Don’t screw-up your next online meeting

Can this one piece of paper really improve your online meetings?

It’s time to master your online meetings

The transcription below has been created by a bot:

So how many people do you think are doing zoom meetings every single day? What do you think? Actually, over 300 million people are doing zoom meetings every day and that number is just increasing and increasing and increasing. So in this little video, I’m going to tell you about my little prep sheet, my little cheat sheet I’ve been using for about six weeks, maybe a little bit more now that has been [00:00:30] really transformational for me and really improved my online meetings. And I’m going to share that with you, right? 

So what initiated this was, I was actually part of a mastermind. In fact, I put this mastermind together for online presentations. I know you two heavyweights, sadly Warren and Ash Pemberton from totally different areas, ashes over expert in [00:01:00] the graphics, online presentations and Lee is a presentation expert from the idea of delivery from, you know, how to use your hands and your vocality and the technical aspects of it. So together, it was a really profound and I think really rewarding an excellent masterclass. Now to pull that event together, I had to put a little sheet of paper, not too dissimilar to this one, at least half of it to make sure we had all the technical elements, [00:01:30] absolutely bang on because this was a live event and I couldn’t have any screw ups and it had to be slick, right? So I needed to have a little checklist that I went through to make sure that was perfect and that was sensible and it was very useful, but what’s really been great is an after the event, there was so much gold in that event. 

I then added to the sheet and embellished it and improved it. And it’s improved a few times since to become a really, really vital [00:02:00] tool for me, actually more so than I ever could have imagined. And I’m going to walk you through it in a moment and actually even give you access. You can just download a copy of yourself or encourage you to create your own. Um, so let’s take a look at that right now. So, um, remember this was primarily created for myself for my own benefit, as a little reminder here at the top here to remind me that, you know, amateurs practise until they get something right, but professionals practise until they can’t [00:02:30] do it wrong. So, you know, putting things like this in place are really professional sound approach to make sure that we are delivering the best meetings that we can. 

We are all doing more online meetings than we’ve ever done before for obvious reasons. And that’s not going to change anytime soon. So if you are in a position where you are talking to customers or prospects, um, over a meeting, then this is something we all need to get better at for absolutely sure. In fact, many [00:03:00] cases, our businesses depend on it. So, and I already sort of took on board the challenge of upping my game and improve my own performance. And this sheet has been really integral and me been able to do that. So I’m going to walk you through the left-hand side first, before we walk through the right hand side, just a more technical bit. So on the left here, we have a title, which is just a topic, the subject matter of that particular meeting, if it’s a prospect I’ve not worked with before, I might [00:03:30] just put their name in. 

So I don’t forget. And then we get to the hook. Another hook is a really important element. So now if I’m speaking to a big audience, you know, I’ve got a thousand people in that audience, 2000 more people, then I absolutely will always use a hook. I will use a, sometimes I provocative or profound sometimes trying do something humorous, but it’ll be a statement. Um, and the reason I’m doing that, it’s the same reason. [00:04:00] If you go along to the cinema and watch a James Bond movie that you get, the first opening scene is a big dramatic opening scene. Now, in the case of James Bond, it has absolutely no relevance to the plot of the film in any way whatsoever. So what I do at the reason I do that is they want to move that audience to the edge of their seats, to get them involved and get them engaged and to get them to pay attention. 

And we absolutely have to do that as well. Now I will do that [00:04:30] a little bit differently in an online meeting, especially it’s just one-to-one or once a few than I would do in a big kind of stage environment, et cetera. So I will do it a little bit softer, a slightly different tone, but it is important. I think, you know, just, Hey, my name is X, you know, welcome to the call. It’s just, so I think it’s very weak actually. Um, we really want to get them engaged as swiftly as possible, and we’ve just got a few vital seconds to try and hit them with something. [00:05:00] So in fact, if you look at this closer, you’ll see, I actually had a statement here, a hook, which is don’t screw up your next online meeting. I was going to lead with that instead. I decided to switch with just the stat about zoom, which is a little bit softer. 

And I thought actually, a slightly nicer idea, but you get the idea. Then we got the desired outcome. Now I think it’s really, it’s just so easy. Right? Online meetings are so easy, just click of a button and you’re [00:05:30] there. And in the old days, you have to jump in your car, drive for an hour through traffic, um, or jump on a train, or sometimes you gotta jump on a plane and go abroad to actually complete that meeting. Now in all of those situations, you will probably, you know, give it some forefoot because it’s, you know, significant amount of time is going to go to be used just to even get there and get back and think about it, what information you need to deliver, what information you need to acquire, what are you going to ask for? What’s the outcome you’re [00:06:00] trying to achieve, right? 

