We all have had that mishap during, or just before a big client presentation...

Have you ever referred to a client by the wrong name?

Have you ever shown a presentation and dang there it is - you forgot to change the client name on a slide?

Have you ever suddenly realized the presentation you are referencing is above the baseline knowledge of your audience? (because they are all glassy-eyed and asking very basic questions or worse not asking any questions at all!)

Have you ever gone to the restroom after a presentation and there it is staring you back in the mirror - food between your teeth!

Have you ever gotten to a meeting and are unable to find the version of the presentation you fine-tuned in the wee hours of the morning isn't at your fingertips when you charge up your laptop?


Worse, maybe just prior to the meeting, coffee spilled, or food stained your shirt...

Mishaps & Mistakes will happen!

Some mishaps & mistakes can be avoided with planning (and common sense):

Choice of language - what does that acronym stand for?
What does "DOA" mean to you?
In a move that must have been unsettling for thousands of Iowa's seniors, the state changed the name of its Department of Elder Affairs to the Department on Aging, or DOA, in 2009. Something is telling us that the change has not helped Iowa's elderly sleep any easier. The organization now goes by IDA, for Iowa Department on Aging.

For instance what do these acronyms mean to you when read or heard?
  • IM = instant messaging, Internet marketing, input method
  • IP = intellectual property, Internet Protocol
  • MS = Master of Science, multiple sclerosis, Microsoft
  • SME = subject matter expert, small and medium enterprise
I suggest in visual presentations (using parentheses), write out what each letter in the acronym stands for, do not assume everyone knows the nomenclature.

When reaching for your beverage does your arm cross the view of your camera?
If your mug is to the right of your computer (if you are right-handed) then there will be no visual interruption of the meeting in progress.

What does your mug or shirt advertise?
I was on a virtual meeting with a client late last year and his mug advertised the former company he worked for. On another call the mug held by the vendor advertised a political figure running for office.

Do you have the correct picture angle?
Most providers have a “preview” mode for your visual check and a sound quality check prior to entering the meeting. Take that moment to confirm the angle is accurate. This is a check to confirm the camera is not aimed looking up your nose or focused on your forehead.

Are your cords tangled?
I had small desk and a long headset cord, and it often dangled... The cord would be partially on the floor and the dog, she would sit on it. I would go to move her, and then her paw would get tangled... and of course always happen when I was running late, yes running late to a virtual call! (now I have a hook on the wall and hang it up when not in use.)

What is your light source?
We all look better in good light. With the camera facing you – if you can sit facing a window or with a lamp in front of you will look your best. If the light shines from behind, you will be in a shadow and your face will be difficult for others in your conversation to see you.

Where are the kids? dog? or cat?
We accept (and expect) the interruption during a meeting. I suggest at the beginning of the call just let the other parties know - my child, the dog, the cat may interrupt.

For me it is a 17-pound Shih Tzu ... if the doorbell rings or the community maintenance people are mowing the backyard - she goes NUTS... barking, running, barking louder... I must take my headset off and put her on my lap, and she calms down (she is never in view for those on the call with me).

 Ceiling Fans - Do you use one? Do the spinning blades appear in your screen shot? So, you are thinking, the room is warm, put on the fan, you are wearing a headset - so no noise problem... perhaps this is not true. You may be creating a visual distraction.

I have a client who puts his fan on high (it spins very fast) and even though there is no noise with the angle of screen it is a mesmerizing distraction!

It could only happen in Florida:
Without realizing before the call there was a gecko (tiny lizard) on my skirt. With a glance down, there it was walking on my lap and of course my first reaction was not calm - out of my mouth mid-sentence was a yelp...this was followed by me jumping out of my chair to fling it off my skirt... which of course set the dog in motion to chase, bark and stomp it to death!

A true story - 25 years ago:
I was in my third trimester, going to a client location.  During these last few months I couldn't see, forget about reach, my feet.  All my shoes were flats and I rotated three pair - white, beige and black.  I had no clue until I walked past a mirrored wall at the client location that I had been wearing one white and one beige shoe for the past 4 hours!  I decided at the end of the long day right before our goodbyes to thank them not just for their time but for not making me feel uncomfortable with my accidental choice of footwear.  I explained I didn't own a full length mirror but would be stopping on my way home to purchase one.  The women who were with me all day each acknowledge they had done the same thing at least once during their pregnancy and a laugh was shared. 

Mishaps and mistakes will always happen how we prevent them or handle them in the moment is the key to great customer relationships..

The “Corcentric Virtual Lunch Bunch” meets the last Friday of each month at noon …virtually of course. Would you like to join us? Our next meeting is March 26th at noon.

If you would like to join or wish additional information, please contact me (twankoff@corcentric.com) – all are welcome to attend and/or be a guest speaker on a topic related to working remotely.

The group does not promote or sell business services. The focus revolves around work at home topics/challenges and how to overcome them.

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Tami Wankoff - Procurement Consultant

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