5 Keys to the Delivery of an Impactful Message

August 23, 2022 by  

Being able to get your intended message across can be more difficult than you might think. Most of you probably think that you know how to communicate because you have been doing it since you were born. However, unless you receive some honest feedback from the listener you cannot be absolutely sure that the communication was received and computed as desired. In addition, if the message was not heard, you will not enjoy the expected outcome. Miscommunication results in conflict, disappointment, resentment, and complaining, all of which cause you stress and lowered productivity, efficiency and creativity. Therefore, it is much more beneficial to learn how to communicate with impact, clarity, and influence.

Here are some keys to help you be more effective with interpersonal exchanges and presentations.
1. Consider the needs of your audience so that the “packaging” of your message will be enticing, engaging, and meaningful, as this will make it more likely that they will listen more intently.
2. Clearly outline the benefits of what you wish the audience to do because of the reasons for changing their behaviour or following your instructions make sense in a compelling manner to the listeners, again they will be more likely to do as suggested.
3. Always tell the truth, in that way you will truly be authentic, and honesty is the very best policy as the audience will sense your sincerity. This approach will also give you credibility which will speak to a better chance for the generation of voluntary compliance with your wishes. Besides, this also validates your expertise and competence which are more reasons for your audience to listen closely and do as you wish.
4. Have a clear goal in mind so that you can formulate your message appropriately to achieve that particular outcome. It is much easier to complete something when you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
5. Practice, practice, practice…new skills require the implementation of strategies and tools that will provide you with the desired outcomes, however, you can only accomplish those goals when you have mastered the techniques necessary to become an impactful communicator.
Finally, if you are to become an effective communicator, employing the elements described above will be a great help in achieving improved outcomes and less conflict in all aspects of your life.

Interactive Storytelling

June 30, 2022 by  

This article explores a type of training activity called interactive storytelling.

Here’s the outline of this chapter:
1. Ready-to-play instructions for an interactive storytelling activity called Arouse.
2. Game plan showing the structure of the Arouse activity
3. Suggestions for adapting Arouse to suit other training requirements
4. Definition of interactive storytelling
5. Brief summaries of 10 different interactive storytelling activities
Arouse
Most trainers tell stories to emphasize learning points. In this interactive storytelling exercise, we focus on how to arouse emotional outcomes during communication.

Purpose
To modify and tell a story to evoke one of these emotions among the listeners: happiness, anger, sadness, or fear.
Synopsis
Teams of participants select an emotion they want to evoke through telling a story. They modify the story and select a team member to tell it. The listeners identify the level of intensity of the emotion that the story aroused.

Players
Minimum: 4
Maximum: Any number, organized into groups of 3 to 7 players.
Best: 12 to 30

Time
30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the number of teams.

Supplies
• Small pieces of paper
• Pens
• Timer
• Whistle

Room Set-up
Arrange seats around tables to permit group discussions.

Flow
Brief the participants. Explain that this activity involves telling a story to evoke one of the four primary emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, or fear. Notify that the participants will work in teams to modify the story and present it to evoke the selected emotion.

Specify a story. Identify a well-known folk tale and explain that all teams will tell their version of this story. Members of the team may modify their story in any way to invoke an emotion they selected.

Form teams. Organize the participants into teams of 3 to 7 players. Try to form 3 or 4 teams, making sure no team has more than 7 members. It does not matter if a team has one less or one more member than the other teams. Seat each team around a separate table to modify the story and plan for its presentation.
Specify an emotion to be elicited. Identify the four basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. Invite each team to secretly select one of these emotions to elicit through the presentation of their story.

Prepare for storytelling. Announce a suitable time limit (of 5 to 10 minutes) for the members of each team to suitably doctor their story to arouse the selected emotion among the listeners. Also ask the teams to come up with suitable storytelling techniques to emphasize this emotion. Allow each team to work on its own.

Select a storyteller. A couple of minutes before the end of the time limit, ask the teams to select one of its members to be the storyteller.
Present the story. At the end of time limit, blow the whistle and select a random team. Ask the storyteller from this team to present the story. Ask all participants from the other teams to listen to story.

Conclude the storytelling. At the end of 3 minutes, blow the whistle to stop the presentation even if the story has not concluded. Thank the presenter and their team. Ask the storytelling team to identity the emotion they were attempting to arouse among the listeners.

Poll the listeners. Distribute small pieces of papers to the participants from the other teams. Ask each participant to independently to write a number between 1 and 5 to indicate how intensely the emotion was aroused.

Explain this scale:
1. not aroused at all
2. mildly aroused
3. aroused
4. clearly aroused
5. intensely aroused

After a suitable pause, collect the folded pieces of polling numbers.
Continue the storytelling activity. Select different teams, one at a time, to present their version of the story to arouse their selected emotion. Repeat this procedure until all teams have had their chance. Collect the polling numbers at the end of each storytelling episode.
Conclude the activity. Announce the total storytelling poll scores for each team. Congratulate the highest scoring team as the champion storytellers.

