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  • feedwordpress 16:26:06 on 2020/04/03 Permalink
    Tags: , Education, , ,   

    VIRTUAL MEETINGS SHOULD NOT REPLACE PERSONAL INTERACTIONS 


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    I just read an article written by a colleague who says one of the reasons so many of us shy away from video meetings is because  we’re technology challenged, or we have no need to see people that we already know.

    Maybe in some cases, that’s true, but it isn’t the real reason. I’ll give you three reasons why I sometimes shy away from video meetings and it has nothing to do with technology.

    1. I don’t want to put makeup on

    2. I don’t want to do my hair

    3. I don’t want to dress up for work

    Let’s be honest. It might be fun to work from home for a while, but after the newness wears off and you become immune to the kids screaming or the dog barking, wouldn’t it be more fun if we could just go back to the office? What’s the point of working from home if I have to get ready the same way I do when I go into the office?

    Think about all the things I could be doing while working from home, if you don’t have to see me on video.

    1. I can get dinner started while we’re on a conference call

    2. I can let the dog out and you’ll never notice

    3. I can answer e-mails while people on the non-video call are droning on

    Even if I admittedly do that, I have been productively working from a home office for more than two decades and can make some realistic arguments to support the at- home- work movement.

    1. I save time commuting

    2. I am more productive because I can go to my office at all kinds of strange hours

    3. I don’t pay for office space

    Yet, despite some advantages of a virtual office, nothing can replace face-to-face communications. It’s how we connect. It’s why we fly across the world to be with people in the same room when we could Skype or Zoom or FaceTime.  A lot of energy flows between us when we’re in the same space that can’t always be shared through a screen.

    Leaning in while listening and can extend your energy toward another. When physically present in a room, other people are more aware if you’re doing something else instead of being fully present.

    Then there’s touch. When we’re not shielding ourselves from a pandemic, in person we’re shaking hands, hugging, holding doors open for each other and even patting each other on the back. We’re huddled over each other’s monitors, sharing snacks and passing our phones around to look at each other’s photos.

    In an experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and Harvard, it was concluded that shaking hands causes the centers of the brain associated with reward to activate because you are literally conveying warmth. It’s something people can actually feel.

    Let’s say you’re interviewing for a job. You e-mail your resume, point them to your LinkedIn page and schedule a video interview. If you make it past all of those steps, nothing will seal the deal better than an in-person interview where those hiring can feel your energy, passion and what it would be like to have you physically present in their work environment.

    As the coronavirus forces us to social distance and more and more employers have asked employees to work from home, the word remote is taking on new meaning. It’s no longer just a work term.

    For people in nursing homes, like my mother, remote can mean isolation. I can’t visit her. Our weekly lunches, quick in-person chats and family dinners are done, for now. Yes, we FaceTime, but that doesn’t replace a hug or a kiss. As a caregiver, seeing her in person shows me she’s okay. A video screen doesn’t have the same impact that either of us crave.

    My friend’s mom is also in a nursing home. She fell and broke her hip. Because only medical and necessary personnel are permitted in, my friend couldn’t be with her mom when the hip was replaced. She can’t be with her in rehab either. Her mom is scared and alone. They talk by phone, but clearly, it’s not the same.

    Video meetings are an important alternative right now. Like digital shopping and banking and transportation, it will get easier and become more commonplace. Thank goodness we have technology that allows us to interact during these challenging times. However, virtual meetings should never replace in person interactions. When we are physically present, we are often more emotionally present. We express ourselves much differently. We can touch. We can feel. We can look directly into someone’s eyes.

    It’s what makes us human.

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  • feedwordpress 16:57:36 on 2020/03/23 Permalink
    Tags: clear communication, , , Covid19, Education, , self-confinement, slow down   

    Quick Tip #97: Take Foot off the Gas 


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    I hope you and your family are faring well during these difficult times. This month’s quick tip will help you slow it down, which we’ve all been forced to do in our own lives. That said, while so much of our business is in person, I want you to know that we are also here via phone or video technology should you need help with messaging and communication preparation during this unprecedented time period. Stay well and healthy! See you on the other side!

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  • feedwordpress 12:54:22 on 2020/01/08 Permalink
    Tags: , Education,   

    Quick Tip #95:How to Edit Yourself 


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    We always tell communicators ‘less is more’. Learn how to edit yourself so people listen when you talk. Simply put, it’s about simplicity!

