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5 Ways Virtual Meetings Can Change the Way You Do Business
I admit it, I was a cynic. The first time I opened up my laptop to run an EOS® quarterly, I was not convinced that the meeting was going to go well. EOS Implementers® are trained to run in-person sessions, and I thrived on interacting with leadership teams face to face. I love shaking hands and giving hugs, the easy rapport in the few minutes before the meeting kicks off or during a break. How could an online experience measure up?
If you want to keep doing business (which, right now, might look like networking and maintaining relationships if your operations are shut down), you’ve got to embrace the virtual meeting. And even once you’re able to go back to the office or meet up for lunch again, here’s why you should consider keeping some of your business meetings online.
The biggest surprise has been that EOS® sessions are running better than ever online. I thought we’d be distracted by the technological hangups, but with clear instructions and a few simple rules in place (e.g., everyone turns their video on), there are only minor glitches. Teams come in focused and ready to work. Session ratings have actually increased since going online, and even the most skeptical employees have seen the benefits. Meeting efficiency will be crucial as we move into recovery, since your team will have a lot of ground to cover each time they get together.
I’ve instituted a company-wide Zoom meeting each week in one of my companies. This involves 45 people (most of them college students) getting together virtually. We share wins, problem-solve challenges, and discuss how to adapt our strategy, week by week. I’ve never put in so much face time with these kids before. Previously, I could see them whenever I wanted—but I rarely did. These meetings have been tremendously helpful for supporting and encouraging team members in a time when they really need confidence and motivation.
After receiving my 100th email about a free webinar or conference, it clicked: Why couldn’t Crews Consulting Group leverage webinars to help entrepreneurs and increase awareness about our company? We started planning an open house (you’re invited—more details here!) to bring our clients, team members, and service partners together. It’s going to be an incredible exchange of ideas and opportunity. The biggest benefit to an online business meeting is that the barrier to entry is low. You don’t have to rent space, provide food and drink, or ask people to drive to your event after a long workday. If there’s something you want to share with your audience, whether it’s a small group of clients or a large-scale public event, go for it. Everyone is at home—they’ve never been more available.
Speaking of receiving tons of emails about free events, I’ve been attending a lot more of them lately. My pre-COVID weekday schedule was dictated by two things: EOS meetings and Boston traffic. The time that was previously dedicated to commuting is now available. I try to split it between spending time with my family and checking out something new. Hopping onto Zoom for a quick networking or learning session is so much more manageable now. I’ve broadened my circle of contacts and my horizons. That openness and exposure to new ideas is especially important as you try to imagine the future of your company.
An online business meeting can’t ever recreate the power of human interaction, uninhibited by distance or a screen. Humans are too inherently social for the world to stay completely virtual. But there’s no doubt that this era will leave its mark on the way we do business. We went virtual as an adaptation, because there wasn’t any other choice if we wanted to keep our companies running. My prediction is that we may stay virtual (at least in part) because of the unexpected opportunities for efficiency, connection, and, in some cases, a better way to do business.