The Secret of Making Virtual Sales Meetings As Good As Face-To-Face

Can a virtual meeting ever be the same?


The ongoing pandemic is unravelling to look like an endemic, with most of Europe opening up to business and leisure travel and entertainment. Asia Pacific is following cautiously, and so invariably the notion of "work from home (WFH)" continues to be how businesses in this region operate.

With the lack of business travel due to flight scarcity, high costs, and the complex COVID-19 containment procedures of bilateral quarantines, PCR tests, vaccinations, etc, it is just simpler, more productive and cost-effective to run virtual meetings from the comfort of a corporate meeting room. Already, just one of the contenders of virtual conferencing, Zoom, has revenue shooting past US$1 billion for the first time ending July 31, 2021, showing just how pervasive virtual meetings have become in the thick of the pandemic.

Challenges in virtual meetings

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Yet, the idea of making a sales call to international prospects or pitch presentations to investors can be daunting without seeing each other face to face at close quarters. After all, reading subtext and subtleties can already be difficult in person, and exponentially more so on small screens.

While regular virtual meetings are carried out to conform to regulations, sales calls to prospects and pitch presentations to investors are much more demanding and less forgiving, there are ample reasons for prospects and investors to simply "drop out" from such virtual meetings, without close-quarter human interaction or touch (a handshake at the very least). Why is the human touch important for such meetings?

In a study by researchers Coan, Kasle, Jackson, Schaefer, and Davidson in 2014, they demonstrated that the idea of human touch can "switch off" the threat response in people. This means that the lack of human touch can heighten or exacerbate the threat response, which may mean having prospective customers, investors, or stakeholders becoming more apprehensive because of the lack of the human touch.

Can we persuade tough audiences remotely?

In this quagmire, the best thing we can do in such virtual meetings to reduce the threat response and actively engage our remote audiences, whether they be prospective customers, investors, stakeholders, or even a conference audience, is to increase their attentiveness. 

As we live in a highly visual world, we may imagine video quality to be more important than audio quality when presenting to our remote audiences on virtual meetings such as Zoom. On the contrary, as audio conferencing is often used without any visuals, the baseline denominator to a successful virtual meeting is good audio quality. A study by researchers Norbert Schwarz and Eryn Newman in 2018 showed that good quality audio can persuade us to believe the speaker is smarter, more trustworthy, and more personable. 

So, we have found the panacea to this quagmire of persuasion across oceans even without the human touch - good audio quality. In the modern era where audio and conferencing technologies have evolved to an art above the science, there are now simple to implement solutions any manager can set up with a single Ethernet cable in conjunction with a large screen and laptop for a meeting room setup, within a short time, without professional training. 

The Stem Solution

Arriving on our shores recently, the Shure Stem Ecosystem is the latest and one of the most cost-effective audio conferencing solutions that addresses major pain points of virtual meetings. The system looks good and discreet in the conference room with its sleek clean lines, can be installed easily and does sound tests and configurations at the touch of a button. It is a solution that truly picks up voices clearly from anywhere in the room. Colleagues can chime in from any corner of the room, during a challenging remote sales pitch, or to persuade financiers and investors thousands of miles away, all without the remote caller straining to hear what has been said,  Anyone can speak freely and be heard, and all these without even breaking the bank. 

The future of work is here, and it starts with good audio quality.