Last week I was asked to discuss the difference between networking face to face and the shift to the remote world.
I always have standard features and, using the word “Welcome” harks back to my days at Disney. The word is a smile within itself and as a host it is so important to make everyone feel welcome as soon as possible. To foster warmth instantly over a screen you have to use the right tonality as well as the right words. I attended a webinar recently where the host was very shouty and I felt intimidated even sitting in my own home.
Try and be original with introductions, just as we hated the round the table we also hate round the screens. Ask people to hold up pictures or give a word to describe how they feel at that moment, who is their favourite actor or actress…be adventurous!
Decide whether to have a waiting room or no waiting room. The benefit of not having one is that you can host some small talk before the event begins. The formality of a slide or holding screen can be appropriate, or it might create a barrier.
Engaging with people is about staying on screen, so minimise your slide deck and use break out rooms as when necessary.
Your own background rather than a beach in Miami, exposing your home makes you authentic. Everyone loves to see a dog or child in the background, its “real” and all an extension of you.
Networking is relationship building, it is not about attending to be seen on screen, it is about getting to know each other and if you set up appropriately and warmly it can happen very easily.
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