Other Computer Programs and Notifications
This one may sound obvious, but prior to sharing your screen or joining the meeting, make sure you put your phone on silent, close out any programs and all other website tabs that could cause distraction. No one needs to see a chat box pop up or hear your phone “dinging” every 20 seconds. There’s also a risk of revealing private company or personal information if you’re sharing your screen and have to toggle to the one intended for public viewing. Virtual meetings often already have enough natural distractions and any additional diversions can be easily avoided with a little pre-work.
6. Adjust Lighting and Camera Angle to Create Professional Background
The right lighting is one of the best ways to level up your virtual presentation. Make sure your light source is not backlit (a bright light directly behind you), as this can cause distracting shadows or create a blurry silhouette. To capture the best lighting, find a room in your home with a natural light source (room with a window), which will deliver an inviting and professional environment to the audience. Another important element is the background of your camera angle. Try to avoid distracting or cluttered personal items that will cause your audience to lose focus. Sometimes a simple wall in the background is all you need to keep the focus on your presentation. Be sure to quickly check the video view of yourself before you begin.
In the end, if your children or pet make a cameo, no harm done as we’re all learning to navigate the new environment together.
Looking for more tips on navigating changing times? Connect with us at (800) 836-4265 today.
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