Insights for Working Virtually

This blog is for anyone who communicates in-person or virtually in the business world.
Featured

Working Remotely is NOT the Issue. Teaching Leaders to Manage It Is - 3 Fixes

Working Remotely is NOT the Issue. Teaching Leaders to Manage It Is - 3 Fixes

The Virtual Path Is More Difficult
Anyone knows that walking a greenway is very different than hiking a mountain trail. It takes a more intentional focus to walk the trail because the footing is not as sure and the walk is more strenuous. I look at leading virtual teams in the same way. With remote jobs increasing 52% over the past year (as noted by Flexjobs 2017), leaders continue to manage these remote workers as if they were managing a co-located team. This is where the problem lies because managing virtual teams is a more strenuous activity and the global footing is definitely not as sure.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
621 Hits
0 Comments
Featured

3 Fatal Virtual Presenter Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

3 Fatal Virtual Presenter Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Okay, not life threatening ... but fatal to any chance you have of influencing your listeners. You know that person that's dreadful to listen to on a virtual call? The person that makes you want to mentally check out when they speak? You don't want people thinking of you or your teammates that way. I've personally coached more than 5,000 presenters globally. During that time, I've seen many unintentional, but common mistakes most presenters make. Some mistakes are certainly expected and won't do much damage. What I term as "fatal" mistakes endanger your message, hinder the audience's ability to engage with you and could damage your reputation. Yes, your reputation as a speaker, collaborator or leader is at stake.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
905 Hits
0 Comments

Demographics Can Devastate Your Virtual Meetings

Demographics Can Devastate Your Virtual Meetings

Now that I’ve got your attention, I want to clarify. We need to be crystal clear about the impact words have on a listener’s ability to understand what we are saying. When I say “devastate”, I can’t assume that everyone reading this is going to respond in the same way. Label this what you will, but word choice and how you say something will impact your ability to influence someone to take action - the action you want them to take.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1017 Hits
0 Comments

1 + 1 Doesn’t Equal Two When Presenting Virtually

1 + 1 Doesn’t Equal Two When Presenting Virtually

The Same But Different
This simple equation, 1+1=2, does not always prove to be true when placed in a virtual environment. Presenters who are good in the face-to-face environment may or may not have the same level of expertise in the virtual environment. One great face-to-face presenter plus one virtual environment does not always equal one great virtual presenter. The same holds true for experienced instructors.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1033 Hits
0 Comments

Why Virtual Meetings SUCK! Three More Things To Do Now (Part 2)

Why Virtual Meetings SUCK! Three More Things To Do Now (Part 2)

Let’s revisit meetings that suck. In Part One, it was observed that the “laptop up and mobile device on” syndrome would not happen during an in person meeting. (If you missed Part One, go here.) The contention was that “...there is a basic level of human respect that we afford each other when we are in another human’s presence.”

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1013 Hits
0 Comments

Why Virtual Meetings SUCK! Three Cures (Part 1)

Why Virtual Meetings SUCK! Three Cures (Part 1)

Imagine closing the clear glass door to your conference room and walking to your seat at the table to begin your meeting. While your eyes look to the fourteen people in the room, their eyes don't return your gaze. More than half of them have their eyes on their computer screens typing away. Several others have their eyes transfixed on their phone screens and, amazingly, some individuals are talking audibly on their phones. As you begin to speak, not one person seems to acknowledge that you are doing so. Mike and Sarah are actually leaning back in their chairs looking right through you as they talk on their phones! I'll grant you that this crazy scene would NEVER happen in your face-to-face conference room meeting. Never. Why? Because there is a basic level of human respect that we afford each other when we are in another human’s presence. If that is true, then why do we let this happen every day in our virtual meetings across the globe?

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1786 Hits
0 Comments

Three Things Every SME Must Do Before Conducting A Virtual Training

Three Things Every SME Must Do Before Conducting A Virtual Training

I was at the gym one evening when a friend mentioned that she was conducting a customer training program in the morning. She confessed that she was a little stressed because she had never conducted a training program solo. Adding to her stress of flying solo was the fact that the training was a mixed-location training, where half of the group was local and the other half was in the Netherlands joining via video conference. She told me that she planned to just focus on the slides and information and not worry about where people were located. Not a good strategy for success in the virtual classroom.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1097 Hits
0 Comments

Three Tips to Help Content Experts Deliver Better Webinars

Three Tips to Help Content Experts Deliver Better Webinars

We call on our organization’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) everyday to support our sales meetings, customer briefings, and organizational “lunch and learns.” It just makes sense. They can introduce the finer points of a new product, help a customer more effectively adopt a solution or inform the organization about new processes.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1021 Hits
0 Comments

Are You Two-Dimensional to Your Virtual Team? Tips to Become Three-Dimensional

Are You Two-Dimensional to Your Virtual Team? Tips to Become Three-Dimensional

Are you or your team two-dimensional to each other? Do you know anything about each other? Are you familiar with who they really are or what they care about? Would you be surprised to know what their passion is or the challenges that they face personally and professionally? The challenge for many of us, whether we lead or work on a virtual team, is that we are faceless paper cutouts to each other. We are two-dimensional people in a three-dimensional world.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2856 Hits
0 Comments

