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June 17, 2022

Maximizing the Benefit of Virtual Meetings

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One of the by-products of the last few years has been the massive upswing in the adoption of virtual meetings. While having the ability to meet offline is becoming an increasingly possible option, virtual meetings can accomplish more and don't seem to be going away. 

Virtual meetings have increased efficiency, accessibility, and flexibility in servicing clients. Directly, advisor teams should incorporate the dynamics of these virtual meetings into their client service model to ensure these gains continue.

As you consider your communication strategy, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What are the contact preferences of my clients?
  2. What is my/"my team's" preferred client contact strategy?

Yes, these preferences may evolve, but answering these questions can set you on the right path to a service model that works for your clients and your team.

When the inevitable virtual meeting pops up in your calendar, here are a few strategies to make them more professional and impactful.

Eye contact

Presumably, eye contact has been an issue you have experienced when you are conducting a virtual meeting and the other individual isn't looking anywhere near the camera. Inconsistent eye contact can be distracting and also impair communication. One solution is, having the camera angle set at eye level in front of your face. Doing so will ensure trust and better attention between you and your client. Practicing looking directly into the lens during your conversation creates the feeling of eye contact. Additionally, if staring into the camera does not feel comfortable, or you find yourself forgetting, put a small sticky note with a reminder on it next to the camera. It will draw your eye to it and remind you to smile!

Active listening

Demonstrating that you're listening is crucial to communicating with your clients. Meeting virtually, can make it easy for people to talk over each other due to a simple Wi-Fi lag or missed facial cues. How then do you demonstrate active listening in your conversations? First, try to implement a pause It allows individuals to collect their thoughts and limits people from talking over each other. Pausing also allows any potential internet lag to catch up. Another strategy is to recap what you've just heard. For example, saying something like "just to make sure I heard correctly you are saying…". The last strategy is to share your note-taking. Sharing notes can be as simple as opening and sharing a document for all to see as you transcribe your thoughts. This way, clients can see what you have recollected and ensure that you're getting it correctly.

Incorporating visuals

A virtual meeting is perfect for showing visuals. We have narrowed down some important visual strategies to ensure a more engaging presentation. Firstly, keeping on the camera and sharing your screen can be instrumental for walking through a financial plan, a presentation, or even your notes. Visuals allow clients to understand what you are discussing and keep them engaged throughout the meeting. Using an application with a whiteboard feature is a great way to show your work or explain a concept while speaking with your clients.

Use an agenda

It is vital that every meeting has a clear direction. Providing an agenda to your clients before the meeting allows them to add and change elements based on their needs. Agendas guarantee purpose, focus and attention to all necessary items. During virtual meetings, an agenda can also be shared via chat or as a slide that you share as a reference point. 

Group meetings

Coordinating the schedules of multiple participants and getting them together at a specific in-person location can be a full-time job. Instead, by using virtual meetings, you are able to bring together multiple individuals in an instant to add even more significance to your clients. For example, incorporating other family members such as, beneficiaries, a trusted contact person, your COIs, business partners, portfolio managers, strategists, planners, wholesalers, or bankers can add engagement and make the best use of everyone's time. Using some of the practices mentioned above in conjunction with this strategy, can add value to your virtual meetings.

Having a dedicated strategy for your virtual meetings can take your presentations to the next level. Utilizing both real-life and virtual meetings can allow for more regular communication, deeper trust, and increased business opportunities. This is a part of your practice you don't want to keep on mute. Contact your CI representative to learn more about how CI Advisor Consulting's Practice Management Team can help you maximize your digital presence and take your business to the next level.

About the Author

Ryan Becker

Ryan Becker

Blog author
CI Global Asset Management

Ryan is responsible for the digital delivery of insightful and implementable content for the advisor community. He also consults directly with advisors regarding their unique needs delivering strategies that match needs to outcomes. He leverages many years of industry experience across the asset management world managing teams and projects in the back and front office. He is incredibly passionate about practice management and coaching. He received B.Comm (Honours) from the University of Guelph and is also a Chartered Investment Manager.


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