Video conferencing is a way to allow your team members attend meetings that matter, regardless of their location.

This type of flexible scheduling leads directly to more efficiency, since there is less need to state every point again and again for different audiences. 

Zoom helps meeting leaders accomplish meeting schedule flexibility.  In MLP 109, we meet with company head Derek Pando to discuss how his video conferencing software can change the way you schedule meetings.

Derek Pando

Derek Pando - Meeting Leadership Podcast - Effective Meetings

Derek Pando leads Partner and International Marketing at Zoom Video Communications. He has spent his career at high growth enterprise software companies including Salesforce and LinkedIn. He has held a variety of different marketing roles in his career. His expertise is in product marketing, international marketing, marketing strategy and social selling. He also writes and speaks on collaboration, technology, marketing, and professional relationships. He speaks Spanish fluently and can get by in Portuguese. If you a lot of time to kill, ask him about his vegetable garden. 

You can follow him on hi@djpandos personal blog ( or on Twitter (@djpando).

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00:00 – Show Opening

Gordon Sheppard: Are you a professional who has to lead video conferencing meetings, and you know they could be significantly better? Well then, you’re going to get a lot out of today’s episode, because today we’re bringing on an expert right from Zoom Communications. His name is Derek Pando and he is going to reveal the secrets for how to lead highly productive video conferencing meetings.

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:45 – Podcast content starts here!

Gordon Sheppard: Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard and I just want to say, whether you’re on the treadmill, maybe you’re out in the car, thank you so much for taking the time to join us here on the show. To get another tip, another strategy to build your leadership skills and learn how to run highly effective meetings. It is great to have you here. 

01:06 – How to lead highly productive video conferencing meetings

Today on the show, we’re going to talk about a really important topic, especially when it comes to getting more done these days in meetings. Because today, we’re going to talk about how to lead highly productive video conferencing meetings.

01:24 – MLP 102: How Zoom Video Conferencing Software Makes Meetings Better –

Gordon Sheppard:  Fortunately we’ve got Derek Pando back on the show to help us do just that. Now for many of you, you might have already listened to episode 102 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. It was called How Zoom Video Conferencing Software Makes Meetings Better. Derek there shared his real insights from his position as the lead for partner and international marketing at Zoom Video Communications. If you’d like to listen to that episode, just go to meetingleadershipinc dot com forward slash 102. Because I know that for so many of you, you’re just looking to get an edge when it comes to video conferencing meetings, I’m not going to make you wait any longer. Here’s the insightful interview with Derek Pando.

02:00 – Beginning of interview

Gordon Sheppard: Derek, welcome back to the show. You knocked it out of the park in episode 102 when we found out all the great things that are happening with Zoom video conferencing software. It’s great to have you here.

Derek Pando: Thanks Gordon. It’s great to be back, and excited to keep the discussion going.

02:20 – Derek’s self-introduction

Gordon Sheppard: Good, and for a few people that may not have met you just yet, how do you introduce yourself?

Derek Pando: I usually introduce myself as a guy that leads international partner marketing here at Zoom. Beyond that, also a part-time gardener and father. Are kind of probably the two other things that take up the most time in my life, but Zoom is my primary day job.

Gordon Sheppard: I’m glad you dropped the gardening thing because in your bio … I’m literally going to read this. If you’ve got a lot of time to kill, ask him about his vegetable garden. So what happened this year? I’ve just got to ask.

Derek Pando:  This year I had a bumper crop of Roma tomatoes. I had some problems with some pests eating my green peppers, but yeah, I experimented with some new stuff this year. But the big news on the gardening front is I live in the Bay Area in California, so we can do what’s called a winter garden, which is not possible probably where you are.

Gordon Sheppard: Yeah, no kidding. Yeah. Not up north here for sure.

Derek Pando: For the first time I’ve planted vegetables that will be growing this winter, so very excited about that.

Gordon Sheppard: Holy … It sounds like you could be busy enough with your garden, but by the way, here you are involved in this whole Zoom rocket ship. I was hearing about your increase in employees and all that kind of thing. Luckily today, we’re going to be able to talk to you about some of your experience as a leader in this topic, which is how to lead highly productive video conferencing meetings. You were mentioning to me, I know, in the other episode and even before we got onto this one, that you lead teams around the world. So quite often throughout the day, you’re actually in video conferencing meetings. What are your top suggestions for other leaders when they’re actually leading the meetings themselves?

