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4 Common Virtual Meeting Mistakes: What They Are & How to Fix Them

Updated: Feb 20

In many settings, face-to-face meetings have been replaced by virtual ones. And given the convenience, time and cost savings they provide to you, your clients and prospects, they're here to stay.

It's been almost 3 years since they have become the new norm for client engagements, but many advisors have yet to truly master the art of virtual meetings (spoiler alert: it doesn't involve the use of poorly-executed fake backgrounds).

As a financial advisor, you understand the importance of virtual meetings. Not only is it a top choice of communication for many of your clients, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to represent your brand and demonstrate the value you bring.

This week, I dig into 4 of the most common virtual meeting mistakes that many of us are guilty of (as someone who spends her days jumping in and out of virtual meetings with advisors, this is something I can attest to!).

Read on because I also dish out how you can fix them so you can nail your next virtual meeting!

📷 Not framing yourself correctly

First of all, unless your house is the Sistine Chapel, no one wants to see that much of your ceiling. (If you do have a killer ceiling, though, I would love to see it!)

And framing yourself on-screen as your grandma does during your Sunday FaceTime calls doesn't convey professionalism as it's usually excluding your all-important body language.

Try to remember that as much as possible, virtual meetings are supposed to simulate being in a face-to-face meeting. That includes building trust and relationships through how you present yourself as well as your posture, body language and your gestures. All of which can only be demonstrated virtually if you are framed correctly.

How to fix:

  • Set up your camera so that it's at eye level or slightly above. This is also great for your posture so your back and shoulders will thank you!

  • Position yourself in the frame so that there's more space below your chin than above your head.

🎤 Assuming your audio sounds okay

Have you ever tried checking how you sound to your clients during virtual meetings?

You might be shocked.

Most built-in microphones on computers and even the microphones in the beloved and widely-used AirPods are . . . not likely the impression you'd like to be leaving.

How to fix:

  • Do a quick recording of yourself talking (about anything/nothing) on Zoom or Teams and listen back. If you have multiple microphone options, keep talking as you switch between them so can hear the difference.

  • The best investment you can make to enhance your virtual meetings is buying a USB microphone, like a Blue Yeti ($130).

  • Another must-have is a tool call Krisp. It's an automagical overlay that removes all background noise and echo so that your clients and prospects only hear you.

  • Bonus: Krisp also tracks the percent of time that you talk in meetings so you can see just how great you are at listening (or if there's room for improvement).

☀️ Not adjusting your lighting

In a profession built on trust and relationships, being able to see you clearly is imperative. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be expensive and the best option is actually free!

When it comes to lighting, sometimes the smallest changes yield the biggest results.

The main thing to know is that you should be the brightest and most well-lit part of your video.

How to fix:

  • If you have a window, it should always be in front of you - not behind you.

  • Why? See for yourself: hop into another Zoom or Teams meeting by yourself, stand in the middle of the room, holding and looking at your laptop, and record while you slowly turn a full 360 degrees. You'll see what a difference lighting makes on your face (and your expression ... how old you look ... 😉).

  • Depending on your available light, time of day and time of year, you may need some supplemental lighting. These are the lights I showed in the video above:

  • Ring Light ($30)

  • Webcam Light with Clip ($16) or the Ring Light Version with Clip ($20)

  • Rechargeable LED Video Light ($70)

  • LED Video Lights ($210)

🖼 Using fake backgrounds

I appreciate that you may not be comfortable sharing your background and/or you want to boost brand awareness with a fake background, but don't underestimate how distracting it is watching your head and limbs constantly disappear.

How to fix:

  • If your goal is branding, invest in some shirts with your logo on them. This looks much more natural and professional, and makes getting ready each day a breeze!

  • If you're worried your background isn't 'perfect', ask a few trusted colleagues. We're often far too hard on ourselves when in reality, other people really like our natural background.

  • If you're in a bedroom or tight space - or worried about privacy - get a desk that's easy to move and pull it out each morning (just a few feet) so that your background is the wall. Put up an inexpensive painting or two, a narrow bookcase or shelves, and voila!

  • Sound like too much work? I did exactly this for months during Covid when my office had be moved to the corner of our bedroom. Here's proof:

You now can understand the crucial role that virtual meetings play in your business. So the next time you need to get on one with a client, make sure to apply some of these tips to help elevate not just your client's experience, but your brand, as well.

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