Don’t screw-up your online meeting!

Master Online Meetings:

This one piece of paper has helped transform my online meeting performance. Can it do the same for you?

With more than 300 millions people in Zoom meetings every day, it’s clear that we need to Master our Online Meetings. And this devilishly simple one-pager Prep Sheet will transform your meeting results.


The transcription below has been created by a bot:

So, hi, my name’s Simon Williams. I’m the external chief marketing officer at overnight design. And today we’re going to talk about mastering online meetings very, very briefly normally covered in great detail here, but I want to tell you a bit about my cheat sheet, my prep sheet. So this was all born out of me put together in a meeting an interview masterclass, actually with Ash Pemberton. Who’s the CEO of overnight design and Lee Warren Lee Jones really is an expert about presentation, but actually delivering the presentation itself. So he’s an ex suite. Ashley’s an expert on the graphical side of, of presentations and Lee in the performance of it. Now, after putting that meeting together and actually interviewing both of these people, I came away with lots of real gold and actually had to put a prep sheet together, not too dissimilar to this, to make sure that we’ve got the microphones all set up correctly, the lights were on, we were recording sound levels were correct.

And all those sort of things to make sure we didn’t screw it up. Right. Well, I didn’t screw it up. So that was very, very helpful for me. But after that meeting, there was lots more things I wanted to include on my sort of cheat sheet and it’s grown and grown to become what it is now. And I have found this massively helpful, really. So I’ve been using this for about six weeks and I use it from pretty much every meeting I do now. I just takes me about one or two minutes to complete. And I think my delivery is, I would say it’s at least 300% better than what it was. So let me run through that. I’m gonna show it to you now and please feel free to, to cheat and still the sheet. In fact, I’m going to give you a link in a moment and below this video.

So you can actually just download this and use it yourself and please do so with my, and our blessing at the top here, I just realised that, and I created this for me. Right. But you know, please feel free to use it. So I’ve got little statement here at the top here, which is a bit of a reminder to myself that, you know, amateur practises until they do a thing. Right. But professional practises until they can’t get it wrong and that’s a financial really valid point. Right. So it’s something I kind of constantly telling myself and reminds me to play at the very best that I can. So down the right hand side has all the technical stuff. Right. but, but really important to make sure it’s covered. So we’ve got, you know, make sure we’ve got the external mic selected to the correct one.

We do a sound level check. We select the right video camera, we position the camera. So it’s around eye-level we’ve lit the face so that you have to look at my ugly mug. And we liked the background because it looks better. I’ve actually got light on the background now I don’t have a remote, so I can’t easily turn it off for you whilst I’m doing this video. But when it’s dark, it’ll just dingy and horrible. And even though the background isn’t important for the content, of course not, it makes it better. It just does. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. So, you know, don’t sort of skip these little steps have you positioned it, so your face fills the lens, right? I’m pretty close to my camera almost a little bit too close for me, but I think video wise, it’s okay.

If I’m positioned back here, as I’ve seen many, many meetings, any energy I’ve got, it’s just going to dissipate and evaporate and not get down the camera lens. Right. So I do think it’s important that we are positioned pretty close to that lens. Do we have our do not disturbs and mobiles and things on site that’s really important, always like to have a glass of water nearby, actually some that’s not on the, on this list and I’d also like to do is to have some sucky sweets. So I have some yes, I’m sucking sweets Mentos or whatever it is nearby just helps lubricate my throat particularly comes along meeting, or at least in between meetings. I take that sort of very regular. It really helps actually. This last point is actually quite a big one and it’s just a sticky note.

