Today, there is no escaping Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and other video conferencing platforms. As the CPG industry keeps moving toward a digital transformation, both suppliers and buyers have had to pivot how they conduct business meetings and find solutions to canceled or postponed trade shows through virtual meetings.
If you’re a supplier, participating in virtual meetings with retail buyers is one of the few opportunities you will have to sell your products face-to-face these days, which makes these opportunities more valuable than ever! And since the use of these platforms is new for many, we’ve put together a list of virtual meeting best practices that will ensure your meeting runs smoothly and you can focus on presenting what makes your product great.
Virtual Meeting Best Practices
Wifi and Internet connection
Check your Internet bandwidth.
- Various platforms require different Internet speed requirements. Before the meeting, make sure you know what video conferencing platform you will be using and ensure your Internet speed meets the minimum requirement. For example, Zoom requires a connection of 3G or 4G/LTE and a minimum bandwidth of 600 kbps (up/down) and commended is 1.5 Mbps (up/down). You can check your Internet speed at www.speedtest.net.
- Ensure your wifi connection is strong and make sure you don’t lose connection in the middle of the meeting by plugging your computer directly into the router or modem.
Microphone and video quality
- Ensure your software systems are up-to-date.
- Make sure your video and microphone software is up-to-date on your computer. You will want to do a sound and video check before the meeting to ensure your camera quality is clear and sound is working correctly.
- Need a better quality webcam or microphone? Check out the best webcams for video conferencing or these microphone options for better sound.
During this step, you’ll want to make sure anything confidential or private is removed from your desktop since the retail buyer might see your desktop background while sharing your screen.
- Remove personal information from your desktop.
- Pick a professional desktop background, and make sure your desktop looks organized (no screenshots, or lose files all over your desktop).
- Clear your browse, search, and cookie history.
- Close all unnecessary tabs or files before the meeting.
- Check out this article for information on how to clean up your computer inside and out.
When presenting to buyers, wearing professional attire shows you’re taking the meeting seriously.
- Wear clothing that contrasts with your background. For example, if you are presenting against a white background, don’t wear a white shirt, perhaps choose black instead. And wear something that is not distracting or too busy such as bright prints or noisy accessories.
- Here are some examples of “business attire” outfit options.
Background and setting
This is a significant step that you should not skip!
- When choosing which room to have your meeting, consider choosing a place that has a simple background without anything distracting. Alternatively, you can select a simple Zoom background or create one with your company logo.
- Wherever you present, make sure it’s quiet. That means you should ask everyone in your household or office not to interrupt you and remain silent for the duration of the meeting. Some best practices are to make sure your kids are busy, dogs are outside, and your phone/computer notifications are turned off.
Day of Virtual Meeting Best Practices
Understand the platform you will be using
- Before your meeting starts, make sure you understand each function of the platform you are using (like Zoom). Know which buttons to click to turn on the video, share your screen, stop sharing, when to mute or unmute your mic, etc.
- Give access to both your microphone and video camera once you log in.
- Turn both your video and microphone on while presenting, mute yourself when not speaking to limit noise distractions (but don’t forget to unmute yourself when you want to chime in again!).
Camera angle and lighting
- Position your camera at eye level. You might need to elevate your computer by placing it on a stand or books.
- Angle your camera so your face is centered.
- Do not sit with your back to a window and do not sit in direct sunlight. Instead, sit facing a window for natural light that is indirectly on your face.
- If you need extra light, you can purchase a ring light for under $40 from different retailers.
- Avoid shadows.
Presenting your products
- Present your brand and products with a thoughtful, branded sales presentation deck/PDF.
- Include 3D and/or professional product images (such as those you have on your RangeMe profile).
- Do not rely on presenting your product by video camera. The quality and details of your product will not come through clearly for the buyer. Instead, have your product on hand if the buyer asks to see it through video or to do a demonstration if there is time.
Best practices to remember while presenting
- Look into the camera when you are speaking whenever possible because looking at the person’s face on the screen will appear like you are not making eye contact with them. And eye contact is vital during conversations, even virtual ones!
- Smile, smile, smile!
- Avoid mumbling.
- Use gestures, but not too many.
For more details on best practices while presenting, check out this recent article ECRM published on virtual engagement tips after interviewing Wendy Saltzman, a three-time Emmy award-winning journalist.
The more virtual presentations you have, the more comfortable they’ll get. All in all, it’s important to remember to have a strong Internet connection, get familiar with the video platforms you will be using, and remain professional from background setting to attire and gestures. But most importantly, remember to practice, practice, practice! These virtual meetings will continue to happen, even when things go back to “normal,” and by following this list of best practices, you’ll have a successful run!