TOP TIPS FOR ONLINE NETWORKING BY VIDEO LINK
With venues closed and people working from home, online (or virtual) meetings have exploded in popularity.
Business owners are realising they can save time, money and potentially their waistlines by networking online, face to face by live video link.
Apps like Zoom, Skype, Webex and Google Hangouts are our new frequently visited places and alternative ways to do business are expanding rapidly.
At Zokit we’ve been hosting online networking by video since last year. Here’s what we’ve learnt….
Read On ↓
It’s Still Networking
One of the most effective ways to grow a business that gets you to the human to human, real time conversation and collaboration stage more quickly than perhaps any other method …and all the usual considerations and courtesies apply. Networking is about connecting and developing mutually beneficial working reationships. It’s not a one-way stream of self promotion or about making direct sales. Be interested in understanding other people’s buinesses, engage and be engaging, contribute to the conversation with sincerity and be helpful where you can without dominating air time. Remember to follow up after meetings – the most valuable part of networking happens outside the networking meeting in one-to-ones and smaller group meetings.
Top Tips for Online Networking
The main point here is to just get started and give it a go. Most people are new to online meetings and all of us have forgotten to unmute ourselve or haven’t been able to switch the camera on or had a cat or child make an unplanned appearance. Now’s a great time to get into online meetings whilst nearly everyone’s new to it and going through the same learning curve.
Familiarise yourself with the video conferencing app that will be used for the meeting and check that your mic and camera work. Mark it in the calendar as you would a physical meeting with buffer time each side. If you have a busy household you may need to negotiate a quiet zone where you won’t get disturbed and consider using headphones if you’ll be in a shared space and want to minimise noise disturbance from the video call. Many online networking meeting hosts will ask you to post your introduction and links in the chat window so why not have these ready to copy and paste.
2. Test your mic and webcam a few minutes before
Sometime computers and applications don’t start up properly so remember to check your sound and visual just before the meeting so you can troubleshoot if needs be.
3. Make sure your mic is unobstructed or use a USB mic
Work out where your internal computer mic is and make sure it’s not obstructed by any items on your desk or your sleeve as you type or anything else that has got into the aperture. An external USB mic will usually improve sound quality and control and a good enough one will only cost around £20.
If you can find out who’s on the call, who the host is, any expert speaker or what the likely audience is, this will help you adapt your communications.
If you will have chance to introduce your business, rehearse what you’ll say so it comes across clearly and memorably. Speak confidently and succinctly. It can be difficult to see and hear feedback by video from your audience – knowing this will help you with your delivery and not throw you in the meeting.
6. Mind your background
Remember people can see what’s behind you… so remove any sensitive information and aim for a clutter free (or interestingly curated) background. If you have a blank wall behind you or a green screen, most apps will allow you to upload a virtual background. You can download some great free ones on Canva.
7. Brand your video stream
Some ideas for this include changing your screen name to include your business name / business email or number, having a branded banner behind you or adding your logo to your virtual background image/video.
8. Look at your camera
To get eye contact – look at the camera lens not the screen. It can take a bit of getting used to and in reality you’ll have to balance this with seeing what’s on screen and typing.
9. Use the chat window
This is a great way to give feedback and information and ask questions when it’s not appropriate to speak. Also a great engagement tool for when you’re speaking and want to ask for feedback.
10. Dress for business
In your style. It’ll make you feel better. Things tend to be more relaxed online but you don’t want to look like you’ve just fallen out of bed!
Overtalking especially doesn’t work online partly due to the technical limitations of video conferencing apps. This is a great opportunity to listen so you get to know the other people on the call more deeply.
12. Be facially expressive
Smiling, nodding and other appropriately timed expressions helps you build rapport with the person speaking, increasing your visibility and connection.
13. Switch off your video
…when you have to leave the room or take an urgent call or get disturbed. This will reduce distraction from whoever is speaking at the time.
14. Remember to mute and unmute yourself
Most hosts will encourage you to mute yourself when not speaking to cut out background noise, prevent your video stream accidentally becoming the active one (it responds to sound) and improve the quality of the call. The trick is to remember to unmute yourself when it’s time to speak! Some apps will have keyboard shortcuts to mute/unmute (you may need to switch this on in settings).
15. Arrive online an few minutes early
This will give you time to deal with any lastminute technical troubleshooting and hear any ‘housekeeping’ from the host about how the meeting will be run including any special instructions for getting the host’s attention.
16. Follow up
The fortune is always in the follow on – and this is no less true online!
Let’s Start Something new
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