7 Tips: How to Effectively Conduct an Online Financial Planning Meeting

There are many reasons why some people don’t like online conferencing to conduct financial planning sessions. Video makes it harder to read the emotions of the interlocutor (not to mention audio or text), it is more difficult to control the course of the meeting, and managers pay less attention to the purpose of the meeting and its planning. It often happens that the whole conversation is “captured” by two personalities, leaving the other participants to only wince into their microphones.

But this should not be the case. Online meetings, even emergency financial advice sessions — should be effective and convenient. Here are 7 steps you can take to prepare for a financial planning meeting.

Preparing for an online financial advice session

Use video

Gather people for a video conference rather than a group chat or a group phone call to make clients feel like you’re all in the same room. Services such iMind.com will help.

It’s understandable why financial advice firms are using remote calls to lower the cost of providing financial advice, but this is no excuse for downgrading the level of personal attention and professionalism received by the client. Video interaction allows you to behave in the same polite, deferential and professional manner you would use when addressing clients in person. Efficient financial advice doesn’t need to mean ‘cheap’ financial advice.

Allow audio-only

This does not contradict the above: not everyone has a proper internet connection that allows the use of video. You must make it clear that video is an expectation on both parties, but do not exclude clients who are unable to use it due to unfamiliarity with the tech.

Understand the hardware, and software & financial content in advance

Nothing breaks the meeting plan more than the need to be distracted at the beginning by downloading and configuring programs, solving problems, and other technical obstacles.

Before the virtual meeting, all advisors should familiarize themselves with the investment model portfolio and customize the script to tailor the level of detail to the client’s preference. You should also make sure that the program or service package your firm has purchased has everything you need to work effectively.

Make sure that the faces of all participants are visible

When participants can see one other’s facial expressions and body language, video conferencing is more successful. Ask people to sit closer to the webcams — this will help recreate the intimacy of a personal meeting.

Follow the financial plan, step by step

Before the conversation, set clear goals and send the plan to the participants in advance, if appropriate. During the session, use the agenda, set rules for meetings, take breaks, and clearly outline what needs to be done after the meeting (including deadlines and accountability). The best financial planning books suggest that you set yourself ambitious promises that you know you can deliver to build trust with your client base.

Reduce the length of the presentation

If there can be anything worse than a long presentation, it is a long presentation during an online meeting. Meetings are needed for participants to interact with each other, communicate and discuss issues. Please provide background information in advance. If someone still needs to give a presentation, share the screen so that everyone is looking at the same slide.

Use humour to relieve tension

It is important to use every opportunity to strengthen team relationships so that people do not feel isolated. But jokes should be appropriate and not offensive. Humour should not be used if it undermines the brand of the firm, or produces the appearance of a lack of care and diligence on your part.

To illustrate, you could joke about the current roadworks outside your office building, but not the tardiness of your team’s arrival this morning.

Not being able to work together in the same room with colleagues could be a major challenge. You may need to experiment with the team to make online meetings work. But a small investment in standby now can have a huge impact when you have to work remotely.