I’ve actually just come off the computer right now, but I’ll normally have this stuck right in the middle of my laptop, pointing up to the camera lens to make sure I actually look at the lens. And the reason it’s not on the camera right now is it was kind of making the laptop camera shakes. So I’ve just taken off for a moment to do this video recording, but I use that and it’s you know very direct reminders to make sure I look down the lens. So let me just show you a little video clip that of Lee Warren explaining this very point

So I use is the next one I brought up and this we can deal with very quickly, but these are important. So the single big biggest tip here, and again, I can’t believe so many people are still getting this wrong is you have to get used to looking into the lens, not at yourself and not constantly looking for feedback from text or from from audiences reactions. And it’s, it’s a bit of a habit you have to train yourself into. So I’m looking into the lens now I’m not looking at myself or any of the people attending this call. If I, if I go down here, which is my instinct my E cause I can see myself in my peripheral vision. If I look down here, this looks natural to me, this feels great to me. But to you watching this, this probably feels like I’ve just lost interest in you or I’m reading some notes or something. If I come back to the lens, this feels a little bit strange to me. I’ve got used to it now, but it used to feel strange. But to you, this probably is a much more satisfying experience. So

There’s a little clip from Lee Warren that explaining the importance of eyes and actually one of the things that came at the end of that masterclass, and we asked people now what’s some of the takeaways they’d got that simple little sort of trick or, or, or tip. There was one of the things that came up for almost everybody that just remember to look down the lens. So I, you know, use that. It’s just a sticky note to remind myself, to look down the lens. And then last thing very, very importantly is, am I recording? And I’ve got that literally done literally written twice to double-check that I am recording because I have done it and I’ve done it more times than I like to, you know, admit that completed something. And it wasn’t recording. I did a whole, almost a whole podcast once which wasn’t recorded and I was devastating with somebody that was going to be very hard to get that time again.

So, you know, for the sake of a little piece of paper to make sure I don’t make that mistake in the future is, you know, really valuable to me, but the real gold is on the left-hand side, right? So this is specific to each and every meeting. So, you know, what is the theme? What is the subject matter of the, that particular meeting? So that’s what I call the title. And I see I’ve got these all circular dot says, I just tick these off as I was either confirmed that they’ve done or is it the, as I’ve said them, or I’ve made a note of what they are then the hook. So what is the hook? A hook is the opening statement. So if you think about films, a moment you go and watch the next James Bond movie is pretty much surely going to start with a big open end sequence and the re and that sequence by the way, will have absolutely nothing to do with the plot of the film.

Why does it do that? Because it wants to get you engaged, wants to kind of get you metaphorically to the front of your seat, to get you tuned in, you know, raise your awareness, get you engaged, participating in that event. And we need to do that in other forms of communication for very similar reasons. So when I was on stage on, you know, speaking to sometimes big audiences, maybe a thousand people, maybe 2000 people, for sure, I have got to have quite a bold, big opening statement to try and get as much of that audience engaged and listening to the rest of my, my content. So you may or may not remember, but actually what I wrote down for my hook, and we’ll actually said, let’s start off this meeting was don’t screw up your next online meeting. So that’s a slightly provocative, bold statement, but that’s why we do it.

And I think our hook is really, really vital in almost all of our meetings. I know it kind of can seem a bit almost scary and it’s easy to kind of wind out of, of using it. And it does feel a bit strange saying especially the first few times, for sure, absolutely. But I found it been very beneficial. I think in an online meeting, it can be done a little bit softer for sure, but it definitely has a place. So please do give that some consideration next bit is desired outcome. I think when we do online meetings are just so easy to do, right? Just push one button and we’re straight into our meeting. And in the old fashioned days, we might get in our cars and drive for half an hour, an hour to get to a, me too, we might get an, a train.

Sometimes we have to get on a plane and fly to another country just to complete a meeting. Now, when that’s such a difficult exercise to do, we kind of instinctively give it a lot of consideration, what’s the information we’re going to give. What’s the information we’re trying to extract or get what’s the outcome we are looking to achieve. And at least for me, I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s guilty of this. Sometimes I’ve not done those, those sort of steps. And I’ve just sort of jumped into a meeting and kind of winged it, and guess what? I’m not always got the best outcome from that meeting. So being really clear, what is your desired outcome? Even if that desired outcome is just another meeting, that’s totally valid. Write that down a bit, just really clear what it is you’re aiming to do. Then once we’ve done that bit, we want to look at what is the critical points that you need to mention to help you achieve that desired outcome.

