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5 common mistakes to avoid in virtual client meetings

Avoid these common online meeting mistakes

Eleanor Hecks, 13 December, 2023

Today, many businesses use virtual client meetings to share new information or provide status updates. It even speeds up goal accomplishment because virtual meetings facilitate instant communication. However, people who use online conferences to stay in touch with their clients often make mistakes.

While common, errors can lead to misunderstandings and decrease the effectiveness of the meetings. Therefore, it is essential to learn the most common blunders business leaders make and what they can do to avoid them.

1. Keeping your video turned off

Many people turn off their videos for various reasons. It could be because they have children running around in the background. Maybe their room looks messy or they feel self-conscious about their appearance. However, video is important to have turned on because it builds a stronger connection with your clients.

Seeing each other’s faces creates a more personal and engaging interaction. Plus, it leads to better communication and trust, which are crucial in corporate relationships. Without video, 76% of professionals have stated their colleagues are looked upon negatively. Meanwhile, 60% say it keeps them from maximizing their career.

Business leaders and employees can easily avoid this mistake by changing their settings so their video is always on during a meeting. However, if your video is off because of the previously mentioned reasons, here are a few ways to avoid this mistake:

●  Use a professional background: Choose a tidy, distraction-free location so the focus is on you and not your surroundings.

●  Dress appropriately: Wear what you would for an in-person meeting. That way, you always look your best and show respect.

●  Establish good lighting: Position yourself in a well-lit area. Your face should be visible enough for the client to see you clearly.

2. Wasting too much time in virtual client meetings

Taking too much time is a common mistake enterprises make. This often occurs because of poor planning or getting sidetracked by off-topic discussions. Leaders must be more disciplined by creating a structure for virtual client meetings. Otherwise, you and them may lose focus. When your meetings lack a central purpose, they often lead to unproductive discussions.

As a result, you may be wasting valuable time for your company and the client. They may think you do not value their time,negatively impacting their opinion of your organization. Prolonged meetings are also pointless — if you have additional information, you can always update your client by email afterward. Plus, they can lead to “Zoom fatigue,” which reduces your ability to communicate effectively.

Set yourself up for virtual meeting success by creating an agenda beforehand. A substantial time length for meetings is typically around one to two hours. Ensure you highlight topics you want to discuss and make allocated times. This way, you keep your discussion on track and get straight to the point.

Most common mistakes small businesses make.

3. Leaving your camera at an odd angle

Getting the camera at the right angle can be tricky. You might think your laptop is sitting in a good position, but the camera could be too low, making clients feel they are looking up at you. This can be awkward for them since they may feel they cannot look at you from eye level.

At some point, a weird camera angle can be distracting because they may be thinking about your setup. This keeps your client from retaining the information you are trying to convey. Additionally, it can be challenging to make a good impression when you have the camera in an awkward position. To avoid this fate, consider positioning your laptop or camera at eye level. You can stack your computer on top of books or purchase a stand so your device is at a good height.

Further, it is crucial to keep a stable setup. Your laptop must be on a hard surface — like a work desk — to prevent the camera from shaking or reverting to an odd angle. Lastly, center yourself in the frame. Doing so ensures your head and shoulders are visible so you are not too close or too far away from the camera.

4. Showing up late to the online meeting

Punctuality in a virtual client meeting is just as important as in-person meetings. However, one study found 64% of meetings have had at least one person arrive late. Not arriving on time uses up everyone’s time and a client may see this as a lack of respect for them. It also seems unprofessional — it says to the client and other team members, “I do not care about this meeting.” People might not take you as seriously as you would like in turn.

Showing up late to a meeting also affects you. When you arrive tardily, you might miss important discussions or new directions shared in the beginning. Overall, tardiness can strain your relationship with the client, affecting their trust in your commitment.

However, team leaders and employees can avoid this mistake by preparing in advance. Ensure your technology is working before the meeting starts. Glitches will occur — most of the time, due to a poor internet connection — so ensure it works properly before the meeting.

It also helps to set up reminders. Some people are late to a virtual meeting because they are so focused on another task. Yet, if you create an alarm or reminder on your phone 10-15 minutes beforehand, it will give you more time to prepare.

5. Screen-sharing content the client cannot see

Sharing your screen may be difficult for others to see if they are using a smaller screen. When this occurs, clients may struggle to understand the information you are relaying because they are too focused on the content you are presenting. As such, this can confuse participants and keep them from accomplishing the session's main purpose.

To avoid this mistake, ask your client and other participants if they can see the content clearly. If they cannot, you can always zoom so it is large enough to read. Or, consider using a larger text size and limit the wording when creating your materials.

Make your virtual client meetings a success

Successful virtual client meetings occur when you avoid these common errors. While many of these mistakes are simple, they can be disruptive and lead to negative outcomes. The key is paying attention to the details, ensuring professionalism, clear communication and preparation. When you address these areas, you can have a productive virtual meeting and achieve better results.

Author bio

Harnessing Color for web design visual hierarchy.

Eleanor Hecks is the editorial director at Designerly. She’s also a mobile app designer with a focus on user interface. Connect with her about digital marketing, UX or tea on LinkedIn.

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