Virtual Success

The traditional platforms of networking and meeting face to face to discuss your business, has taken a rapid transformation into a virtual world of Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams, to mention just a few.

With the Government’s guidance indicating that social distancing is here to stay, our habits need to change. It’s sensible to look at how your business and communication activities will be affected. Therefore, what can you do to make the best of these opportunities to ensure that you achieve success?

It may sound quite simple to change your face to face meeting to an online forum, but the dynamics of discussions can be significantly altered. Here we’ve set out some ideas of how you can make your virtual meetings a success:

Preparation is key 

  • Familiarity with the technology – there’s nothing worse than spending time looking at a blank screen. Seeing someone talking because they’ve forgotten they’re on mute or the camera being firmly fixed on a cleavage or crotch. Set up a meeting with friends & family and practice using the technology and features of the system.
  • Set your agenda – make sure you have an outline of what you want to discuss. Use key points you want to get across to your audience. You only get one chance to make a first impression!
  • Prepare your materials – whilst we wouldn’t condone ‘death by PowerPoint’, having a few key slides/screens with important points you want to get across to your audience will help. They will also be a useful aide memoire for you and a visual stimuli for your participants. These materials, can then be ready to forward on straight after the meeting, to keep your audience engaged ready for your follow up. This can either be email or good old fashioned glossy brochure popped in the post.

Appearance & Environment

  • Dress to impress – despite having a meeting from the comfort of your own home, how you look and present yourself is still important. If it’s a meeting that you would normally attend in formal business wear, apply the same principle to your virtual meeting. Going the extra mile counts. Let’s face it no one needs to see you in your Chewbacca onesie!
  • Background – What you keep in your spare room should stay behind closed doors. No one wants to see your pile of ironing, collection of ceramic horses or secret obsession with all things Disney. Why not smarten up your virtual meetings with a professionally designed and branded background? Your background can really work for you to market your business, no matter what topic you are discussing. Remember this can be used, not just for the meetings you’re hosting, but also ones you are attending as a participant. 
  • Interruptions – whilst we’re all sharing the same space at home, partners, children, cats and dogs, can sometimes creep into the space, detracting from your meeting. Try to, politely suggest, that you’re not to be disturbed and the area is off limits for the duration of your meeting. Otherwise you may miss key points and/or lose your audience. 

Etiquette

  • Introduce everyone there (unless presenting to a large audience) – It’s good to acknowledge everyones attendance. This will give you an opportunity to make sure all participants can see/hear you and importantly, you can hear them.
  • Share your agenda – set out what the agreed format of your meeting is. Interruptions to ask questions can lead to the flow of your presentation or discussion being disjointed and frustrating. If individuals are asking questions at the same time and talking over one another they can quickly lose interest if they’re struggling to be heard. Build in periods to cover any questions. See below on how best to manage these.
  • Gathering views/asking questions – when gathering views or looking for audience participation, direct your questions to specific individuals by name. Simply opening up “does anyone have any questions”, will lead to individuals talking over each other or not having the confidence to speak at all. Go around your participants by name and ask if they want clarification on any point. Also build in your agenda the usual AOB item at the end. Make sure you invite each participant to speak rather than just a general “any other business folks” and don’t miss anyone out!

Follow up

  • Email – as you would in the real world, a courtesy email with copies of any materials shared and thanking individuals for their contributions, is a great way to encourage a continued business relationship.
  • Printed items – we’re going a little retro here, but these days receiving something in the post can feel like quite a treat. Why not send out a postcard, letter or brochure for your audience to peruse. Whilst you may not have a home address, they will still be checking the post in the office on a regular basis.
  • Branded merchandise – who doesn’t like getting a freebie in the post. We’ve not bought a pen, shopping bag or umbrella for the last 10 years. What better way for free advertising for your business, than to send out, good quality, branded merchandise for your potential clients to use day in, day out. You’ll always be first on their mind if that first cup of coffee in the morning is in your mug.

So how can IMDesign help you get the best out of your virtual meetings? 

  • Contact us to prepare your bespoke, branded, virtual meeting room background and really stand out from the crowd.
  • Speak to us about great design and artwork for your presentations, follow up emails and printed materials.
  • Get in touch for ideas and quotes on branded merchandise that will keep your business name at the forefront of your customers minds.
zoom backgrounds

Bespoke Zoom background designs

Why not go on a bear hunt?

Whilst we are all under lock down, how about a bit of fun? You may of heard of the book ‘We’re Going On Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. Well, during your daily exercise with the kids or even without kids, try and spot as many ‘bears’ in windows as you can. You can download this picture if you like to colour in and stick in your window. You can also dress up any cuddly toy bears you have and put them in your window too.

Remember to social distance yourself!

Have fun on your bear hunt and stay safe.

From all at IMDesign.

Bear Pic

Cuddly Bear

We’re getting animated about GIFS…

People are bombarded with media content, advertisements and digital offerings every day, but for most businesses these are a necessary evil to promote their services and products. So how can you stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of your customers.

One of the ways we are supporting businesses here at IMDesign, is through the use of animated GIFs. 

“What is an animated GIF?” I hear you cry…

In short, a GIF is an image encoded in graphics interchange format (GIF), containing a sequence of images flattened into a single file which can loop endlessly or stop after one rotation. Bored yet, don’t worry we’ve got it covered.

There are a number of advantages in using an animated GIF in your arsenal of media content including:

  1. They capture your customers attention more easily and audiences often pay far more attention to the content. 
  2. GIFs are created with a small file size which quickly load without losing their quality.
  3. Can be transposed with a transparent background and so can easily fit into any existing design format
  4. They convey messages much better showing movements and emotions. 
  5. Work well with tutorial materials as well as general advertising in capturing and maintaining the attention of the audience.

Our recent commissions have included animated GIFs for a digital marketing company who offer SEO support, website optimisation and bespoke training to their customers; a business development consultancy focusing on training for sales teams; and, a travel and tour consultant providing bespoke holiday experiences. 

The feedback has been exceptional and has given their digital marketing a fresh new feel which captures their customers attention right from the start.

If you would like to see what we can do for you, please feel free to get in contact for an initial discussion to review your existing media content and how animated GIFs could work for you. From email footers, social media banners and website content to presentations, tutorial materials and much more we’ll help lift your message off the page.

In our next blog we will look at the power of your brand and the key elements considered when designing company and product logos.