Derek Pando: Yeah, there’s a few things that come to mind. A few of these are going to sound basic, but as we’ve talked to customers and potential customers across the world, we realize it’s not as common as some of our more advanced users experience. But one of the first things is, is every meeting that you have in your calendar should have a link to an invite for a video meeting. That may sound strange because you’re like, “Hey Derek, like well, my one-on-ones every week are in person.” But what I would say is not always, right? People are running late or people decided they’re going to work from home.

03:44 – Zoom lets you have flexible meeting links

Derek Pando: You’d be surprised how many times people just end up getting left out of stuff because they didn’t have the flexibility of, “Oh, I’m running late, I could just join on my way into the office or something like that.” So one thing that we do here at Zoom and I do with my team is that even if it’s a planned in-person meeting, I always have a meeting link in there. Zoom makes it easy within calendar integration. So it doesn’t take a lot of work to do that. It’s just clicking a button, as well as many of our competitors do the same. So that’d be the first thing I would say.

Gordon Sheppard: I like where you’re going with that. I can tell you, working with boards of directors, when I hear that someone can’t be at a board meeting and suddenly this affects something like getting quorum to have a vote. But in the meantime they could have simply done exactly what you’re just talking about. This could have a really major impact on making sure that people are getting together when they’re supposed to.

Derek Pando: Yes, exactly. It’s also giving people the flexibility to do what they got to do. Especially if you’re in a place where you have a long commute, it’s like, “Well, if I can take a meeting during my commute, that’s better for the company. that’s actually better for me too.” Flexibility is key, I think. Having those links in there ready to go if needed, enable that.

Gordon Sheppard: Make sense. You were going to say … What’s your next point?

Derek Pando: There’s so many cues that you miss if it’s just an audio conversation. Right? So if you can encourage everyone to have their video on. Then also when you are participating in the meeting, you are looking at people and watching for cues. Like has it been a while since Joe said anything? Like does Cindy look bored, does she look stressed? Is there something else going on in her life that’s maybe going to make it so she’s not going to able to give her all in this moment or this meeting? Are important things that if you were doing it in person, you’d probably more naturally pay attention to. But with video, you just need to make a little bit more of a concerted effort, but you could still adapt and adjust the meeting so it’s more effective for everybody, if you’re paying attention.

Gordon Sheppard: This makes sense, there’s those disasters where you hear on an audio call, the toilet flush or the dog bark or this kind of stuff, but at least the video, it makes people a bit honest.

Derek Pando: It does, right? You can see if they’re doing something else or multitasking. Yeah, totally. The other thing I would say, and this is something that I didn’t really experience a ton until I started working at Zoom, was the ability to bring other people into the meeting quickly that you need to be there. So let’s say, Gordon, you and I are having a meeting about something and all of a sudden we’re like, “Oh, really it’s Katrina has all these answers.”

04:39 – Flexibility is key to adaptable scheduling

Derek Pando: Instead of being like, “Oh, let’s schedule a meeting with the three of us …” blah, blah blah. You say, “Well, let’s call her over Zoom right now.” So from the meeting, you ping her and see if she can join. Sometimes she can, sometimes she can’t. But when it comes to the speed of operating, not waiting to schedule a meeting, but seeing if you can address whatever the issue is right now, by pulling in one or many people into this discussion, is much more effective than kicking the can down the road.

Gordon Sheppard: I really appreciate what you’re saying there, because Zoom of course deals with some of the biggest brands with what, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of employees. One of the fatigues that I here, being a meeting expert to help people get better at it, is travel time in between meetings.

Derek Pando: Yes.

Gordon Sheppard: So what you’re saying is you’re giving them instant access and you’re letting them be more efficient.

Derek Pando: Yes, exactly. Right. Then I also think the element of there’s probably a lot of times people don’t need to be in some of these re-occurring meetings, but you want to have the flexibility to call them in if needed. Right? Before it’s like it was too much of a hassle. It’s like, “Oh, I got to send this email,” and like, “Oh, what if they don’t have it …” blah blah blah. We’ve tried to take a lot of that friction out of being able to bring people in, and so they can be more in the right meetings, which means less meetings overall, which we are happy with.

05:29 – Video conferencing equals more team integration

Gordon Sheppard: I’ll tell you, I speak at conferences as well and one of the things I can say honestly is I actually have a little exercise that I do. I say, “Put your hand up in the air if you’re in at least one meeting per week.” Of course, all the hands go up with the professionals that I’m training, whether it’s engineers, doctors, or whatever, people in the medical area. They keep their hand up and I say, “Keep your hand up if you’re in at least two meetings per week, three meetings per week, four.” Usually the higher-level executives, they drop off at about 14. I had a woman in one of these moments, where she had her hand up at 30. The whole room gasped.

