Zooming First Time Are You In Phone Mode Or On Stage?

Here’s a guy that gets video calls for those meeting people one-to-one – at least for the first time – to ‘sell’.

He’s an American living in Australia specialising in ‘trust-based’ sales training.

His initial treatise over a decade ago was groundbreaking.

I get his analogy;

When meeting someone on zoom, probably for the first time in a sales situation, are you in a phone booth or are you on stage?

It doesn’t quite translate neatly.

Not for a non-American, at least.

My Englishness means I swap out booth for mode.

The point he makes is one to which I have also borne witness.

The immediate apology to which he refers often forthcoming.

I recall at the height of dotcom mania how rebellious and liberating it felt visiting prospect premises without a tie. Only rarely did the odd buyer disapprove. Yet I remained smarter than them. Their dog-eared cloth dangling down their fronts often a sorry excuse for neckwear. Which the rest of their outfit did little to improve upon. No match for my elegant single-breasted dark suit, cutaway collared crisp cotton shirt (white for first meetings), and polished black Oxford or Brogue shoes. Realise that zoom casuality is not this decade’s equivalent of the tie demise.

It’s easy to berate any dishevelled appearance. Whether too loafing a clothing choice, scruffiness or generally unkempt surrounds.

Yet those vital first impressions really do count.

Are you there with purpose, or merely passing time?

Even when I am not in my normal zoomscape (which now is becoming more commonplace) I try to ensure I have something acting as a laptop stand or mobile phone easel to hand. Curating as much as possible what’s behind me too. No matter how fleeting I may be in said situ.

As early as our second call, I have gauged prospect clothing norms and been known to dress more informally.

Why not show up as a cultural fit?

But the point extends beyond mere appearance.

It is attitude too.

Zooming is not a phone call.

Perhaps the entry words I have shared most often during these past eighteen months is that a video call is not to be seen as a phone conversation with pictures.

If you approach your zoom call in phone mode, you will likely fail to get what you want.

As I write about extensively in my book, there are 52 ways to get what you want out of a video call. And being in phone mode on that first meet is definitely not one of them.

It is a stage. Your stage. Your place to shine.

As the chap above says elsewhere, don’t go sleepwalking with old habits that are killing your ambitions.

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