When a ‘meeting about meetings’ doesn’t go entirely to plan!

May 07, 2021

A lot can change in just 12 months. Remote working is now a norm for most Australian workplaces, as are video calls. During the pandemic, Microsoft Teams grew by 894% and it now has over 115 million users.

Here at Splendid, we’ve always operated virtually. Online meetings have been a core part of our business from the outset. While we’re always happy to meet our clients face-to-face, we do the vast majority of our communication and collaboration remotely. As such, over the years, we’ve learnt a lot about how to get the most from virtual sessions.  

Recently, Tim decided to share his top tips and insights with the rest of us in a virtual session with the oh-so-enticing title: ‘The great big meeting about meetings’. Ironically, not every aspect of the meeting went to plan! Here’s a quick re-cap of some of Tim’s key points (and some unanticipated hilarity):

Master your set-up 

Tim kicks off our meeting with a quick overview of how to master our call set-up. Even though it seems fairly obvious thing to do, chances are we’ve all been on calls where we’ve been forced to look up someone’s nostrils, or only seen the top half of a college’s head. Hugh definitely has.

To avoid this all-too-easy faux pas, simply set up your camera so your face is framed like a passport photo. David Attenborough, at the ripe old age of 94, shows us how it’s done.  

The background blur feature adds a sense of professionalism, as does dressing as if you are meeting in person (even if it’s just from the waist up!). While active wear (and even a post-workout glow) is fine for an internal meeting (at least, here at Splendid!), it’s doesn’t convey the professionalism and attention-to-detail that’s needed in external meetings. 

A background also doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it’s a chance to show a little of you/your business’ personality.    

Have an agenda 

Just as with a face-to-face meeting, it’s important to have an agenda in order to keep meetings on track. No doubt we’ve all been in Teams meetings that have veered dangerously off course. While it’s fine for a conversation about network infrastructure to detour into one about baking or rock-climbing, an agenda can help bring everyone back and create a sense of focus.  

As Tim says – it’s important to be on time, and have all documents that you need to discuss or share, already open. If there’s reference material to discuss, send it to the other meeting participants beforehand so everyone can get the most from the allocated time. Also, discuss who will be leading the meeting from within your team – and don’t forget to start with introductions. A good rule of thumb: if you aren’t going to contribute to a meeting and are nothing more than a profile picture at the bottom of the screen, you shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Be present 

Unlike face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings make it relatively easy to disengage and to quietly get on with other work. Tim emphasised Splendid’s policy of always keeping our cameras on during client meetings, but keeping our microphone on ‘mute’ when not speaking to avoid background noise.  

That said, if your internet connection is poor, it can sometimes be necessary to turn your camera off. Tim, who lives in remote Tasmania right now – but (pre-Covid) would flit between Australia and New Zealand on a regular basis, is no stranger to poor internet. The great irony is that his internet actually cut out a few times while making this essential point.   

So, always have a back-up. If your internet isn’t working, try tethering your laptop or other device to your phone, or dial in directly from your phone. At Splendid we also like to record the vast majority of our client calls so that we have a useful reference point afterwards – especially when it’s a creative or strategic briefing session.  

(Try to) eliminate distractions 

We’ve all seen the footage of the poor BBC presenter whose kids appeared in the background of his live broadcast. No doubt many of us can relate. Working from home certainly has its challenges in this regard.  

Here at Splendid, our internal meetings are frequented by visitors of all kinds –  dogs, cats, babies, birds (sometimes on shoulders!), small childrenspouses, or flat-mates. One time, a pet snake even popped in to say hello

While anything goes (to an extent) for internal meetings, it’s obviously better if pets and small children (or fully grown adults) don’t hover in the background of your client calls. Though, somewhat ironically, just as Tim was making this point, his young daughter appeared on-screen, wanting to chat with ‘Daddy’s friends’. 

Follow up 

We also like to follow up all our client sessions with either an email summarising the outcomes or a contact report.  

Summary of our top tips

  1. Have a professional set-up 
  2. Get some personality /branding into your background 
  3. Have a clear agenda 
  4. Know who is leading the meeting and sharing the screen 
  5. Have video on, but stay on mute 
  6. Tether to your phone or dial in if you’re having connection issues 
  7. Try to de-accessorise for external meetings 
  8. Send a follow-up note or contact report 

Want to know more about virtual meetings? 

To learn more about how you can run successful virtual meetings, get in touch. 

Teams, Tokyo and Tayla: How we hired and trained our new Operations Manager 100% remotely

May 05, 2021

Around a month ago, Tayla Agostinis started at Splendid in a project operations role. Everything about Tayla’s joining and ‘on-boarding’ process was fairly standard, with one exception her direct boss lives in Tokyo, and they’ve never actually met face-to-face! Here, Tayla shares her thoughts about this process, what it’s been like, and why she’s so excited to be part of the Splendid team.  

