The future of virtual meetings

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Many aspects of our business have changed since the start of the pandemic. While some things are getting back to “normal,” one thing that may remain a significant part of the advisor-client relationship is virtual meetings. Whether using Zoom or another meeting platform, we likely have all experienced good and bad meetings. Below are some pointers on how to ensure your virtual client meetings stay professional.

Preparing for Your Client Meeting
  • When it comes to camera angle, remember that you’re emulating that you are in person.
    1. Have your camera at eye level, avoiding drastic upward or downward angles to flatter your face.
    2. Frame yourself in the center of your screen and far back enough so that clients are able to see your hands as you speak.
    3. Our eyes move to motion, so make sure the screen you are looking at is directly below the camera. Your notes should also be in front of you or propped up next to your camera so that you aren’t looking at them off to the side.
  • Pay attention to your lighting.
    1. Aim for even lighting on your face and avoid harsh shadows.
    2. Experiment with a few different lamps at different locations around your camera to see how you look with the video camera on.
    3. Be mindful to not have natural light directly behind you as it may cast shadows or create a halo around you.
  • Be aware of your background.
    1. Your background should be clean and tidy.
    2. Avoid busy patterns, bright colors and windows.
    3. Remember, what your clients see behind you tells a story. Be intentional about the personal items that are showing. Have things you are proud of behind you and feel free to share.
    4. Select clothing in contrast to the background so you don’t get washed out. Solids tend to be less distracting.
  • Pick a quiet location with few distractions.
    1. Check the sound quality of your room. Does the sound echo? Add towels on your desk surface to help minimize the sound of papers shuffling around and soften sounds.
    2. Ensure all electronics, phones, or intercoms in your home office are place in “Do Not Disturb” mode or are turned off.
  • If you share your screen, be sure that you have closed all applications on your desktop that you will not be using. You don’t want emails or Skype messages popping up during your meeting.
  • Schedule a test call with a co-worker/family member/friend. You don’t want your first virtual meeting experience to be with your client:
    1. Schedule the test meeting like you would a regular client meeting and ask for feedback on your lighting, background, and sound.
    2. Send a meeting invitation to your personal email so you can see what the invitation will look like for a client. Then, join the meeting as a client would so you are familiar with the steps.
    3. Practice screen sharing and document sharing if needed for your meeting.
  • As you get comfortable hosting video calls with clients, send hard copies of the review documents so you have a “Plan B” if needed. You can either send reports in the US Mail or encrypted in an email.
Security Reminders for Your Virtual Client Meetings
  • All virtual meetings should be treated like they are in a coffee shop. Avoid sharing sensitive material.
  • Avoid full screen sharing if possible. If you do share, understand that all participants can see your whole screen and are capable of taking digital pictures of anything displayed. Close all other documents.
  • If sensitive material must be discussed, ensure the meeting name does not suggest that it is highly-confidential, which would make it more attractive for attackers.
  • Avoid sharing confidential documents if possible.
  • Attackers could use virtual meetings as part of a social engineering attack. When in doubt, follow-up with your client via phone call or emails based on prior contact info to validate unexpected requests.

Learn about D.A. Davidson.

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