Earning your Listeners’ Attention in Video Meetings

In our new, post COVID-19 reality, video conferencing is here to stay. A lot of companies like Google and Twitter reported boosted efficiency and employee happiness whilst reducing heavy rent and office maintenance costs. I know I’m one of those workers- my super packed calendar allows me to work in the most focused manner possible at home without office noise or constant distractions, I can’t be more ecstatic about it to be honest 😊.

However, with these amazing advancements and new work-frame come new challenges that we need to address. Virtual communication isn’t as intuitive as face-to-face meetings: we can see less of our audience, their expressions, body language, gestures. They can see less of us, can misunderstand our tone, can lose concentration. Whether you are a developer, a sales leader, a junior marketer or a CEO, mastering the art of effectively communicating via video calls is critical.

The number of face-to-face meetings we shall have at least for the foreseeable future is dwindling so there is a new digital playground to master.

Unlike meetings in a conference room, online meetings by nature cannot force groups of people, may it be your colleagues, employees or clients, to listen to you. Raise your hand if you’ve participated in boring meetings and couldn’t help but to minimze the Zoom window and do something else, anything else but to escape this boredom.

Our listeners are constantly bombarded by a stream of notifications, emails, calls and pop-ups that compete directly with you and what you have to say. The average attention span is…8 seconds (Microsoft research). 🤷🏻‍♀️ Under the cover of invisibility your listeners could just zone out.

If in the past you could just get by with average presentation and communications skills (in any profession), today you just cannot. Your audience isn’t sitting with you in a room where it would be impolite to just get on their phones. Today you need to earn the attention of your listeners and convince them that the value they’ll gain by listening to you is worthwhile.

In Sales we get a lot of training around how to communicate, not just how to pitch (isn’t it shocking?! 😉)

  • How do you introduce a meeting agenda and get everyone onboard?
  • How do you make the meeting interactive?
  • How do you keep suspense and intrigue throughout your story?
  • How do you build the rationale and value proposition before presenting your recommendation or final message?
  • How do you bring back listeners that became too quiet and disengaged?
  • How do you make it easier for your audience to absorb the critical information you are presenting?

I’ve met quite a few top-notch professionals that in real-life are extremely charismatic and articulate but in virtual meetings they just can’t shine through, something is off. I think it’s just a new muscle that requires education, practice and feedback loops to improve. And the interesting thing is that it’s not limited to salespeople anymore- everyone needs to up their game to have influence, convey their recommendation, convince, persuade, explain, gain support…you name it.

As in every disruptive crisis, it forces us to reinvent ourselves and become better to survive and thrive. I think this digital wave entails an opportunity for professionals to update their communications skills arsenal that will boost their value, influence and career to new levels.

I’ll be sharing more articles on this topic these upcoming weeks so stay tuned!




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