Insights for Working Virtually

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

Attended a Bad Virtual Meeting? Not So Fast! You Have a Responsibility as a Participant

Attended a Bad Virtual Meeting? Not So Fast! You Have a Responsibility as a Participant

We Know There Are Bad Virtual Meetings
If I were to ask you to raise your hand if you have ever attended a bad virtual meeting, I'm certain that it would be a majority. If you've read my articles, you know that I harp on the importance of leaders taking responsibility to run an engaging virtual meeting that accomplishes the intended results. I still believe that the leader carries this responsibility to lead differently in the virtual workspace. What I also believe is that the participants of the meeting bear a responsibility as well. The next time you gripe about a bad meeting, I want you to ask yourself what you did to help make it better. Did you apply some self-leadership to help right the ship or did you let it sink while increasing your multi-tasking as you stayed on mute? It's that old adage, “If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” As our workplace becomes increasingly more virtual, it will be up to all team members to contribute in making the virtual workplace experience valuable and productive. If participants of meetings fail to take responsibility for their experience, remote and virtual teams may begin to disappear along with the flexible lifestyle that they provide team members. The bottom line is that bad virtual meetings threaten the existence of virtual teams.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
346 Hits
1 Comment
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
404 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
760 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
836 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
1508 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
927 Hits
0 Comments

Managing a Virtual Team is Harder! 5 Tips to make it Easier

Managing a Virtual Team is Harder! 5 Tips to make it Easier

There is an interesting trend happening in the workplace. Leaders are pulling workers back from home offices and remote locations in favor of more easily managed, collocated teams. It most notably happened three years ago when Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously said, "To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices."

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

Did You Hear Me? Listening in the Virtual World

Did You Hear Me? Listening in the Virtual World

In a recent program I was conducting with a senior engineering team, one of the participants had a big “aha” moment. She realized that when trying to influence other organizations, it was more about listening than talking. Since the engineering group is a virtual team, we realized that the skill of “listening” may require a different focus in virtual than what we take for granted in person.

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

5 Important Questions to Evaluate Yourself as a Virtual Leader

5 Important Questions to Evaluate Yourself as a Virtual Leader

If you are reading this, you intimately know the daily challenges you face leading a virtual team. In my experience, it is difficult enough managing a team that you lock eyes on every day. With virtual team management, you not only need foundational management skills, but you have to artfully customize those skills to bridge the distance between you and the team and team members with each other.

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

Are Your Best Ideas On Mute In Your Virtual Team Meetings? 3 Things To Do Now

Are Your Best Ideas On Mute In Your Virtual Team Meetings? 3 Things To Do Now

Here’s a sad fact that I see confirmed in my work with global leadership teams. Not everyone is contributing their best ideas and feedback in meetings – even the people with the most knowledge or innovative ideas. In a recent survey cited in Harvard Business Review, even though participants may feel they have an important contribution to make, only 35% felt they could do so routinely. It’s even worse for virtual teams.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3626 Hits
0 Comments

How to Avoid Overusing Email on Your Virtual Team

How to Avoid Overusing Email on Your Virtual Team

Do you spend a good amount of time each day reading emails on one of your numerous devices with a screen? Studies have shown that we spend just over one month a year reading email. Sometimes these emails tend to be a chain of conversations that you simply were CC'ed on and don't care about. Other times you are not sure of the action you need to take as a result of reading the email. When this happens, you send back yet another email with a clarifying question. I'm not even going to get into all the "reply to all" emails that clog up our in boxes.

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

Leading in Your Pajamas: One Resolution for Your Virtual Team … Relationship Reviews

Leading in Your Pajamas: One Resolution for Your Virtual Team … Relationship Reviews

Use the fresh start and the energy that the new year brings to your advantage for your virtual team. Relationships are the life blood of successful communication and collaboration. If successful salespeople perform annual relationship reviews with their clients, why can't you do the same with your virtual team?

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1932 Hits
0 Comments

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast on Virtual Teams

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast on Virtual Teams

"The best laid plans of Mice and Men often go awry". This adapted saying from a Robert Burns' work can be leveraged to describe what happens to global virtual teams when cultural issues are ignored. Culture is what makes us all different and interesting. However, culture misunderstood drives a wedge between us.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2220 Hits
0 Comments

Information Can Kill Virtual Teams

Information Can Kill Virtual Teams

You can't over communicate. I've said this numerous times to technology leaders that I coach as they manage large scale change projects. My point is that in the absence of information people begin to make up their own story and nine times out of 10, it isn't pretty. On the other hand, too much information does the same thing. Massive amounts of information can overwhelm people to the point that they don't read anything. Some leaders send a weekly newsletter to their entire team that is packed full of information.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2304 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
2520 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
2399 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3221 Hits
0 Comments

5 Conditions for Success When Coaching Your Virtual Team

5 Conditions for Success When Coaching Your Virtual Team

A friend of mine is responsible for product development at a San Francisco Bay area company. He manages a team that is not just local, but spread over three locations and two continents. He knows his job is to help team members analyze their performance, help them problem solve, and motivate them to achieve success. The challenge is how to effectively do all that when he isn’t in person. It isn’t practical or cost effective for him to fly to each location when a coaching need arises.

...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2944 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:
Continue reading
5629 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
2830 Hits
0 Comments