And you’d likely to go through all those steps before that meeting, but with an online meeting. And I know, I absolutely know I’ve been guilty of this. Sometimes I’ve walked into a meeting. I barely remember what it’s about and I’ve done no preparation or tour, and I just kind of winging it and guess what, you know, the outcome is never as good if I take that approach. So putting this little sheet together, keeps me on my toes, keeps me, keeps me in my best game and makes me very clear about what is [00:06:30] my primary objectives I’m trying to achieve out of this meeting. Now, it doesn’t have to be something massive necessarily. It might be just to have a followup meeting. It might be just to learn what their requirements are, but you know, being clear about your objective is always really, really important. And with that in mind, what I’ve learned over many years is to think of three, four or five key bits, usually pieces of information that I want to convey to them [00:07:00] that is going to enable me to have the best chance of achieving that ideal outcome, right? 

So that might be, you know, given them my unique selling proposition, it might be showing them a testimonial where it might be giving them a case study. It might be talking about price points. It could be a number of different things, but you know, and I’ve definitely done this too. I’ve sometimes there was a time when I had this prep sheet available to me. I was only kind of half using it. I complete [00:07:30] the meeting, look down and realise I’ve actually only told them one of the five things I needed to give myself the best chance of achieving my outcome. And guess what? I didn’t achieve the outcome. So of course you didn’t Simon because you didn’t tell him the frigging important information. And you know, it was a nice meeting. It was very fluid, it was fun. But I forgot to tell him some of the critical bits. 

So now having this with me and in front of me, I can’t miss that. Right. I can’t build it up. And that’s the whole point of this cheat sheet is to make sure we [00:08:00] doesn’t give us opportunities for screwing things up. So I will now we’ll literally say actually guys, let me just check my little notes here. Actually, there was one other thing I really did want to cover. I can just have a couple of minutes extra. I would like to talk about X and that way I cover all the critical bits I need to then the last thing on that list. Well, the last couple of things on that list is the punchline and the outcome. So the outcome is obviously what was [00:08:30] the achievement of that meeting? Did I achieve the outcome? Some dunks I will know straight away sometimes might wait a few days before I find that out. 

But it’s important just to make a little note of that, um, patch I should mention now that what I do is I just turn this piece of paper over and I make all the notes of the meeting on the back of this. So the end of my meeting, I’ve got one piece of paper with all the information I need on it forever. I have a follow-up meeting. I can just refer to that and I’ve got everything to hand and it’s, it’s super easy, super [00:09:00] clear, and really, really helpful for me. Sometimes I’d take a photograph of this as well, too, so I can file it digitally if maybe I think it’s going might be several months or a long time before perhaps a follow-up meeting might take place for whatever reason, this leads me to the punchline, right? So it’s really, really important to end your meeting on an upbeat kind of punchline. 

So just, um, as I talked about James Bond early, and I continue the, the film analogy, [00:09:30] you know, a big budget film, like a James Bond film will offer, pay over a million dollars just to be able to play a piece of music at the end of the film, especially check this out because I found it fascinating. And that’s, you know, that’s a lot of money, right? It’s a lot of money out of your budget just to play a piece of music as you’re walking out of the cinema. Y of course you’d want people to end that experience with the right sort of energy. So what I hate seeing and what I’ve done way too often is thanks guys, thanks for nice meeting. And I buy now [00:10:00] buy now, and then somebody ends up cutting of a person off because you haven’t got a clean, clear and line. 

So I think that’s really important. I actually think it’s also something that’s quite hard to do. Um, and it does need a little bit of thought to think about, you know, how exactly how you’re going to end that meeting. One thing I’ve seen, some people do I’ve seen it actually worked very, very well, and it works particularly well in a kind of video situation a little bit like this, actually. [00:10:30] And they’ve basically got a kind of official sign off, which they do at the end of every single video. It’s kind of like a piece of branding and I’ve seen that work really, really well. And that’s, I don’t actually have in place right now, but something I probably will be putting in place. Um, and I’m actually earning some of the customers that I work with. I work as a, also an external CMO for, for several companies. 

