In October last year I began selling tickets to The Closet of Mystery, a magic and mind reading show that I created to be performed out of the storage room in my condo.
Here are six things I learned about doing a Zoom show that I think you could apply to your typical online meetings too.
Lead with gratitude and engagement. While there’s a lot to be said for “opening the show with a bang,” there’s nothing better than welcoming your guests and thanking them sincerely for coming and catching up before getting down to business.
Keep your friends close— but your audience closer. If you want interaction, let your face fill the screen. I’ve had a few events (even corporate ones) that some attendees for whatever reason kept their distance from their webcam. It creates a passive atmosphere and can ruin the vibe if you’re looking for lots of participation. Move them in!
Sound beats picture. Your laptop webcam is probably fine, but If you’re looking to up your Zoom-game, invest in a microphone before a new camera. It’s been proven many times that people can handle a low resolution image if the audio is good— but if the sound is poor, a 4k image won’t help, no matter how great the routine.
For important meetings a Wifi connection doesn’t cut it. Wifi is a magical but unpredictable beast. One minute you could be in the middle of an amazing conversation, the next you’re only catching every other word of what was supposed to be an important point. Freezing mid-trick is un-amazing! When you’re doing a show, making a pitch, or trying to make a great impression—plug it in! Use your computer’s hard wire/ethernet connection instead of Wifi. It’s not fail-safe but you’ll have more confidence about maintaining a strong connection.
Leave them wanting more… It’s the oldest lesson of show business. A good show is as long as it has to be— but not a minute longer! Zoom Fatigue is real and the best way to combat it is to keep your meetings tight. Nobody complains that a meeting was too short and if there is a lot of material that needs to be covered consider breaking one big meeting into a couple of strong “acts”. If there are a lot of fine details that have to be shared it might be delivered as a download in the chat to be read afterward.
… and for an encore! It took me longer than it should have for me to remember that the show isn’t over when the curtain comes down. I’ve found myself borrowing the old theatre practice of chatting with interested audience members in the lobby after the show is done. Include “after” in your meeting plan. It’s an opportunity to continue building relationships, building anticipation for the next thing, or adding a call to action.