Think Before You MUTE

Think Before You MUTE

Liam was getting ready to start an important meeting. He looked around the room and everybody seemed to be doing their own thing. The room held fourteen around an oval table. All seats were full. As he scanned the room, many were typing, some were reading email and others were having conversations on their phones. As he begin to speak, not one person looked up at him.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2757 Hits
0 Comments

Leading in Your Pajamas ... 3 Tips to Improve Your Virtual Communications

Leading in Your Pajamas ... 3 Tips to Improve Your Virtual Communications

OK, that's not exactly accurate. I have never led meetings in my pajamas, just running shorts. Sometimes I top the shorts and running shoes off with a collared shirt and a blazer if the occasion calls for it. Not cute, right? Would I walk outside of my home like this? Never. But because I do know the importance of using a web-cam and streaming video during a virtual meeting, I create the business image for those viewing my video feed. What I've realized over the years is that any distraction can take away the focus of those communicating with you, especially if it's a more formal communication.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2575 Hits
0 Comments

9 Tips for Working Virtually from Home

9 Tips for Working Virtually from Home

Working virtually from a home office can provide benefits as well as challenges. Here are nine tips I'll share to reap the benefits. Please add any other tips that you found helpful to the comments section of the blog!

...
Rate this blog entry:
Recent comment in this post
Guest — Cassandra Carrion
Vernon, all of these resonate with me! I think my #10 would be for parents only. If you have a child that is unable to feed or e... Read More
Monday, 10 August 2015 13:24
Continue reading
5831 Hits
1 Comment

Engagement Is As Important As Content in Virtual

Engagement Is As Important As Content in Virtual

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a make a sound? We can debate this philosophical or scientific question forever. However the more important question (to me) is: If a virtual instructor is teaching, but there is little engagement, does learning occur? Just as scientists might argue that sound is a vibration interpreted only by the ear, learning experts will tell you that learning only happens when people care.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3101 Hits
0 Comments

Don’t Let Your Inner Monologue Hinder You In Virtual

Don’t Let Your Inner Monologue Hinder You In Virtual

I’d never seen anything quite this beautiful. The water was crystal blue and the sand off the Oahu coast appeared like wispy, heavenly clouds. It was a tranquility that was teaming with life as fish darted in and out of the reef. This peaceful sight was eclipsed only by the near absence of sound - a quiet serenity broken simply by the sound of my frantic breathing.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3002 Hits
0 Comments

Don't Leave Your SME's Delivery to Chance

Don't Leave Your SME's Delivery to Chance

I love my mechanic! If you own a vehicle, then you are aware how critical it is to have a stellar mechanic tagged as a favorite on your phone. While I'm skilled at a few things, I'll openly admit that working under the hood of a vehicle is not one of my strengths. I've developed a relationship with my mechanic where I have the utmost trust in what he is good at which allows me to focus on what I do best. So here is the challenge. When he calls me with his diagnosis, after about 45 seconds I begin to glaze over with fluttering eyelids and a sense that I've just talked with Charlie Brown's teacher. In the space of two minutes, he's given me much more information than I needed. In communication, knowing a lot can work both for you and against you.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3089 Hits
0 Comments

Is Your Introduction Credible?

Is Your Introduction Credible?

"Hello my name is _________ and I"ve been in the business for..." Oh sorry, I dozed off for a minute. It was right after you said something about how long you've been in the business.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2811 Hits
0 Comments

Are You Conducting a Lot of Virtual Meetings? Yes You Are!

Are You Conducting a Lot of Virtual Meetings? Yes You Are!

Recently I asked a group I was working with whether they had a lot of virtual meetings. The answers I got were mixed. Some said they were using screen-sharing tools, a few used more elaborate collaboration platforms, and others said no they weren't leading virtual meetings. Then I asked a different question. How many of you are on conference calls regularly? After a group groan, everyone's hand shot up.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3025 Hits
0 Comments

Pull the Plug on Idioms, Acronyms and Jargon

Pull the Plug on Idioms, Acronyms and Jargon

The first rule in presenting or speaking is to be clear. If you are not clear, I need you to put a sock in it. I don't mean to give you a taste of your own medicine and I don't have an axe to grind, but it's the last straw. We use far too many idioms (figures of speech), acronyms (abbreviations using initials) and jargon (vocabulary specific to a group) in our presentations and meetings. As our teams become more regional, national, global and virtual, speaking this way won't cut the mustard ... sorry ... won't provide enough clarity to be clearly understood.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Recent comment in this post
Guest — Kathie!
I absolutely agree!! The major global company I work for uses MANY acronyms even though our audiences are often new to the indust... Read More
Friday, 08 May 2015 21:49
Continue reading
3810 Hits
1 Comment

Checklist for Choosing a Virtual Training Platform

Checklist for Choosing a Virtual Training Platform

I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina where NASCAR racing is one of the premier sports. In this sport, winning races not only requires that you have a capable driver but you must have a strong crew and a fast car to compete at the highest levels. The best drivers in the world can't consistently compete in cars that are sub-par. The same is true of synchronous virtual training platforms. The platform is to training as the car is to racing.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2636 Hits
0 Comments

Are You Letting Technology Get in the Way of Learning?

Are You Letting Technology Get in the Way of Learning?

As virtual instructors, knowing how to use our virtual training platform is crucial. Every platform has its own unique capabilities. We also know that real learning comes from the collaboration between participants that an instructor fosters in the classroom.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2362 Hits
0 Comments