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  • feedwordpress 16:21:06 on 2019/11/18 Permalink
    Tags: , Education, , , , understand   

    Asking someone ‘How are you?’ doesn’t go far enough 


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    I’ve often wondered the true meaning of the words “how are you”? When someone says, “how are you”, do they really care how you are or are they just being polite?

    For example, I received an email from an acquaintance that started with “how are you”, then went right into her request. I don’t think she really cares how I am.

    As a contrast, I ran into someone in the supermarket who asked me how I was. Then she followed up with questions about work, summer plans, and made me promise to give regards to my family. I think she actually cares about how I am.

    The phrase “how are you” was first recorded in the late 18th century, when it was used to mean ‘something very small and insignificant’. According to Psychology Today, whether or not you are actually interested in someone depends on a number of factors:

    • How well do you know this person?
    • Does the individual seem ill or have a history of being ill?
    • Are you aware that something has been troubling this person?

    As an example, every day I grab a cup of coffee at a local shop. Over the past year, I noticed the normally chatty checkout woman seemed unhappy. Her typical contagious smile was replaced with a silent frown. I didn’t know her well enough to ask if something was wrong.

    Fast forward about a year, her personality changed back again. She also looked different; lighter, happier and was sporting a new hair style. So, I said “you look great, I love your hair. How have you been?” I was truly interested.

    That’s when she told me she had been ill but was doing much better now. The hair wasn’t hers, but she was glad I liked it.

    Many people are private. Some don’t want to burden you with their problems. Others don’t follow up with questions to indicate that they are truly interested in what you’re saying.

    I wondered how this translates to our work lives and two very different situations came to mind.

    Situation One: We were providing leadership communications coaching at an automotive company where the sales director felt disrespected. He said he was tired of playing therapist and didn’t want employees coming to him with their personal problems. Sales were down and he blamed his subordinates. During role-playing which was videotaped, he was gruff, failed to make eye contact and was often multi-tasking instead of listening. When he spoke, he barked orders and rarely asked questions. He didn’t appear to value the opinions of others and told me, he was the boss so they should do what he says and not question his authority. Wow.

    What was apparent to me, but not to him, is that his employees didn’t like him. More importantly, they didn’t trust him. Trust and communication are centerpieces of all relationships whether professional or personal. If employees don’t trust leadership, it affects productivity and morale. When communication is one-sided, employees are less engaged which typically leads to poor performance and job dissatisfaction.

    Situation Two: I work with a global CEO I greatly admire. He’s a people person. He says all business is personal and the more interest he takes in his employees, the more committed and productive they are. Even though he can’t personally interact with 600 employees, he tries to meet with as many as possible. He said their opinions drive innovation and change. He makes it a point to have lunch in the employee cafeterias when visiting different job sites and invites employees to join him. His company boasts very low employee turnover.

    Back to the sales director. After the role-playing, I played back the tape. At first, he was defensive. Defensiveness turned into embarrassment. He said he knew he cut people off, but never realized how negative he looked and sounded. He asked how he could improve. These are the tips I shared with him.

    Tip #1: Be empathetic. It’s important to recognize that employees have personal lives and personal problems can spill over to the workplace. If it’s serious like a health condition, divorce or death of a loved one, cut them some slack and choose your words carefully. Ask them if they help, a temporary schedule adjustment or time off.

    Tip #2: Listen to understand. If someone disagrees with you, instead of shutting them down, ask questions to better understand their perspective. Perhaps they were passed over for a promotion or they’re upset over the way a project is being managed. You don’t have to change your decision but listening signals respect. You may also gain insight that could be helpful moving forward.

    Tip #3: Be present. While your responsibilities may prevent you from being present in person, the more visible you are, the more connected people will feel to you. Technology such as video conferencing has made interacting remotely easier than ever. Look for ways to engage your employees face-to-face.

    So, the next time you’re about ask someone “how are you”, think about what those words really mean. If you genuinely care, then be fully present and listen to their response. If it’s simply a nicety or expression, perhaps a simple hello will do.

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  • feedwordpress 18:13:50 on 2019/10/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , Education, Headline, ,   

    Quick Tip #92: How to Hit the Headline 


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    In the first minute of your conversation, can you engage, command attention and drive home your key points. Learn how so people listen when you speak.

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