In the last six months working remotely has quickly become the new norm. Many companies went remote in light of the world-wide pandemic, and some have adopted the work-from-home culture indefinitely. Making that shift from face-time in the office to virtual communications doesn’t come without its challenges. Virtual meetings and events specialist, Guin White, helps remote teams adjust to working from home (or from anywhere, for that matter). Guin advises small and medium-sized business (SMB) clients on remote meetings and events, consults on their tech stack for making virtual connections and work-from-home (WFH) solutions, and consults on how to deploy and lead remote teams. This allows businesses to focus on what’s important: their missions, driving engagement and growth, and increasing their revenues.
Guin’s clientele consists of small businesses, solopreneurs, and high-level thought leaders or small teams who don’t have the bandwidth to manage the nitty-gritty, day-to-day stuff, such as planning remote meetings or events. As an entrepreneur herself— Guin launched her first company at 25, which was profitable within 15 months, and completely bootstrapped— she offers a unique perspective. Call her a Jack (or Jane) of all trades, with tools and knowledge made available for C-level executives and start-ups alike.
So, what does a WFH-guru such as Guin think of the shift in workplace structure, and how does it affect the way individuals or teams pitch themselves? Let’s dig in.
The remote workplace
There’s no doubt that working remote, versus being in an office, can shake things up (for better or worse). Some teams will struggle to find their footing in the new norm, while others will thrive. Remote meetings and pitches have a whole new set of challenges. While many people think those struggles are rooted in the technology, Guin says it's actually getting everyone “there” and keeping them engaged. No one wants their business counterpart distracted by the neighbor mowing the lawn across the street, or an important investor unable to join the meeting.
“If you’re working with a work-from-anywhere (WFA) team, it’s a good idea to lay down a few ground rules mainly regarding attendance and participation,” Guin explains, “It’s also helpful to connect daily and keep meetings brief and on topic.”
How you capture your audience’s attention, and more importantly retain it, might be different than if you were in a conference room. Taking those extra steps to become familiar with the technology, and connect with the attendees, can help to keep all parties interested and engaged.
Pro tips for nailing remote meetings (and pitches)
Obviously, technology is of the essence. It’s the backbone of the remote workplace. And knowing how to host a call, and present remotely, can make or break a meeting. But it goes deeper than that. She explains that having patience and empathy with your attendees who may not be experts in virtual tech is important, especially if you have to walk them through the set-up process. No technology is perfect, and not everyone is tech-savvy, and that’s okay. No matter how much you plan and prepare, there will very likely be hiccups along the way, but the show must go on.
Here are Guin’s top three tips for preparing (and delivering) a remote meeting.
1) Make sure your technology works...for everyone.
2) Have an agenda and stick to it.
3) If you have a presentation or report to deliver, practice so it’s second nature.
Bonus tip: Be sure to leave plenty of time for Q&A
Presentations in the remote workplace
When you can’t be there to present in person, a presentation is a way to keep the audience engaged while you tell your story. “While a presentation can be an invaluable tool in a face-to-face meeting and really bring a pitch home, I find they’re absolutely indispensable when you’re doing business remotely,” says Guin.
In a fast-paced environment, Guin admits that people have higher expectations and less time, so it’s crucial to grab their attention early on. That includes your customers, prospective clients, and employees. “When was the last time you hopped on a Zoom call and there weren’t any shareables? At the very least you’ve got to have an agenda, and to really capture and hold someone’s attention, a presentation has to be authentic and nothing short of brilliant,” Guin adds.
All that to say, it’s imperative that a presentation be easy to create, seamless to share, and have that visual umph. You can imagine Guin’s excitement when she sat down to build a proposal for a prospective customer, and a quick Google search led her to Beautiful.ai.
Beautiful.ai as an asset for virtual meetings & events
Prior to stumbling upon Beautiful.ai, Guin used PowerPoint or Google Slides to build proposals and share ideas. She says, “They are designed for business use, and for me, they lacked that zazz that Beautiful.ai has in spades. Plus they’re just a bit clunky, and not very intuitive.” Coming from a marketing and design background she craves visual impact, and was looking for a simple, collaborative tool. With that in mind, it makes sense that Guin’s go-to presentation tool would become Beautiful.ai. Since making the switch, Beautiful.ai has helped with Guin’s efficiency and productivity. She says, “It’s easy to pull up a template or start a new design project, quickly sketch out an idea or concept, and share it.”
“I can easily see Beautiful.ai being an integral part of my design workflow and testing process with a client,” Guin adds.
Guin’s a believer, but what do her clients think? “They love how…well, beautiful it is. Also it’s so easy to share back and forth, adding comments and ideas, so it works really well as a remote design solution,” she shares, “It really serves to unite collaborators!” And we can all agree to the importance of collaboration, especially in a remote workplace.