The Structure of the Activity
Arouse can be used as a template for creating other training activities. The following game plan outlines the structure of this activity:
1. BRIEF THE PARTICIPANTS.
What the facilitator does: Explain the format and the objectives of this activity.
What the participants do: Think about what would happen in the activity.


2. SPECIFY A STORY.
What the facilitator does: Identify a commonly known story to be retold to arouse a specific emotion.
What the participants do: Recall and share details of the story.


3. FORM TEAMS.
What the facilitator does: Organize the participants into teams of 3 to 7 members.
What the participants do: Sit around a table and introduce yourself to teammates.


4. SPECIFY AN EMOTION.
What the facilitator does: Explain the basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear.
What the participants do: Select one of the emotions to arouse through the story.


5. PREPARE FOR STORYTELLING.
What the facilitator does: Give instructions and a time limit.
What the participants do: Work as a team to modify the story and figure out strategies for arousing a specific emotion.


6. SELECT A STORYTELLER.
What the facilitator does: Ask the teams to select its storyteller.
What the participants do: Select the most suitable team member to be the storyteller


7. PRESENT THE STORY.
What the facilitator does: Ask the storyteller from a randomly selected team to tell the story.
What the participants do: The storyteller tells the story, trying to arouse the selected emotion.


8. CONCLUDE THE STORY.
What the facilitator does: Stop the story after 3 minutes. Identify the emotion that the storyteller was trying to arouse.
What the participants do: Think about the story and the specified emotion.


9. POLL THE LISTENERS.
What the facilitator does: Ask each listener to give the story a score between 1 and 5.
What the participants do: Write the score on a piece of paper and give it to the facilitator.


10. CONTINUE THE STORYTELLING ACTIVITY.
What the facilitator does: Select different teams to tell their story.
What the participants do: Listen to other teams’ stories and score their performance.


11. CONCLUDE THE ACTIVITY.
What the facilitator does: Announce the total storytelling scores for each team.
What the participants do: Congratulate the highest-scoring team.

Adapting Arouse to Suit Other Training Requirements

You can use the structure of Arouse as a template to explore other training topics and objectives.

Here are some suggestions for doing this:
• Don’t want to impose a story? Instead of specifying the story, permit the teams to come up with their own story.
• Assign a specific emotion? Instead of letting each team select an emotion, assign the same emotion to all teams.
• Want a wider choice of emotions? Include additional emotions such as disgust, enjoyment, love, amusement, pride, peace, compassion, and curiosity.
• Want to work with business-related topics? Instead of using stories, select common activities from the workplace (such as satisfying customers, marketing products, or giving discounts). Ask the teams to describe what happens in the activity.

Interactive Storytelling

Arouse belongs to a type of training activity called Interactive storytelling.
Interactive stories are fictional narratives that involve the participants in a variety of ways:
• The facilitator presents the story and discusses its significance through a debrief.
• The facilitator pauses at critical junctures in the story and invites listeners to play the role of a character.
• The participants rewrite the story by changing the beginning, ending, setting, characters, or point of view
• The participants create and share stories that illustrate key concepts, principles, or procedures related to the training topic.
Ten More Interactive Storytelling Activities
In addition to Arouse, there are several other interactive storytelling activities. Here are brief summaries of 10 different interactive storytelling activities:

APPRECIATIVE EXCHANGE
Objective: To appreciate positive outcomes in a specific type of encounter and to identify the factors that contribute to such an outcome.
Sample Training Topics: Cross-cultural communication, coaching, difficult conversations, motivating employees, selling a product, and problem solving.
Sample Topic for this Game: Suicide Prevention
Activity: Ask the participants to independently create personal anecdotes about achieving success in preventing a suicide. Form pairs of participants to exchange their positive stories. Repeat the pairing and sharing procedure. After several rounds of such exchanges, form teams of participants. Ask the members of each team to share their insights and identify the factors that contributed to the success of their encounters.

CASE ANALYSIS
Objective: To review, analyze, and mitigate one or more critical factors presented in a case.
Sample Training Topics: Team-building, critical thinking, creative problem solving, receiving feedback, conducting interviews, and conflict management.
Sample Topic for this Game: Strategic Decision-Making
Activity: Present a case in the form of a story. Also give a list of key questions related to the case. Ask the participants to individually analyze the case and answer the question. Later, form teams and have the participants share their answers and arrive at a consensus. Finally, conduct a whole-group discussion to share the perspectives of different teams and individuals.

MULTIPLE REALITIES
Objective: To empathize the perceptions and feelings of different groups.
Sample Training Topics: Customer satisfaction, multicultural teams, communication, listening skills, coaching, and virtual teams.
Sample Topic for this Game: Empathy
Activity: Tell a story from the point of view of a key character. Ask teams of participants to rewrite the story from the points of view of other characters. Ask the teams to share their stories. Conduct a debriefing discussion to examine alternative perspectives.

HEROES AND VILLAINS
Objective: To identify desirable and undesirable qualities of people in leadership roles.
Sample Training Topics: Management, team facilitation, training, thought leaders, politicians, and coaches.
Sample Topic for this Game: Effective Managers
Sample Topic for this Game: Effective management
Activity: Discuss the characteristics of managers. Ask teams of participants to create a profile of an effective manager who is a hero. Later, ask the teams to create a profile of an unsavory managers who is a villain. Reorganize the teams and ask them to list desirable and undesirable characteristics managers.

