As a leader of virtual teams since 1988, I did my masters degree on telework best practices in 2000-01 (before 9/11 made it a hot topic). Keeping up with connections using video chat remains a favorite way to keep relationships moving forward. I’ve tried GotoMeeting, Webex, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and others, but my favorite tool by far is the most simple and affordable for the home-based ninja or small business: Zoom.
If you’re not yet a video meetup addict, you will likely embrace this as the new normal far beyond the current pandemic.
Zoom video allows folks to remain visible and engaged with your team, clients, and prospects during self-isolation using your phone or computer. It’s great for 1:1 through large group engagement. For 1:1 relationship-building, virtual coffees offer a safe and convenient way to have online meetups using simple, free tools including ZOOM video meetings, Google calendar and a free calendar scheduling app such as Acuity. Even better, Acuity will allow you to use this same setup to create and track paid coaching appointments!
POWER TIP: Make it easy to grab 15-20 minutes out of someone’s busy day to offer friendship, connection, advice. Remember to come from a place of generosity and authenticity. As my friend and publicity mentor, Superconnector Media Founder Chris Winfield advises, always start by asking, “How can I help you NOW?”
“How can I help you NOW?“
Practice in a safe environment
As part of my tithing I often host free, career coaching meetups to help folks feel less isolated and address their career concerns (and keep sane) as they work from home under stressful conditions. Participants can step up as a co-host, contribute as an expert guest, or just chime in with questions or comments. We walk them through the nuances of Zoom so they can shine as confident thought leaders and drive important dialogues with their teams, customers, families, and communities.
POWER TIP: Practice getting comfortable on camera, adjust your screen angles and lighting so you’re looking politely into the camera (vs looking up your nostrils), check your sound quality, etc. I’ve created a Work From Home Productivity Booster Shopping list of my favorite, inexpensive yet effective tools to make your home office videos look and sound much better. My favorite suggestion is always the portable video light that can enhance your image for under $20.
Zoom allows folks to remain visible and engaged during self-isolation using your phone or computer.
It’s great for 1:1 through large group engagement: TV Host Mike Rowe chats with his elderly mom daily via Zoom. I’ve enjoyed meeting my team’s families and pets as lots of folks at home are showing up on screen. Virtual coffees offer a safe and convenient way to have online meetups using simple, free tools including ZOOM video meetings, Google calendar and a free calendar scheduling app such as Acuity or Calendly. They enable you to ask questions and gather important qualifying information before the call. You can even use this process for creating paid consulting calls,too.
Why meetings vs. webinars?
Zoom meetings give a Brady Bunch-like feel with the faces of your participants visible in a gallery setting if they choose to turn on their video camera. It’s nice to feel like you’re sitting together as a community, reading facial expressions, body language, and sharing positive energy.
POWER TIP: Folks can use a pop-up green screen to create a virtual background if their home office is less than ideal, or Zoom offers a simple switch with no other tools needed. Meeting hosts drive better engagement with simple features like hand-raising and chat.
As I launch a 90-day career acceleration training, we’ll use the breakout rooms to enable smaller subset brainstorming and have folks return to the main meeting room. This will enable practice and build speaker confidence. Zoom email improves attendance and engagement with reminders before the event, and sends the link to registrants afterward.
POWER TIP: Always come prepared to share a free resource, offer to connect on LinkedIn (or your favorite social channel) to contribute value during the meetup. It’s important to stay present and use this as a chance to show leadership with engagement. by raising your hand and engaging with the presenters and other participants in the chat, breakout rooms and polls.
Zoom webinars are best for featuring the speaker and content (keeping the participants off-camera or anonymous). It’s preferred for recording evergreen (on demand, without a specific date) training or sales webinars.
POWER TIP: remember to pause after your main recording, and add any time-sensitive dates or offers where they can be easily edited from the front or back end of the webinar.
If you’d like to share your best tips for thriving and surviving amid the isolation, and practice your Zoom video skills, drop them in the comments below. Or you may reach out to [email protected] if you’d like to be interviewed in an upcoming video expert series on LinkedIn.