Insights for Working Virtually

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Is Your Training Aligned (Linked) with Your Business Partner's Objectives?

Is Your Training Aligned (Linked) with Your Business Partner's Objectives?

Don't let your instructor-led or virtual training disappear because you weren't able to articulate it's value. Many a good idea or project has failed to be supported or adopted because the value wasn't clearly evident. That's a failure on the teller of the story. The challenge is that we've tried to show the financial value by calculating the ROI of our training. I don't know about you, but calculating the ROI of training has always seemed as if we were proving the existence of the mythical unicorn. There are so many variables in the training ROI equation that the product of this calculation is soft and intangible.

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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.

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Your Clients Asked for a Cost Effective Virtual Training Option ... So What's the Problem?

Your Clients Asked for a Cost Effective Virtual Training Option ... So What's the Problem?

Humans are ingenious when there is a problem that needs to be solved. Finite fossil fuels gave rise to hybrid and electronic vehicles. A cordless environment brought by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Less invasive outpatient surgeries via laser technology. Reduced training budgets and global workforces giving rise to more face-to-face training and travel. What? One of these examples is not like the other.

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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.

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Can You Read Your Sales Partner’s Mind?

Can You Read Your Sales Partner’s Mind?

This is a trick question, but we’ll get into that in a moment.

We know that to meet sales goals, for most industries today, it’s critical to have a strong network and the support of sales partners. Regardless of the type or mix of resellers you may utilize, having a diverse and robust sales ecosystem is one of the keys to meeting revenue targets. This is particularly true for organizations with big growth goals in a world of shrinking direct sales headcount.

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Technology Belongs in the Backseat in the Virtual Classroom

Technology Belongs in the Backseat in the Virtual Classroom

Recently, we were finishing up feedback on a virtual course a client asked us to review and potentially redesign. As each person gave their feedback, some trends appeared. “It took us a long time to get to content.” “The introduction seemed a little flat.” “Why did we spend so much time on all the tools in the virtual environment? We didn’t even use all of them in the session!” We weren’t surprised. We knew what the problem was.

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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.

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3 Ideas on Using Virtual to Develop Diverse Global Talent

3 Ideas on Using Virtual to Develop Diverse Global Talent

As our working world continues to become more global, development of diverse talent should be on the goal list of any leader whose business is reliant on human capital. In a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO Survey, 85% of CEOs whose companies have a diversity and inclusiveness strategy say it enhanced the company’s performance. 71% of CEOs said they were searching for talent across markets, sectors and demographics.

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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.

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Do You Really Know What They Need? Define Before You Design

Do You Really Know What They Need? Define Before You Design

It’s a common lament. “We’ve created training program after training program to support this new initiative and they still aren’t adopting the tools.” Sound familiar? Your organization has a new product, program, or corporate initiative to launch and as training professionals, we need to get employees engaged and trained. Our programs need to focus on these key business initiatives in our organizations. So, we track participant registrations in our learning management system (LMS), test them and analyze their scores, and make sure the training is mandatory. Even then, they still aren’t adopting what we are teaching.

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Are You Playing Hide and Seek With Your Audience?

Are You Playing Hide and Seek With Your Audience?

Most of us agree that we live in an attention deficit world and it’s not surprising we feel that way. Imagine yourself walking into a room about to share a plan that will put potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in the pockets of a sales team. This hot new business area is key to both the attendee’s commission check and your company’s success. You look out at the audience and as people come into the room, they sit down, open their laptops and put mobile phones next to them.

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Virtual Openings Need to be Even More Compelling

Virtual Openings Need to be Even More Compelling

“Hello my name is ... and welcome to the Advanced Sales Techniques Workshop. Let’s take a look at what our objectives are today.” How many times have you heard this opening, whether it was for an "in-person" training or for a virtual presentation? While this one way to open a workshop, it’s not a compelling way to capture your audience.

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Prepare for the Unexpected when Training Virtually

Prepare for the Unexpected when Training Virtually

It's Monday morning and you know what that means? Your virtual platforms service provider did a system update, your phone bridge software installed a bug fix, and none of your workshop participants checked their computer system before the program. Sound familiar? It's what we call gremlins in the system!

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“Sticky” Learning Requires Time Between Virtual Sessions

“Sticky” Learning Requires Time  Between Virtual Sessions

Humans forget up to 70% of what they've learned in 24 hours. If you ask my wife, she will tell you that, at least with me, this is true. According to the research behind "the Forgetting Curve"1, the loss levels off at just below 80% and remains static over the next 30 days. Think about what this means to "event" learning where they come to an in-person class for a day or two and then return to their jobs. The participants will only actually remember 20% of what was presented to them.

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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.

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Don’t Be Fooled... Virtual Training Can Drive Sales Skills

Don’t Be Fooled... Virtual Training Can Drive Sales Skills

There is a myth that you can’t learn “soft skills” in a virtual environment. Many hold the belief that you have to be there in person to practice those skills. It’s like when people said there would never be a sub four-minute mile or when it was thought that the computer would never have a personal use. It was true until it wasn’t. My experience in the virtual classroom says you can learn and practice soft skills. Let’s break it down.

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