Prepare, prepare, prepare. Then prepare again.
Although live meetings are coming back as we continue to climb out of the fog, virtual meetings (and certainly virtual networking meetings) are here to stay.
It’s kind of like the restaurants you drive by in your neighborhood that managed to stay open by providing outdoor dining under canopies and tents. Many of them still provide outdoor dining despite having indoor seating available which allowed them to double their business.
It’s the same thing with networking meetings for sales leaders including financial advisors, brokers, planners, and agents. By continuing to have meetings both live and virtually, you might be able to double your seating!
In leading many networking group meetings, I’ve seen my share of really good presenters and some, well, that could have been better prepared.
Here are some ways to best prepare and be a KO speaker at a virtual networking meeting!
If you’re unfamiliar with sharing your screen through Zoom or whatever platform you’re using, learn and practice ahead of time so you don’t waste time fumbling with the technology.
The slide show feature on PowerPoint (or with other software) allows you to maximize the size of your slides while preventing your audience from seeing your upcoming slides. Again, best to know how to do this before showtime.
Know how to unmute yourself or when to unmute yourself so you don’t make that rookie mistake and begin speaking when still on mute (We’ve all done it.). It’s also good to know how to mute someone else so when they’re typing or their dog is barking, you can minimize the distraction during the meeting.
Public Speaking Skills
You may not be a professional speaker, but you do want to deliver the best possible version of you. A great exercise is to practice your presentation with a small audience and get their feedback about your speaking skills and the flow of your content. Have your practice audience be mindful about your use of verbal pauses (“so”, “like”) and verbal tics (“um”, “ah”). Of course, you want to minimize your verbal pauses and tics and a great way of doing this is to replace them with pauses. This takes effort and practice. You also want to be mindful about pausing between your speaking points, your volume (should vary throughout), and pace (again, should vary throughout).
Call to Action
Your presentation at a networking event should end with a call to action or a specific request to meet the economic buyers in your target market. Isn’t this the purpose of your presentation? The more specific you are about industry, profession, market segment, niche, dynamic, geography, and company names – the better!
Some of this info is very basic but I still see seasoned pros fumble with screen share, slides, and the mute button. Being a polished speaker with a definitive “ask” is always something we can improve in virtual networking meetings.
The key is to appear polished, professional, and prepared. How you do anything is typically how you do everything. If you come across in your presentation as unprepared, you might not be as referrable.
Remember, there are plenty of other things for your multi-tasking audience to do. Prepare to keep them engaged with you!
Featured Imagae by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash