If you live on Planet Earth right now, you’re witnessing the chaos and change that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.
Its effects are seeing on every aspect of our life – and work is no exception.
You’re probably used by now to meet and communicate with your team online.
But what about your clients?
In these conditions, it’s very difficult to meet with clients and discuss your projects. Sure, there are still emails and the good ol’ telephone. However, those are more suited to short communication, not to hours-long discussions. Not to mention, in the busies phases of the project, they could become unmanageable.
Some clients may be reluctant to embrace technology and virtual meetings. You can help them make the transition and still be able to bring your projects to completion.
Let’s see how!
#1 Use The Right Tools
#2 Don’t Over-rely On Chat
#3 Only Have Necessary Meetings
#4 Follow A Meeting Schedule
#5 Keep The Meeting On Schedule
#6 Allow Some Human Connection
First things first: technology.
Make sure you’re not relying on wonky tools for your virtual meetings, otherwise your clients will quickly become frustrated.
There are many tools and services out there that are designed for conference calls, webinars, group meetings.
The most popular are Microsoft Team and Zoom, bet there are many others that suit a variety of needs.
To get an idea, here’s a list of communication tools for teams that are distributed.
Now that you have the tool, make sure to use it correctly:
Many of the communication tools for remote settings also have chat features included. Or they can be chat-first tools, like Slack.
As tempting as it may seem, don’t rely too much on real-time chat with your clients at least. You’ll risk ending up in an endless stream of notifications, with no limit to your conversations, and giving the impression of availability 24/7 and immediate response time.
Which, if you’re a customer support team, may totally work!
But if you’re a project manager, you can’t give your client the impression that you only work for them and will respond immediately to any inquiry: you’ll risk neglecting other clients, and lose your mind.
Meetings already have a bad reputation for wasting a company’s time.
Now that all the meetings are online, some clients may interpret this possibility of being in meetings all the time. I mean, you’re stuck inside, what else do you have to do, right?
Just like in-person meetings, only set those that are really necessary to the outcome of the project. This will make it easier to manage the project, the client, and your own schedule.
Zoom fatigue is a real thing: if you and your client overdo in the meeting department, it may end up exhausting both of you.
Speaking of schedule: do you have one for your next meeting?
Here’s a tip to have a good, productive virtual meeting: create a schedule. It can be just a couple of points you want to touch, or you can go as far as allocating a time slot to each topic.
The main thing is to have a meeting agenda that you can follow. This makes sure that you and your client are on the same page, and also avoid losing time in unnecessary discussions.
Once you have a meeting agenda, you have to make sure to stick to it.
One thing I’d recommend is to assign a time limit to the meeting. Then, use something to keep track of the time – a time tracking tool like Timeneye, for example.
You can start a timer when the meeting begins, and let it run one you’ve finished. You’ll know exactly how much time you’ve spent on the meetings. If you do that regularly, by the end of the year the company will know clearly how their staff’s time is spent in meetings –which could bring some surprises.
Lastly, don’t forget the human part of the interaction.
Working remotely can unfortunately foster a feeling of isolation. Not to mention, the extent of pandemic and lockdown means that people are starving for human interaction.
So why not allow some light-hearted chit chat with your client? Why not take some time to establish a personal relationship with them?
Of course, you don’t have to cause invasions of personal life, or to completely derail your project. However, a little bit of human interaction can go a long way to establish a long-lasting relationship – through friendliness, humanity, and maybe… pets?
Thanks for reading these tips! What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing in your virtual meetings?
Let us know in the comments!
Cover Photo via Unsplash