Um, and that’s something I’m going to start be pushing on them. Cause I think it’s going to improve some of the videos that we deliver there. So I’ll come back to that a little bit later. [00:11:00] Now I want to move over to, well, maybe it’s the boring half of this, right? Um, this is a technical stuff, but like anything, right? If you go along to the theatre and the lighting screws up or the cinema and the, the video machine breaks down now, technical technicalities make a difference to the experience that people receive. So getting this stuff right, really, really helps, you know, so let’s not get it wrong. So this is [00:11:30] my check sheet. I make sure I’ve got the external might select to make sure I’ve got a sound level check. Make sure I selected the right video camera. It’s about eye level is the face well lit. 

So you guys got to look at me if you like it or not. Um, do I like the, I like the background I’m actually lit here as well. Why I’m probably a little bit shiny. Um, I don’t have these, the light on remote, so I can’t show you that, but I, but believe me without [00:12:00] it, it’s just dark and dingy and it shouldn’t make a difference. Right. But it does. Um, that’s without the light on me at the front and it just, just makes it look better. Right. So, you know, I make sure that I always have that. I always make sure that my mobile is on silent and on do not disturb, you know, the amount of times I’ve been interrupted by mobile ringing because I forgotten just to turn it on silent [00:12:30] or put the do not disturb on. So, you know, that absolutely had to make my sheet for sure, for me, a glass of water. 

The only thing I’ve not got on here actually is some sucky sweets. I like to have some sucky sweets nearby. If I’m doing some video takes, I often will suck a suite in between just to make sure my mouth is lubricated. I’m actually a little bit dry right now. Um, so I’m struggling with my words a little bit. So that’s something I probably should put on this list. Um, one this bit says [00:13:00] arrow point into the camera lens. This is a really important point actually. Um, now I’ve actually taken it off of my laptop. Cause if I pull it on and off during a video, it all bounces around. So it’s a bit rubbish, but my all camera I’m doing this on my laptop is the lens is in the middle of a black bar. It’s actually quite hard to see. Now, if I look down at the video of me, I’ll be looking down here and that will lose loads of energy through the videos or posts [00:13:30] actually looking at the lens. 

So usually I’ll have this simple little sticky note stuck right in the middle of my laptop, director me, I’m making sure that I looked down a lens. And, um, during that mastermind that we did recently, I mean, there’s lots of gold in there. There really was. But you know, that was the number one thing that actually came out was just eyes making sure you look at the land. So I’m trying very hard to look down the lens as much as possible. And then the last couple of points [00:14:00] is recording. You know, if it’s something I need to record, I absolutely need to remember to record. I have screwed that up before a once did a podcast. I think I did about a third of the podcast with out it being recorded. What would happen and is recorded? It, we’ve done a couple little mini rehearsals, technical checks and forgotten to turn the recorder back on as a really simple mistake and having a little checklist like this site was saved. 

My bacon has saved my [00:14:30] bacon since. So absolutely important just to go back to one thing on here, which I touched, I quickly glanced over. I don’t think I actually mentioned it to make sure your face kind of feels the lens as much as possible right now. I’m not the most attractive guy, but you know, I do to give myself the best chance of conveying information I to fill up the screen, you know, maybe I’d just probably be a little bit closer to be honest, but just look how, if I’m back here, [00:15:00] all the energy that gets wasted and dissipates, I need to be close to the lens. And I actually see really quite few people positioned well where they’re sort of filling up the camera lens a lot better and it’s, you know, simple support and for our communication. So these two bits together, the technical side of the right-hand side, and then this critical information about how we’re going to start the meeting, what we’re trying to achieve, the critical things we need to, [00:15:30] uh, to explain. 

And then the punchline I have found really, really helpful to me. So I’m on a little bit of a mission right now. Uh, I’ve been the, for some time we’re in this information age and it’s just too much dummy information in the world, right? Information on its own. Does diddly squat, me telling you this stuff does absolutely nothing. The only makes a difference if you actually learn from it, use it, embrace it in some way, [00:16:00] take it forward and improve your own sort of delivery yourself. So I’m going to really urge you to either download this PDF sheet and I’m going to make it easier on us to include a link below. So you can just download the sheet yourself. Alternatively, of course you can just write down your own one. Please do so, but do it now print out 20, 30, 40, 50 copies, keep them nearby. So next time you got a meeting, just pull it out, take two minutes to complete it [00:16:30] and deliver your meeting. So that’s the first kind of request I’ve got for you. And the second part, and the last part is actually a challenge. I’m going to ask you and invite you to take up this challenge, do that, use this prep sheet, all your own prep sheet for the next 10 meetings.

About the author

Simon K Williams

Entrepreneur, Author and Business-Architect. Working at the inter-section of design, technology & marketing.