Employees are being furloughed or made redundant and are worried about their futures. Customers and clients have either disappeared for the moment and need to be wooed back, or want to know whether you can deliver what they need in the new environment. In the absence of face to face meetings, the way you get your message across on video or via online meetings, when few of the usual non-verbal signals are available, is paramount.
A couple of weeks ago we ran a webinar for clients on getting the best from Zoom meetings, and the range of questions from participants showed how people are struggling to get to grips with the new way of doing things – which looks set to last, by the way.
1. Keep it snappy. Most people’s attention span for online videos tails off after around 90 seconds, unless they are really captivated. Make it clear why they need to listen.
2. Make the message you want to get across as clear and simple as possible. ‘Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’ works better than subsequent more opaque government guidelines. Avoid jargon which may confuse some.
3. Break up larger, more complex issues into smaller chunks, so people don’t lose the plot completely if they suffer a bit of wi-fi lag.
4. Show empathy – think about what your people might be feeling, and demonstrate you understand their concerns. Employees’ mental health is one of the top areas of concern for many firms at the moment.
5. Communicate regularly so people feel they are being kept in the loop. This reduces the chance of ill-informed gossip flooding the company Slack channels to fill the vacuum. Have a unambiguous call to action so people are clear about next steps.