Don’t Fear a Virtual Meeting with Your Financial Advisor

Nov 3, 2020 | Financial Planning

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have forced many of our daily tasks into the home. Activities that once took place at schools and in offices are now being handled remotely, and most business meetings are also taking place via the web.

These pandemic related shutdowns have also forced us to neglect certain aspects of our daily lives, especially those things that require in-person meetings. However, it would be a mistake to forget about your financial plan. No matter the circumstances, keeping in contact with your financial advisor is still a vitally important task, especially with the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

Don’t be afraid to schedule a virtual meeting with your financial advisor.

It may seem daunting to approach your financial advisor during these circumstances, but this is not something you should fear. Since most in-person meetings have been limited by pandemic restrictions, many advisors have already adapted to this new environment and know how to get the most out of their virtual meetings.

In fact, with the proper preparation, a video meeting can be just as informative and effective as an in-person meeting. If you’re not already familiar with meeting via the web, we’ve compiled a few important tips to help make a virtual meeting with your advisor as successful as possible.

1. Prepare for the meeting as you normally would – with a few exceptions.

Your advisor is human too, and they are likely dealing with similar anxieties in transitioning their business to the virtual realm. But there is no need to fear a virtual meeting any more than any other type of meeting. The best way to alleviate anxiety is to prepare yourself just as you would for an in-person meeting.

First, if your advisor has not already done so, prepare an outline or an agenda for the meeting, with key topics that you would like to cover. Clear objectives will help you stay focused on your advisor and not on the other distractions that may be taking place around your meeting space.

Also, make sure that you are presentable for your meeting. Remember, treat this meeting as much like a normal meeting as possible, because familiarity can help to ease your anxiety in a new situation. Dressing the part will also elevate your mindset and have you feeling more prepared for your advisor.

2. Select a meeting space that is clean and free of clutter.

In addition to preparing yourself, you should clean up and prepare your meeting space, so your side of the meeting is as appealing as possible. Nothing is more distracting than clutter in your background. After all, if you are expecting a professional outcome, it makes sense to be working in a professional setting.

If you don’t already have a designated meeting space, try to meet in a room with a neutral wall as a background, and if possible, carpeted floors to dampen any echoes. If you are fortunate enough to have a home office, don’t be afraid to set up at your desk or in front of your favorite bookshelf. Intriguing background décor, complete with interesting conversation starters, can help break the ice if this is your first virtual meeting.

3. Take Steps to Minimize Distractions During Your Virtual Meeting

Avoiding distractions is probably the most difficult challenge of a virtual meeting. Kids, pets and neighborhood activities, like lawn care, construction or trash service, can create unexpected distractions. Although it is impossible to keep all distractions at bay, try to warn others in your home that you will be in a meeting. And when possible, have a plan to keep your kids and pets occupied or separated from your meeting space.

Those with more experience in virtual meetings already know that unexpected distractions will happen. In fact, we all heard the “toilet flush” during Supreme Court Arguments earlier this year. These things happen, but proper planning can reduce the likelihood of an unexpected or embarrassing distraction.

4. Test Your Technology Before Meeting Time

Having good or bad technology can make or break a virtual meeting. Some issues are unavoidable, but thorough preparation will give you the best chance for a productive session with your advisor. Work with family or friends who have web meeting experience to test your setup. Your advisor will generally send you a meeting invite that contains a link to the future meeting.

The most common platforms for web meetings are Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, but there are many more. So, to mitigate as many technological distractions as possible, be sure to test your system prior to meeting time. Generally, you can click the link to the video conference to test your setup in advance of the meeting.

If you have access, use a computer with a webcam, and set it to eye level at an appropriate distance from you. During testing, you can determine the distance that looks the best with your environment.

Phones and tablets work when you don’t have access to a computer, but if you are using a mobile device, be sure to set it to “do not disturb” mode before you join the meeting. This setting will help to ensure that incoming calls, texts or alerts won’t be a distraction or even disconnect you during your meeting. When possible, try to use a headset with a microphone to improve audio quality and cut out background noise.

Finally, if you are having technology problems, or if you just don’t have a camera, voice calls work. However, having video during your meeting makes the interaction more personal.

Virtual meetings may be a normal part of business for a while.

Projected timelines for the end of this pandemic are all over the place, so it is safe to assume that virtual meetings will be a part of financial planning for quite some time. Delaying a meeting with your advisor until it can be made in-person may be a dangerous waiting game, so make sure you aren’t harming your financial future by postponing an appointment.

Prior to the pandemic, the finance industry had already begun shifting toward more virtual meetings, especially for meetings requiring multiple attendees. By getting comfortable with this technology, you can get ahead of the curve and be ready for the future. But, if your meeting isn’t perfect, that’s ok. Glitches happen and things will go wrong during a web meeting, but do not let these challenges stop you from spending this valuable time with your advisor.

Contact Brookstone Wealth Management to schedule a meeting.

If you are looking for an advisor, or if you aren’t happy with your current situation,  give Brookstone Wealth Management a call. We have a process to develop your Financial Fingerprint™ – a financial plan that is quick to assembleeasy to understand, and simple to modify as circumstances change. After all, we believe it takes more than a return on investment to achieve financial success.

At Brookstone Wealth Management, we offer a complete suite of Wealth Management services, supported by an experienced team of financial and legal professionals. We are happy to meet with you virtually or in person, depending on your situation and preferences, so contact Tami McDonald at Brookstone Wealth Management today.