1. Opt for Video Whenever Possible
Although several technologies are available for remotely connecting with your client, you have the best chance of attracting their interest and keeping their attention during a video meeting. Video is also the best option for creating a personal relationship and getting to know a new client, since it allows participants to read body language and subtle visual cues.
2. Prepare a Clear Agenda in Advance
When you can't be together in person, it's especially important to help your client understand the goals for your remote meeting and what to expect during your presentation.
Send them a clear agenda in advance, indicating that it will be a video meeting if that's the case, so they can come prepared. Share precise instructions on how to join the meeting and contact information for someone your client can reach out to for video conferencing tips if they have any trouble connecting. Encourage your client to test their technology setup in advance so their experience is as smooth as possible.
3. Optimize Your Environment
You'll want to make sure that the image you convey to your client isn't distracting in any way — after all, you would like them to focus on your idea and how it will help them achieve their goals.
Before your remote client meeting, take a careful look at the background behind you. Consider removing any clutter that might be lying around in view of the camera. If you've got little ones or furry friends, make sure to minimize any well-intentioned interruptions they may cause.
4. Present a Professional Image
Your lighting, camera angle, and sound will determine how well the client can see and hear you and, by extension, how well they respond to your pitch. Place your lighting behind the camera to gently illuminate your face and position your camera at eye level. Make sure you're not speaking too loudly or close to the microphone. This way, you'll look like a pro and your pitch will be persuasive.
5. Do a Test Run
The New York Times advised testing the technology you'll be using to run your meeting — including your camera, microphone, video conferencing software, and internet connection — in advance of the big day so you feel confident that everything's working smoothly and you know how to access all the features you need. Conducting a dry run will also help reduce any jitters you might experience during the actual video conference, ensuring that you come across as relaxed and confident when you're making your pitch.
6. Focus on Your Client
Make sure to look directly into the camera as much as you can while you're speaking during a video meeting, practice active listening when your client is speaking, and take care not to appear distracted when someone else is talking. That will go a long way toward creating the feeling of a face-to-face conversation and establishing a personal rapport with your client.
You can still establish a personal connection with your client — even from a distance.
7. Minimize Distractions
When you're not speaking, mute your microphone to cut down on any distracting noises that could make it hard for your client to hear. You might also want to encourage your colleagues to do the same if they're joining the call with you. If you're sharing your screen, turn off any sounds or notifications on your computer that could distract from your presentation. This applies to any other applications or browser tabs you may have open, too.
Useful Tools for Conducting Remote Client Meetings
When you can't be with your client in person, the right tools will help you make a meaningful connection with them. These capabilities will come in handy the next time you're pitching an idea in a remote client meeting:
1. Flexible choices for connecting. If you give your clients the option to join your remote meeting using a web browser, they won't have to download an application and confirm that it works.
2. Screen sharing. The ability to share your screen and put your presentation in full-screen mode will make your pitch more compelling, attracting your client's full attention.
3. Calendar integration. Integration with office calendars like Google Calendar makes it easy for everyone to see at a glance what's coming up and how to connect.
4. Messaging. If you're having a large group meeting, messaging can help you engage your audience and answer questions without disrupting the flow of the presentation.
5. File sharing. Need to share documents with your clients during your meeting? File sharing makes this a snap, ensuring everyone has the materials they need during and after the presentation.
6. Recording. Particularly if you're presenting complex information, you may find it useful to record your meeting and make it available for playback on demand.
Make Your Next Remote Client Meeting Memorable
You can still establish a personal connection with your client — even from a distance — the next time you have a great idea to pitch them. By following these best practices and making sure you have the right capabilities in place, you can wow your clients with a compelling presentation that leaves a lasting impression.