And, you know, for example, I’ve written down four points that I want to mention, join this little video clip. Sometimes I’ve got more, but I try and find three to five points in my experience, especially it’s a piece like maybe it’s talking to a prospect, there’s probably some USP’s, there might be some testimonials or critical piece of information that if you convey that to your guests, you are going to have a much better chance of getting your desired outcome. So we need to make sure that I know what I have seen myself do in the past. When I first started using this sheet, I was kind of half using it and I’d realise that the intimating, Oh my God, if I only said one of the five things I meant to do, and perhaps I didn’t deserve achieve the desired outcome. Well, Simon, no big surprise.

I didn’t tell them four fifths of the critical things I needed to convey. So, and not probably not going to get the result I need. Right. So what I do now is I have a sheet front of me and I can see the Mo the meeting, you know, closing or about to, about to finish. I’ll take a look and I’ll actually guys, I’m just going to quickly check. There’s nothing else I want to cover. Oh yes. There was one other point we’ve not covered to the list like to raise. Can I just take a moment and tell you about X and I’ll just be blatant about that. And actually, you know, it doesn’t matter that you’ve forgotten about it, actually it’s professional, you’ve got notes and you didn’t miss something. Right? So by the end of that meeting, I shove a tick next to each of these points known that I’ve given myself the best chance to achieve that.

And then the last two points on here is the punchline and then the outcome. So I’ll do this in reverse order. The outcome is, did you achieve that desired outcome? We might not know that straight away sometimes might take a few days before you know, what the outcome is, and if you achieved your desired outcome and the only piece of information, any kind of statement that is perhaps more important, more critical than your opening statement is your closing one, your closing statement or the punchline. It’s so easy just to end. Thanks. We bought a really nice chat to you all the best. Bye bye now. Bye bye. Bye bye. And it kind of drift off in a really watery, yucky, yeah. Lows of loss of energy, the end of the meeting, where it’s kind of awkward. Someone’s accidentally hung up on the other person, cause there’s not a clean and it’s just a bit rubbish.

Isn’t it? I mean, I’m hitting laptop was I do that, which is why I’m bouncing around. It’s just a bit rubbish. So we want to have a clean and simple, slightly punchy closed that meets in wherever possible. And I think that’s probably the hardest thing that you come up with now, what I’ve seen some people do. And I seen it work very, very well is they have a fairly well-rehearsed leaving statement is just like a one-liner. It’s almost like a piece of branding for them to just say that the end to wrap up the meeting or the video clip that worked particularly well in a sort of video clip rather than a live meeting. I’ve it’s not something that I’m currently using, but I probably something I will use in the future, definitely something worth exploring. It’s something we probably will be introducing at overnight design.

Could we do a lot of meetings as you might imagine. So with that in mind, I’ve got a couple of bits I want to leave you with. First of all, I’m on a bit of a mission, just not cause you know, we’re in the information age, right? And there’s just so much information. I want our help us move beyond information to actually spreading wisdom. So me telling you this piece of information actually achieves absolutely nothing, right? It’s only if you go and do something with it, would it make a difference? I’m really going to give you a bit of a kick and kind of urge you to do something, but now I’ve made it easy for you. You can download this cheat sheet and please print out now 10, 20, 40, 50 copies to other staff members, other colleagues about it do the same. They’re all by all means, come up with your own version, but do it like do it now, even download the one I’m about to give you or make Corona makeup now and just photocopy it a bunch of times and use it for.

So that’s the first thing I’m going to request and kind of urge you to do. Now. I can only do so much, right? You’re the one that’s going to need to take some action if you want to benefit if you want to improve your online meeting. So that’s my, my little rant. And my challenge to you is to do that for the next 10 meetings. Use your prep sheet, just spend two minutes completing this check sheet, this prep sheet before your next 10 meetings. And I I’m sure it will really, really improve your meetings. Please let me know how it goes. Did it improve it where the other things that you added to your prep sheet to improve it even further, any additional tips have you passed on to other people’s that they also improve their, their business meetings? So that’s it. That’s my challenge to you. The 10 meeting challenge over and out.

Will you take on the 10 meeting challenge?

  • Download the Prep Sheet & print out
  • Complete for 10 online meetings
  • Transform your online meeting results
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About the author

Simon K Williams

Chief Marketing Officer at Overnight Design.

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