Chamber Chat with Vicky Lofthouse
Trying to be an uber organised professional has got me thinking more and more about online meetings. The rules for our long-established tried and tested face to face meetings, are clear and what I have been following since I started working at the Chamber nearly 15 years ago. So much of it centres around preparation, and for this part not much has changed.
I always spend time looking into who I am meeting, their history, current role, and of course their why! I don’t think twice about preparing for the meeting itself, ensuring I have the papers (and have read them!!), agendas, etc. I always plan my route, familiarise myself with the venue, and even check out the parking. Do I need change or can I pay on my phone etc? All important aspects, so I know what time to leave the office to arrive in time to get to the meeting. Having grabbed a coffee and used the facilities on the way I normally time it so I am five to ten minutes early. Aiming for the not too keen, but not late camp.
However, the latter part of my planning doesn’t exist at present and for the foreseeable. But what I want to know is what the best or even right time is to arrive at an online meeting. Answers on a postcard to the Chamber Office, please! As I simply don’t know the answer, so instead I am led by the majority, who as I have witnessed arrive through Zoom or Teams on my laptop bang on the time the meeting is due to start and I literally mean to the second!
It’s a shame if this is the right thing to do because you miss so much from not having those brief discussions and catch-ups with fellow attendees before the meeting starts. Sometimes, the snippets of conversations can be more valuable than the meeting itself. You meet new people, gain new leads, pass on referrals, etc, none of which seem to happen before zoom meetings.
We must make the most of these brief encounter opportunities. So if you are next in a meeting with me or anyone else, grab a coffee, use the facilities, and login 5 minutes early. You might end up looking at yourself and adjusting your hair or camera angle waiting for others to arrive or you might end up having the best conversation of your day.