• Steve Lesnewich

An Ongoing Guide to Staying Productive, Sane, and Healthy as We Navigate this Unique Time.

This is part two of our Road Warrior’s guide. Check out part one for more tips! Scroll to the bottom of this article for a chance to win a company-branded background image for your video calls! *

Talk about a wake-up call! Picture this: It’s 9:00 a.m., and I’m logging into a Zoom call with our department about membership going forward in 2020. Once I’ve logged into the meeting, I look at my computer to see who’s already on and who’s coming on. Then comes the Moment. Regardless if you’re on Zoom, Facetime, or newcomer app Houseparty, we’ve all encountered this shocking moment. 

It’s when your own face pops up on the screen. 

I still can’t get used to it. Sales calls, phone calls, texts, emails, even face to face you never see yourself when you communicate! But these virtual calls today put your face right up there. It’s never a pretty thing to see, but this time was worse because I didn’t remember to comb my hair, shave, or change my clothes. Not a pretty sight. But it got me thinking: why is it that when I go to the office or visit a customer, I always make sure I look my best and act professionally, but here, I’ve let myself go? Laziness? The at-home environment? A statement protesting forced stay-at-home orders? It could be any or all of these.

Regardless, as a Road Warrior, you have to look and act like a sales professional. In my last article, we talked about two tips to help you through this: 1. Not abandoning your morning routine; and 2. Making sure you dress for the office when have a virtual call with your customer.

Virtual customer calls have unique challenges that you typically will not experience in a face-to-face call. Here are a few tips that will help you better prepare for having more productive and professional virtual calls:

  1. Check your settings. If you host a virtual meeting, make sure you log in to your call prior to the start of the meeting and test your connection and audio. There have been too many times that my at-home WiFi has lost a good amount of bandwidth. There is nothing more frustrating than watching that spinning thingy on your screen trying to connect your call. Checking your connection early gives you the opportunity to turn your cellphone into a hotspot or, if you have one, to use a portable MiFi. Do the same thing with your audio settings and make sure both your microphone and speakers are working correctly.

  2. Consider your background. Find a quiet spot with a neutral background, if possible. I know this could prove to be difficult for some, especially if you’re confined to a small apartment where roommates or family members are also trying to do the same thing. Having distracting photos or images, including your bed, can interfere with your viewers’ concentration. Zoom offers you the option to pick your own background from photos, PDFs, or even GIFs that are on your computer. When having virtual meetings with friends or very close colleagues, some of these can be a lot of fun. But trying to focus on someone who looks like he’s driving a speedboat can be very distracting and not very productive. Or, if you can create your own background with your company name, logo, and colors, go for it. It will look professional, brand your company, and reduce distractions. 

  3. Be careful about noises. This sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many times I hear a television (usually tuned to a news channel), music, or cars and trucks in the background. I’m guilty of this as well – I forget to turn off my radio all the time. It’s also very smart to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking, especially when you have several people on the call. Today’s microphones are very sensitive; moving papers, typing, or clicking your pen, even for just taking notes, can distract your listeners. I’ve been involved in group meetings that became big wastes of time because several of the participants did not mute their microphones. 

Like any new skill, practice makes perfect. As we adjust to this new paradigm in the sales process, we’ll learn new fundamentals for being successful Road Warriors that were not on our radar just a few short months ago. 

As always, if anyone has any tips to help your fellow Road Warriors get through this, just let me know! And if you want more tips, check out part one

See you next time. Stay healthy and be safe!

*Road Warrior Contest: To help you put some of these valuable tips into action, AMT will design a company-branded background image for the first Road Warrior who logs in below and leaves a comment for this offer! Take your Zoom video calls to the next level! Contest begins Monday, April 27, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. EDT.