Six Steps for Great Online Meetings

While I always believe that in-person meetings generate better, actionable results, many times the logistics of all attendees being in the same place are too difficult to overcome. At that point, you have to resort to an online meeting. This creates a whole new set of challenges as you try to capture their attention.

Think how often you multi-task when you’re on a conference call. Someone texts you, you answer it. An email comes in, you respond. You remember an upcoming meeting and put it on your calendar. All the while, someone is talking to you!

Grabbing and keeping a client’s attention is mission-critical to succeeding with a demonstration of your product via an online meeting. Outlined below are the six steps to holding their attention and gaining their agreement that your idea is the right one.

Step #1: Know Your Client’s Goals

I know it sounds simple. Too often, though, we’re caught up in our own product and dismiss our client’s core goals that fueled the meeting’s purpose in the first place.

Introduce the demo by stating your client’s goals. Think about what this does. The action illustrates that your client’s desires are more important than your demo. And guess what? THEY ARE! Clients want and need to be affirmed. They need to know you’ve listened to what they’ve said and tailored a demo just for them. With this overture of empathy, you can then state the challenges they’ve shared with you, making your idea their solution.

Step #2: Check-In

Once you’ve stated your client’s core goals, ask him/her to agree with them. Present the challenge they said was preventing them from achieving their goal. Then, check-in with them by getting their agreement on this issue.

“From our previous discussions, it seems that your biggest issues are X, Y and Z. Did I capture that accurately?”

Also check-in a few times throughout the demo by asking your client questions such as “How do you see this aspect of the product helping your business?” That gets them involved in your conversation while also potentially giving you new intel upon which to base your recommendations.

Step #3: Be Concise

It’s easy to go off on a tangent with the product you enjoy speaking about…DON’T. No one enjoys a wind-bag. Keep your comments concise and tailored to your client’s issues.

Step #4: Avoid Qualifying Words

You are asking your client to believe in you and your product. Assuming that YOU believe in you and your product, you must speak strongly and with conviction. Qualifying words and phrases will weaken your position and give them reason to doubt what you are saying. That’s when they’ll start reaching for their phone to check their messages…you’ve lost them!

Some phrases to avoid are:

We feel this is a solution to…
I think the product…
Hopefully this aspect of the product will…
Perhaps our service could

How would you change those to be stronger, more assertive? That’s a good exercise to do before you conduct the meeting.

Step #5: Know Your Competition

You have to be ready to defend your organization/idea and respond to the inevitable question of product blurring. How well do you know your competition’s offerings? How does what you offer stack up? Where are you vulnerable? Where do you shine? Know the answers to these questions and be ready for challenges related to what else is out there so that you can command the conversation. Don’t open the door for your competition!

Step #6: Declare the Next Step

Yes, I mean declare it. Even if it’s wrong, you’ve stated what you believe to be the next appropriate step. If they have a problem with it, they will present a countered next step. They now understand there is a next step both of you should agree on. And you will leave the meeting knowing what is expected of you. Now all you have to do is deliver!

Online meetings present a lot of challenges, even technical ones. Commandeer the situation by being prepared and moving the conversation along according to what you want to get out of the meeting. Let me know how it goes!