Virtual meetings are here to stay for the foreseeable future. How can you get the most out of these remote conversations? Are there etiquette rules? Here are some pointers curated from around the Web.
Learn the technology beforehand
Nothing is worse than being on an audio or video conference call and hearing background interruptions or the sound of someone keyboarding, eating, or talking to someone in the room.
Before the meeting begins, learn how to (a) mute and unmute yourself; (b) test your camera; (c) test your microphone; (d) frame your video; (e) Enable a virtual background if offered by your video conferencing app; and (f) avoid using a mobile device. Go with a laptop or desktop computer instead.
As NW Sidebar points out, if your phone isn’t on a stable surface, the sound of it sliding around will be annoying. So are your alarms and notifications – although that may happen on your laptop or desktop too.
I would add: (g) mute or apply DND (do not disturb) to anything and everything you can – landline, mobile phone, tablet, etc. (h) treat the conference call as you would treat an in-person client meeting. Don’t permit interruptions and give the conversation your undivided attention. (i) Consider investing in a headset for comfort, convenience, and improved sound quality.
Give video calls a break
As many have suggested, not all meetings need to be face-to-face video. Simply picking up the phone works well for most clients. Don’t feel pressured to Zoom just because the Internet went wild over it. (More below.) A telephone call is convenient, cost-effective, and hassle free.
During a group video conference call it can be challenging to have a side conversation with one person. Private messaging is the solution. Obviously, this feature needs to be available in your video conferencing app. In addition, you should choose an app with appropriate security if you are discussing client matters.
Use networking platforms
If you’re seeking to connect to other professionals, don’t forget about LinkedIn. If you are on social media, use the tool of your choice to reach out. If you belong to an OSB listserv, remember that listserv conversations are public record. When you see an interesting thread, keep your communication private by sending a direct email to that individual. In the right situation, it could make sense to launch a conversation with a group of listserv members – just remember to do it outside the listserv itself by sending separate messages. As noted above, the phone is also your friend. Use it to catch up with an old acquaintance or contact someone new.
Best practice tips on video client meetings
From the Law Society of BC:
- Advise the client not to share the links with anyone else;
- Access the links through a secured Wi-Fi network;
- Confirm the client’s consent to proceed in this manner;
- Ask that all individuals in the remote location introduce themselves;
- Ensure no one else is at the remote location who may be improperly influencing the client;
- Make sure that audio and video feeds are stable and that you can hear and see all parties;
- Do not allow clients to screen share by default. As the host you should be able to manage the screen sharing;
- Do lock the meeting once the client or clients have joined the call;
- Where identification is produced to support verification of identity, ensure that a copy of the document (front and back) is sent to you in advance of the online meeting (consider requesting high resolution) and that when it is produced during the meeting the entire document is visible and legible;
- Determine how to provide the client with copies of the document executed remotely;
- Confirm your client’s understanding about the documents they are executing and provide adequate opportunity for them to ask questions during the video conference; and
- Maintain detailed records including: date, start and end time, method of communication, identity of all present, and minutes of content of meeting. Read more here.
Alternatives to Zoom
The world seemed to go Zoom crazy during stay-at-home pandemic orders. I love Zoom – and p.s. – with its new privacy and security features meeting hacks no longer occur. However, if you’re looking for alternatives, check out this list from Business Today. Several of the options mentioned in the article are encrypted, a must-have for client confidentiality.
All Rights Reserved 2020 – Beverly Michaelis