The virtual meeting seemed like something that construction professionals were only going to need for a few months. Now it looks like they are here to stay. And really, it makes sense. If you need to give an update to a client who is hundreds of miles away, virtual is the way to go. But it isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips to simplify the process.
Learn How to Use the Platform
One of the biggest nightmares of virtual meetings in 2020 is the high number of people who do not know how to use the platform. Although it seems like there ought to be a great deal of similarity between platforms like Google Meet or Zoom, there can still be a steep learning curve. Most people who end up doing something ridiculous or embarrassing in the middle of a virtual meeting found themselves in the predicament due to a lack of understanding. If you’re considering new platforms for virtual meetings, set up a few meetings with employees or even friends who can help you test it out. That way, by the time you’re ready to meet with clients, you’ll have more expertise.
Find Tutorials for Clients and Employees
Part of the reason that hearing about virtual meeting horror stories has been so entertaining is that it’s a combination of shared experience and a high unlikelihood likelihood of occurrence. In short, lots of people are still struggling to use these programs effectively, largely because they didn’t get time to learn them in the first place. If you find a good tutorial with information that your clients and employees can use to help them master the platform, share it with them. Don’t worry that they’re going to think you assume they’re ignorant. If they don’t need the information, they’ll just disregard the attachment.
Send Documents in Advance
Meetings tend to take much longer than they should, and this is more likely to happen when people don’t get a chance to prepare in advance. When you’re meeting with clients, you may need them to sign a contract or review a design plan in order for you to be able to proceed on the project. One of the best things you can do to smooth out the meeting process is to send these documents in advance. Give other participants of the meeting at least 1-2 business days to take a look at the documentation and prepare questions. This will save you a lot of time spent waiting while they read the document.
Follow Meeting Etiquette
As a general rule, behaviors that you would never do in a meeting in person should also be avoided for virtual meetings. Many people get into the habit of thinking that meeting on a virtual device allows them the freedom to act as if they are not in a meeting at all. But even if your camera is off while the sound is on, you can still end up in odd or annoying situations. For example, if someone takes a device outside next to a busy road, you may not be able to hear them over the sounds of traffic. Keep in mind that sound travels differently through speakers than it does in a room. If you’re doing a lunch meeting, keep the speaker away from your face so that no one has to hear chewing.
If All Else Fails, Send an Email
In all the rush to stay connected despite remote work, many people seem to have forgotten the old wisdom that technology is only necessary when it can be useful. The fact is that there are many meetings that never needed to happen if the relevant parties were simply willing to communicate by email. Meetings aren’t bad, and there are times when you can accomplish much more by meeting face-to-face even virtually than you could in writing. But it’s worth investigating whether the time you spend collaborating is actually getting you closer to the solutions that you need.
Maintaining communication with clients is part of running a successful contracting business. A good education is another. To learn more about our contractor licensing exam preparation options, contact CSLS today!