I run my business from home, so I am free to be comfortable while working. I don’t have to wear high heels or makeup every day. But then, right on that day when I am ready for a quiet day doing the office work, a client asks for an online meeting.
My client wants to introduce me to her new boss, and this is very important for me and my business so I have to give my best image mainly during the first five minutes. Of course, she wants a video conference. A bunch of questions comes to my mind: Do I have all the reports updated? What is her new boss expecting? Do I look good? I have to make up! I have an hour to be ready so I take my checklist. I have the latest report updated and then I run to make sure I have a business look. Still some stuff to check before I am ready!
Before any Video Conference or Online Meeting it is wise to make sure everything is set up and ready, so I also go through a simple yet crucial checklist:
- The Environment: I have an office at home, and I always have my online meetings there. The colors are neutral, I don’t have light sources or lamps behind me. It is well illuminated, so the people in the other side can see me clearly and without distractions. I always turn my laptop camera on to have a practice session making sure the camera, microphone and speakers and working properly. That way I can also check my business look.
- The Content: Even though I may have spent days preparing the content and reports for my online meetings with clients, I make sure I have it ready and available before the meeting starts. I always have an agenda of what I am going to present, sometimes I have my client’s guideline, some others I make my own agenda, especially when I am the one inviting to a meeting.
- The Invitation: If I am inviting to the meeting, I explain the purpose of the meeting and what I expect from the participants so they can prepare. I include the agenda and I give them the choice to connect via telephone or Voice over IP (VoIP).
- Before the Meeting: At least 30 minutes before the meeting I test the video and audio, I always use a headset to make sure everyone can hear me clearly. It is important to close all the applications that make sounds of display pop up notifications. I make sure I’m not too close to the camera; I always have a clock on the desk to help me follow my schedule, I always get myself a glass of water.
- During the Conference: I usually connect to the conference five minutes before it starts, whether I am the organizer or not. I like to welcome all the participants as they arrive. If nobody objects I like to have the meeting recorded for future follow up. At the very beginning is very nice to welcome all the participants and explain the purpose and agenda of the meeting. I always let people see the notes and action points I am writing down.
- Finish the Conference: At the end of the conference, if I am the organizer, I wait until everyone has disconnected, then I close the session. If I am a participant I also wait because I never know if my client has a last comment to tell me.
- After the Meeting: I send an email to all the participants thanking them for attending and I include the recording and notes in the email. I send another email to those who couldn’t participate including the recording and the notes as well. If there are documents to share, I use a cloud application to share them. I like to have a Dropbox account especially to do this.
I usually listen to the recording looking for improvements. I am focused in providing the best marketing services to my clients, so I take very good care of the image of my business.
I hope you find this checklist useful for your own activities. In this world being communicated is very easy and a video conference isn’t exclusively for business purposes. Actually Citrix has free go to meeting web accounts that can be used for small businesses or families in a daily basis; Skype is a very well known video conference platform. I helped myself building up my checklist with The Ultimate Checklist for Video Conference and Online Meetings from Citrix.
Good luck in your next online meeting! 🙂