As the best way to bring people together (literally).
With the presence and growing frequency of virtual or remote interactions, we’re curious - how are companies preparing to create the best possible in-person meeting experience?
There’s a time and place for the convenience that virtual meetings facilitate - connecting cities, people and time zones. In a world of remote relationships however, hospitality and human connection has become more important than ever.
Establishing meaningful in-person meetings with clients, customers or colleagues is a sure way to advocate for your brand and company, and allows you to show up as an ambassador for your company’s mission.
Before, during, and after an in-person meeting, you have the opportunity to give a face and personality to your work, and that will resonate with the people you meet with. In-person meetings are a great way to establish a positive first impression or solidify a lasting perception.
Witnessing how our clients welcome their visitors everyday around the world, inspired us to create an in-person meeting checklist for creating powerful in-person meetings.
1. First things first—decide who is hosting the meeting
When an in-person meeting is scheduled, confirm who is hosting whom. Will the meeting be at your office or theirs? This will help you know the level of preparation and involvement needed through the whole process.
What is your company's dress code? Photo credit: mike.benedetti
This is also a good stage to set the tone of meeting formality.
In many companies, the dress-code has become in recent years more casual. Many offices and employers carry that into their meetings, setting a comfortable meeting-tone as opposed to the old days of suits and panty hose.
2. Send an invitation with useful information
As soon as you’re able to outline the meeting’s goals and timeline, you can send out an invite to anyone joining. Don’t forget to add useful information such as the address with directions (Google Map!) and your contact details, so your visitor knows how to reach you in case her or she runs late.
An example of an invite to your client: customizable with host picture, contact details, custom text and an attachment
3. Create a physical meeting space, even if your office doesn’t ‘have one’
Many offices have designated conference or meeting rooms for hosting in-person meetings, and if that’s the case, make sure you block out space for yours. Occasionally, you’ll need to get creative making space for your meeting.
Your client loves Italian food? Why not meeting in a cozy restaurant?
Scheduling a meeting at a restaurant, the courtyard of your office building or a co-working space is totally acceptable if you’re lacking conference rooms - just make sure people know where to go!
4. Test everything prior to starting
At least a day before the meeting, test the Wi-Fi connectivity, speakers, projector, sound, lighting and platforms to be used to make sure all tools you plan to use function properly. We suggest even doing a full practice round testing equipment and platforms in the meeting space to make sure things are working smoothly.
When you’re hosting a meeting, know that the person or people you’re hosting will get an impression of you and your brand the minute they walk into the office door - which means you have a great opportunity to prime them for a meaningful and personal interaction.
5. Keep in mind that the meeting begins when visitors walk in the door
We designed our iPad check-in app to allow a complete customization of the welcome screen and entry questions for a secure and welcoming check-in experience.
Check-in at Dimension Data
It also gives the front office team time to give your visitors a warm, personal welcome.
6. Prepare, know your value, and go with the flow
For any kind of meeting - give yourself some wiggle-room! Even after you’ve done all the preparation possible, people will run late, Wi-Fi will go out, and you might trip up a few words, but you can still host an effective and meaningful in-person meeting.
If/when things don’t go perfectly as planned, be honest and open with your visitors, then continue to do your best.
Creating the most meaningful in-person experience possible
We hope these tips are helpful for you the next time you’re hosting an in-person meeting.
Even if you work with clients all over the world and mostly organize online meetings via Skype, Zoom or another app of choice, this doesn't mean the first impressions don't count. We do our best by replicating the feeling of a face-to-face-meeting using always the camera for our demos and webinar.
However, nothing beats face-to-face interactions. I have to admit it, I do miss it sometimes!
Face-to-face meeting in the office: discussing our new website design
In the digital age of connectivity and virtual interaction, hospitality and human connection is more than ever valuable when making an impact.
The goal is simple - giving customers, clients and colleagues the most meaningful in-person experience as possible, and with that in mind, in-person team interactions are surely here to stay.