In the last blog post we showed you the secret to getting the most out of virtual meetings. If you missed our surprising metaphor about two guys in a horse costume, you should go check it out. I am actually embarrassed by how proud of it I am.

But maybe you like your secrets a little less beholden to abstract metaphors. Maybe you need a secret that’s more tactical in nature, something tangible that you can take to your boss right now and have some impact.

We can help.

virtual meeting

When its the technology purveyors who are driving the virtual meeting conversation, the conversation will always be about the technology and not about the meeting. That’s the nature of the beast and that’s fine. Just remember that as tech people, they are not really meetings people. They might not understand all the components of what makes a successful meeting. They haven’t sweated the choice of seating arrangements and backdrops. They haven’t worried about the weather and the traffic for a thousand people six weeks in the future. They haven’t stayed up all night running through the show script one more time just to be sure everything was considered, looking for conflicts and issues.

And that’s the second secret: don’t treat a virtual meeting like a VIRTUAL meeting, but more like a virtual MEETING.

Do everything you would do to prepare for a non-virtual meeting, just involve the tech into the process.

No matter what technology you use, treat it like a real meeting. Write the script and a minute-by-minute rundown. Think about the order of presenters. Have a process for sharing and transferring ownership of the screen. Do a complete walk through with the tech and make sure everyone knows how to set up their mics and cameras.

You wouldn’t have a non-virtual meeting where the CEO spoke but didn’t know how to turn on the mic, would you? So why assume that the CEO (or their assistant) didn’t know how to work the local computer and have it calibrated and tested beforehand?

Here’s a question: that speech the keynote speaker (the CEO, the hired gun, whomever), do you think it was just written and given? Of course not. It was practiced. And practiced. And practiced. Even people like Seth Godin and Tom Peters, who present in front of audiences hundreds of times a year for years, they practice.

If this wasn’t a virtual event, would you practice the process and do a walk through the day before? Of course. Even if you are an expert and everyone speaking is an expert, you still do a walk through.

Don’t pretend that the virtual-ness of a virtual meeting changes any of the pressures on the speaker or the organizer. It’s all the same.

That’s the secret: treat it like a real meeting. Do that part right and everything will fall into place.