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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Open Offices Don't Work! Impact to Virtual Teams

Open Offices Don't Work! Impact to Virtual Teams

Recent analysis shows that over 70% of all offices have an open plan – no doors, no cubicles, and relatively few conference rooms. Open offices have been around since the 1950’s. The intent of this office configuration has been to increase opportunities for collaboration and casual exchange of ideas. In many cases that has been true. We've known since the days of "tiger teams" that putting a project team together in one place can efficiently produce innovative results. It is also great for the boss with a command and control mindset monitoring workflow. But how does this apply to a 21st century workplace?

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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.

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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."

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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.

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Does Your Virtual Team Have Dotted Line Responsibilities?

Does Your Virtual Team Have Dotted Line Responsibilities?

It's a double whammy. A team working virtually is difficult enough to manage. There are workers in different geographic locations whom you rarely see but collectively hold your corporate life in their hands. Now, many leaders are faced with the added complexity of having members of their teams work with dotted line responsibilities to other leaders in the organization (Matrixed Teams). This can be confusing for team members, ultimately creating questions of loyalty for the worker, contradictions in assignment priorities, and utilization issues. No matter what anyone tells you, no matter what fancy equations they use, a person can only be utilized 100%. Expecting to get more than 100% from one person is a set-up for failure.

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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.

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What is Virtual Training Anyway? 5 Questions to Ask

What is Virtual Training Anyway? 5 Questions to Ask

I was talking with a client about virtual training options and designing virtual training workshops. We were discussing how to take the existing in-person new hire orientation and lower costs by making it a virtual program. As I continued to expand on the various choices ­– blended asynchronous, synchronous, mobile options – I could see his eyes glaze over. He finally stopped and asked, “Is all of that Web-training?” His simple question made me realize that I assumed there is a common language around virtual training. There is not.

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