Virtual Meetings are like...a Morning Show
Not Apple TV's "The Morning Show." Way too much drama and who can afford to hire Jennifer Aniston. But in the new world a virtual meeting is not just turning on a Zoom background, rather a good one could be compared to a local morning show. Good news for many who always wanted to be in show business -- now you get your wish. Here are a couple of suggestions to consider for virtual meetings big and small:
Storyboard - First and most important, we need a story. What is the theme and goal of the meeting? Once established then every minute of the meeting needs to be mapped. Who talks when, what graphics are displayed and what is the pacing down to the minute.
Time - Virtual time is a third to a half of the usual face to face meeting. Everything is compressed. One hour onsite becomes 30 minutes online. And it includes the breaks. Hint: TV shows usually break every 10-15 minutes, viewers need bio breaks, and we might, too!
Host(s) - someone needs to facilitate the meeting. Just like the morning hosts banter and introduce each segment, a good virtual meeting has a host(s) who keeps things moving. They guide the attendees through the meeting. They are the center of the production.
Director - someone not on camera, who watches the storyboard and directs what happens. They are in control when wifi hesitates or a segment doesn't go as planned. They watch the clock and determine how to involve the audience -- the critical piece. They can use QA questions, video snippets, or turn on participant cameras. The host can't do this they are too busy with their function.
Graphics director - someone who controls the hardware and builds the graphics seen by the attendees. They control the poritons when the hosts are not on camera. For a smaller meeting, the director may have to play this role as well.
Cooking Segment - the morning shows always have a hands on demonstration like a cooking segment. For our meetings, pre-recorded demos, interviews, videos all can be used as segments. We need something supporting the meeting other than talking heads. How will we handle them? Like a cooking segment the ingredients have to be pre-assembled, the finished product pre-cooked to be pulled from the oven instantly -- and it all needs to be rehearsed.
Rehearsal - That's right, can't wing this one. With storyboard and a director we need to walk through the entire meeting. Participants have to know their marks, and transitions have to be practiced. It gives the participants confidence in the program and their parts.
PS Make up - Yep, we are on camera. Be careful! High Def cameras require flawless complexions, hair in place, clothes that fit properly and the right colors. Imperfections will be magnified. There are advantages using lower def cameras.
While this applies to ALL meetings from the smallest to the largest, it's not bad news. These are new skills we can master to enhance the value of our offerings. The attendees need to have fun, be entertained and learn something valuable. If we can accomplish it, we can actually expand the reach of our sessions to a much larger audience. They will look forward to our next morning show, er ah virtual meeting.
Any other suggestions? How about some cool things you've discovered?