Derek Pando: Yeah.

06:10 – Zoom heightens the speed of operation by letting people join meetings on-the-fly

Gordon Sheppard: They were like, “Oh my goodness.” What I can tell you now from firsthand experience is you look at any downtown anywhere, all those office towers, we are burning out our best people by sending them to too many daytime meetings. The reality is then, what’s happening? They do their regular work at night. It’s affecting their families. It’s affecting their relationships, their ability. When they have to do their regular work, they have to do that at night as well. So suddenly you’ve got your best person, you’re paying them the most money, but you’re actually burning them out with these meetings. What you’ve just said to me, which I hear a lot back from executives, is they say, “You know, if I could just be there for the minutes that I’m needed.”

Derek Pando: Yes.

Gordon Sheppard: And you’ve just offered a solution to that. I can tell you that is a massive, massive need.

Derek Pando: Yeah, I totally agree. Nobody wants to be in meetings so much that they have to do all their work outside of business hours. That is not a long-term recipe for success.

07:10 – Cut travel time; increase efficiency with video conferencing

Gordon Sheppard: No, it’s having a massive corporate impact. So again, as I sort of pull things together and people come to me and they’re like, “Well, what can I do?” I’m always practical, and so what you’ve just given me again is sort of another arrow in my kit, is this idea of saying, 

07:50 – Introduce the concept of video conferencing to your team

Gordon Sheppard: “Wait a second, what if you were on a sort of seamless video conferencing software, and if you had your phone or some sort of way to hook up, you’d be able to sort of jump on for what’s needed and be able to do that.” That often is just all they need for permission to introduce the concept.

Derek Pando:        Yeah, totally agree.

09:36 – Get in touch with Derek Pando – @djpando

Gordon Sheppard: Thank you for those great suggestions. I know that people listening to this are always looking for ways to improve their meetings. Talking to someone who’s literally soaked in the software, doing online meetings all day long, those are great suggestions. Derek, if people need to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?

Derek Pando: Probably the easiest way is to hit me up on Twitter. My handle is @djpando, which I’m not a DJ. My middle name is Jay and still regretting the handle 10 years later after creating it. But yeah, always happy to answer questions, and people send me a message on LinkedIn. Is there any way I can help? Please reach out.

Gordon Sheppard: Thank you so much. We’ll make sure that’s in the show notes. It was great to have you again on the show.

Derek Pando:  Thanks Gordon. It was great to be here.

10:15 – Episode recap

Gordon Sheppard:    Now, there were so many great suggestions in that interview, but the one that struck me was if you want to make the most of your senior leaders’ time, those people that really shouldn’t be wasting two and three hours in a meeting, why don’t you just use something like Zoom to bring them in? And get them there when they need to be there, and then allow them to get back to their other work, and help them to be as productive as possible overall.

10:36 – MLP 102: How Zoom Video Conferencing Software Makes Meetings Better –

Gordon Sheppard:    if you’re looking for even more great insights from Derek, check out episode 102 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. It’s called How Zoom Video Conferencing Software Makes Meetings Better. You can get that one by going to meetingleadershipinc dot com forward slash 102. 

10:54 – MLP 116: Inspiring Leadership Stories with Derek Pando –

We are also lucky enough to get some inspiration from Derek on episode 116 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. This is one of those episodes where he shares an inspiring leadership story, in this case about a lot of the bright young people that he is actually getting inspired by, that he works with every day at Zoom. You can listen to that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc dot com forward slash 116.

11:19  – Meeting Leadership Academy –

Gordon Sheppard: I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting leadership Academy. Now, there for you and your team, you’re going to find some terrific options for online training and live training, that will help you not only get inspired but get the practical things that you need to really take your meetings up a notch. To really improve their productivity, make them better overall, and ultimately help to grow your organization, and serve your customers and your end users and clients at the highest possible level.

If you’d like to learn more about those opportunities, then visit meetingleadershipinc dot com forward slash academy. if you haven’t done it yet, please hit the subscribe button on your favorite podcast app and send in a rating and review. It will help us program even better content for you in the future on the podcast. As always, thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

12:14 – Podcast Outro

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. Don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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