How did you come to be part of the Splendid team? 

Before working at Splendid I was working at Qantas, in an operations role. Covid-19 obviously hit the airline industry very hard, and unfortunately meant I was out of a job. Initially, I spent some time focusing on my studies hoping that international travel would resume and I would have a job again. However, earlier this year, and with no real clear indication of the Covid-19 situation, I began thinking about my next career move. As much as I loved working in operations for the airline sector, I realised that I now wanted a more secure and future-proof industry – and this brought me to Splendid. 

What was it like to be ‘onboarded’ remotely? 

Julia Rush, my incredible manager has made the transition extremely smooth – despite the fact that the lives in an entirely different country! I have to say that having a manager based in Tokyo is something I never expected, but Splendid has really proven that in this day and age, it is 100% possible. It actually feels like she is in the next suburb. 

And you’re still studying? 

Yes, I currently have a full-time study load as well as work full-time with Splendid, so it’s safe to say my plate is quite full right now! I am completing my last few subjects in my final year of a Bachelor of Business with majors in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at RMITI can see the finish line now and cannot wait to throw my grad cap in the air and finally complete my degree!  

Where did your interest in operations start? 

Operations is an intriguing and dynamic part of business that has always interested me. This started while working in the airline industry. I began working for Tiger Air in a customer service role and was thrown in the deep end with all things ‘operations’ as well as with managing passenger and aircraft movement. After about 18 months with Tiger, I moved across to Qantas Airways and had a massive amount of operational responsibility - I went from turning around 737s with 180 passengers, to A380s with close to 480 passengers – this was a big step up.  

How are you finding Splendid so far? 

All in all, my first few weeks have been really enjoyable. There’s lots of work to be done and I am looking forward to working through it! I was so warmly welcomed into the team and am beyond grateful to have such a fantastic opportunity at Splendid. Last week we all met for lunch and drinks in our city office and it was great to finally meet people face-to-face. Even though we’ve all met on Teams calls, it’s nice to be able to connect in person.  

I feel supported and valued every day, and am so grateful that Splendid has enabled me to start my career off in such a positive and dynamic roleI can’t wait to see where Splendid can take me in the future! 

‘Sense Making’ - what is it… and why should you be thinking about it?

April 27, 2021

We live in a fast-paced and information-rich world. To find the answer to a question or learn more about a particular topic, we simply need to pick up a device and enter a few basic questions.

However, an abundance of information isn’t always a good thing. Firstly, there’s the task of sorting the wheat from the chaff – of determining which information is actually factual and can be relied upon. And secondly, there’s the ever-increasing issue of information overload – of not being able to make decisions, or being slow to do so, because of the sheer volume of information we have at hand.

Why B2B tech marketers need to think beyond campaigns.

March 10, 2021

With a business back drop of so much change in such a short time, it’s critical that B2B tech vendors and marketers consider how to keep pace and even better, keep ahead of customer’s changing needs. 

What’s included in Splendid’s Partner Program service?

March 03, 2021

As a technology firm, your partner program plays a crucial role in helping you market and sell your products and services. In fact, up to 90% of tech sales are now made through partner networks.

Unsure what your partners actually want? Why not ask them?

February 17, 2021

As a technology business, you rely heavily on your partner network to sell your products and services to end customers. In reality, however, there are only a limited number of potential partners in Australia, and competition for their loyalty is fierce.  

What are ‘hybrid’ events, and should they be part of your B2B marketing strategy in 2021?

February 03, 2021

At the end of last yearGartner published its top marketing predictions for the year ahead – and beyond. One of these predictions is that B2B marketing will become more hybrid in nature, with more diversity of channels, and greater mix of face-to-face and virtual elements.   

A not-so-Splendid Christmas

January 15, 2021

As a virtual agency, face-to-face get togethers don’t happen all that often. So they’re something we all look forward to, and are always lots of fun.  

3 ways to create more profitable leads in B2B tech marketing

November 17, 2020

Technology changes at a rapid pace – as does the volume of data, and the tools, available to us as marketers. Yet while techniques may evolvethe goal of any activity is typically the same: generate and convert more profitable leads 

Everybody, breathe. How yoga can unify and calm a virtual workplace.

November 05, 2020

2020 has been a pretty stressful and tumultuous year. For many, the pressure of the pandemic, home schooling and maintaining employment has taken its toll. It’s why, a few months ago, Splendid introduced a regular and free virtual yoga session – hosted by our wonderful, in-house Anasura yoga teacher, Kylie Anderson. As well as a great way to get together as a team outside of ‘work’, the session has been incredible in instilling a sense of calm and a more mindful approach to day-to-day life.

Here, Kylie shares her thoughts on yoga and her side-hustle as a yoga teacher.