Secrets to Instantly Boost Engagement in Virtual Meetings
In today’s virtual environment, people tend to be more passive, especially during larger meetings. This passivity can be a challenge for salespeople – especially since more engagement typically produces a more successful outcome. However, this passive behavior is not entirely your audience’s fault. We’ve been conditioned to slip into “receiver-mode” in front of screens, particularly when we anticipate a sales pitch or presentation. To boost engagement in virtual meetings, we must be more proactive as sellers – without constantly checking in for signs of life!
Here are three often overlooked tactics to help you break customers out of their passive state and get them participating:
Embrace the Pause
Silence is one of the most feared aspects of virtual meetings, especially the awkward silence that follows a question. To avoid this, many salespeople prematurely answer their own questions, setting a dangerous precedent. However, embracing the pause can be a powerful tool for enhancing engagement. Rather than fearing the silence, consider what happens in your audience’s minds when you pose a question in this quick video:
The video above demonstrates that this thought process your audience goes through can take 10-17 seconds. While you don’t have to pause for 17 seconds every time you pose a question, it’s essential to sit with the silence longer than you might find comfortable to allow your audience to process and respond. If you consistently interrupt this internal thought process your presentation may quickly turn into a one-sided monologue.
Eye Contact with the Camera
To significantly increase your response rate, try this simple two-part tactic in combination with embracing the pause: Look into the camera when you ask a question, and maintain your gaze.
Most people ask questions while looking at the images on their screen or immediately look down or away.In contrast, maintaining eye contact with the camera mimics in-person interaction and conveys that you expect an answer from your audience, making them more likely to respond.
Rethink Your Slides
The most compelling thing to a human being is another human’s face. Yet most virtual presenters jump right into their slide deck allowing their audience to only see a “tiny, little snapshot” of them up in the corner of their screen. Many slides that may have made sense in person are simply a poor use of real estate in virtual meetings. That introduction slide with your name and picture on it? That cool graphic with 3 words on it? Instead use the power of your face to keep your audience from slipping into passive mode. Avoid jumping into slides too quickly, and whenever possible, use full video to ensure that your audience can see your facial expressions, body language, and engage with you as if you were sitting across from them in person.
In virtual sales meetings, it’s crucial to foster active engagement and counter the passivity that often prevails. By embracing the pause, maintaining eye contact with the camera, and rethinking your slides, you can effectively break your audience out of their passive state, making your virtual interactions more productive and engaging.
Leverage the Secret of Virtual Influence in Sales and Leadership with Virtual Executive Presence
If you don’t take into account these and other unique communication challenges we face in a virtual world, you will struggle as a seller or a leader. Learn more about how you can develop your Virtual Executive Presence and elevate your influence below.