How To Help Clients Embrace Virtual Meetings

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! 

Steps To Help Your Clients In Virtual Meetings

#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

#1 Use The Right Tools

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: 

  • Send clear instructions and meeting links beforehand so that the clients can join quickly;
  • Prepare yourself by checking your internet connection and finding a quiet place where you can hold the meeting without interruptions; 
  • Set up all the material you need for the meeting (notes, agenda, links to websites etc) so you don’t scramble to find them during the meeting. It’d be a good choice to share any material with the client so they’ll have at hand too. 
  • Try to meet halfway (pun intended) your clients by choosing tools that they’re already familiar with. If you use Zoom, but your clients want to use Teams, try to accommodate the request.

 #2 Don’t Over-rely On Chat 

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. 

Photo by Matt Moloney from StockSnap

#3 Only Have Necessary Meetings 

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

Wrong. Obviously. 

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. 

#4 Follow A Meeting Schedule 

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.

#5 Keep The Meeting On Schedule 

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. 

#6 Allow Some Human Connection

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

About Stefania

Marketing Manager at Timeneye. She's passionate about technology and finding better, smarter ways to work. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don't seem to appreciate that). Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.