With Remote Meetings Here to Stay, Is It Time to Upgrade Your Setup?
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
Rather than the fresh start we all associate with a new year, 2022 has begun with omicron, leading us to record case numbers and topping last year's numbers for hospitalizations as well.
For financial advisors, pandemic protocols and social distancing have transformed a previously in-person business into one that is thriving virtually. Even though the capability has been available for years, COVID-19 was, in many respects, the permission slip needed for advisors to allow client rapport and business success to both be built remotely.
Though many are now expecting COVID-19 and its variants to settle in as an endemic, albeit unwelcomed, addition to modern life, remote meetings that have allowed additional meeting capacity, lower reschedule rates and greater efficiency are likely here to stay.
Whether you’ve fully resisted any major investment that would acknowledge a permanent shift to remote or have just one or two areas that could use further improvement, there’s no time like the present for an upgrade to what has become the backbone of client meetings.
Here are some tips:
Background: Your visible background should be clean, professional, visually appealing and free from clutter. A minor investment in some small furniture, decorative pieces, art or wall hangings, a plant (or faux plant if you have a black thumb like me) and time spent reorienting your desk and tidying up before meetings will be worth it in both perception and your own confidence level and pride during meetings.
Lighting: Try to position your desk facing any bright windows rather than having windows positioned behind you, which will darken your face and create focusing issues for your camera. If this isn’t possible, one central or two lights positioned behind your screen will help ensure a clear, appropriately lit image. If you have to choose between upgrading your camera and adding light, light will actually make a bigger difference.
Sound: Rather than relying on the microphone built into your laptop or webcam, which often sounds muffled or far away, using AirPods, a wireless headset or a good quality desk microphone will noticeably help improve sound clarity.
Image: Adding an external web camera can improve image quality dramatically. And thanks to the demand for them, the choices have never been better.
Focus: While it is natural to look at the client on screen, looking at the camera is key to creating the equivalent of eye contact for the client. This may mean positioning your camera in a place very close to where the client will appear on your screen or creating a visual reminder to look at the camera.
Program Familiarity: Being able to use virtual software efficiently will ensure a smooth meeting. If you’re not familiar with how to share your screen, documents or allow the client to do so as well, take time to test these features ahead of time until they are familiar.
It’s never too late to upgrade your set-up with any or all of the tips above!