As the world opens back up and businesses re-emerge from COVID, keep in mind not everyone will be progressing at equal pace. Yesterday, the Transportation Security Administration released the count of people clearing airport security across the country. It was down over 60% from one year ago. Many government offices are still in a “work from home” or “work remote” battle rhythm.
Many of you have taken one of my workshops where I discuss the Four Legs of the Table. Each leg represents a piece of the puzzle to understanding government acquisitions and the people represented. Never forget these are people, in offices just like any other large company. Local policies and personal situations will affect their work situation and willingness to meet face-to-face.
This is NOT a time to become politic. Rather, may I suggest see this as an opportunity. Many small businesses budget significant dollars each year to travel expenses for business development or sales. Those are dollars many businesses can ill-afford now. My Grandfather taught me many years ago nothing replaces meeting with someone face-to-face. Reading body language, sharing a meal, understanding the subtle nuances of how they carry themselves. These are all valuable insights into how a person thinks and whether or not they are receptive to your discussion.
On the other hand, the expense of hundreds of dollars for an hour long, initial meeting can be a tough pill to swallow. Most government representatives are understanding and receptive to this situation. Especially when working with small businesses.
Suggest a virtual meeting as an option with a face-to-face follow up if local guidelines allow.
Offer multiple platforms. Most government computers will not allow new software to be loaded so be respectful if they use Zoom or GoTo Meeting or Google or some other.
Dress to impress! You are presenting yourself and your company. Wear what you would wear to a normal face-to-face meeting….at least from the waist up.
Limit background distractions and clutter. They too will be gaining insight into you during the meeting. This window into your office my give them a positive impression or show your cluttered desk and dissuade them.
Check your technology. Yes, there is a higher tolerance during these times for technology but understand that leaves an impression as well. Test your systems beforehand and have a backup plan.
Screen share discipline. If possible, have a dual monitor so you can prepare the window you are about to share. Few things worse than an awkward auto-complete search or your kid’s homework email being shared.
Follow up. Your virtual meeting requires the same level of follow up as any in person meeting.
Situational awareness…be aware of the meeting potentially being recorded, screenshot, camera phone recorded, etc. Others may be in the room so stay professional.
Classified. If you are in this segment of industry you understand virtual meetings are not secure. I’ll say it anyway. DO NOT DISCUSS CLASSIFIED MATERIAL on unclassified systems.
Find the silver lining to this pandemic. This is a significant shift in our world and business environment. vSOFIC this year was a prime example of that. No, we were not able to be in person as years past but the event still happened. Flexibility and resiliency!!