UNFINISHED STORY
Objective: To create a logical sequence of predictable events in an unfinished narrative.
Sample Training Topics: Forecasting, investment, planning, coaching, motivating, collecting data, and researching.
Sample Topic for this Game: Team Development
Activity: Explain the four stages in the team development model. Tell a story about the experiences of a team working on a critical project. Include details of what happened during the forming, storming, and norming stages. Ask teams to write the final (performing) of the story in this team’s development.

SEQUEL AND PREQUEL
Objective: To connect causes and effects across several events.
Sample Training Topics: Career development, mediation, life of a new hire, quitting a job, product development, and retirement.
Sample Topic for this Game: Project Management
Activity: Explain that every action is caused by some previous action. Also, every action causes some future action. After these explanations, present the outline of a story that involves a business project. Ask teams to create a sequel to the story, involving the same characters and settings. Later, return to the original story and ask the participants to create a prequel of the story, by portraying the same characters at an earlier time. Debrief the participants by tracking the connections among the events in the prequel, the story, and the sequel.

HAPPY ENDING
Objective: To realistically analyze a failure to diminish its impact and to lower the probability of its future occurrence.
Sample Training Topics: Planning, organizational learning, faux pas, data collection, quitting a job, and rejection of a proposal.
Sample Topic for this Game: Downsizing
Activity: Ask teams of participants to write short stories featuring an employee being downsized. Exchange the stories among the teams. And ask each team to rewrite the story with a happy ending: a positive outcome instead of the original failure. Conduct a debriefing discussion about reframing perception of failures.

STORY PROMPTS
Objective: To collaboratively create and present a story stimulated by a random photograph and related to a specific topic.
Sample Training Topics: Visual thinking, graphic prompts, topical exploration, lateral thinking, and communication.
Sample Topic for this Game: Creativity
Activity:. Seat a team of participants around a large table. Briefly introduce the training topic. Turn over a random photo card. Invite the first participant to create and narrate the first few sentences of a story related to creativity and to the photograph. Invite the other participants to take turns to continue narration. Stop the narration after a convenient time period. Comment on aspects of the story related to creativity.

THINK ON YOUR FEET
Objective: To rapidly create and present a story that is related to the training topic.
Sample Training Topics: Any training topic.
Sample Topic for this Game: Storytelling
Activity: Organize the participants in triads. Ask one member of the triad to be the judge and to announce a training topic. The other two participants think silently for 30 seconds about the topic. At the end of this time, the judge takes one of the other participants aside and listens to their story. After a couple of minutes, they return to listen to the other participant’s story. At the end of this story, the judge decides whose story won this round. This procedure is repeated with each participant playing role of the judge.

DEBRIEFED STORY
Objective: To explore the similarities and differences between one’s personal behavior and the behaviors of the characters in a story.
Sample Training Topics: Communication, cultural norms, values, national differences, and emotional responses.
Sample Topic for this Game: Death and dying
Activity: Locate or write a story related to the training topic. (In our session, we used a story called “A Death in the Family”, about the death of a mother.)

Distribute printed copies of the story to each participant. Assign a suitable time limit for reading the story. Conduct a debriefing discussion will the entire group. Ask questions about the differences between the behavior of people in your culture and the characters in the story.


THE 8 GOLDEN LAWS OF SELLING: EXPERT SECRETS FOR QUALITY LEADS AND HIGHER SALES CONVERSIONS

June 14, 2022 by  

No matter your industry, your potential customers are subjected to a lot of noise.
Naturally, in order to make sales so you can change lives, you’ve got to stand out to your ideal clients as an expert; and not only that, but as the expert who can deliver the transformation they’re looking for in exactly the style they’re looking for.
Master the eight golden laws of selling, and you’ll be on your way to more leads, better sales conversions, and a thriving business!

Rule 1: The Law of Influence. During a sales conversation, there is one way to influence a potential client to buy, and that is to put your focus on that person (rather than on yourself). People don’t buy your skills or certifications; they buy the transformation you’re providing. So if you want to sell, focus on your potential client, and how your services will transform his or her life.

Rule 2: The Law of Active Listening. During a conversation, active listening is about more than listening to respond—it’s about listening carefully, to hone in on exactly what your ideal clients or customers want and need now. When you truly listen, for the sake of listening, you’ll be able to identify exactly how your offering fills a customer’s desire or need. As a result, your sales conversions will skyrocket!

Rule 3: The Law of Uniqueness. Each one of us is unique and can provide our offering in a unique way. Get clear on what makes you unique—how you stand out from others in your field—and then lead with that in all your sales conversations and marketing pieces. Your ideal clients will be attracted to you for the unique qualities you offer! To them, you’ll stand out from the noise and emerge as the clear choice.

Rule 4: The Law of Authenticity. This law goes hand-in-hand with the Law of Uniqueness. You are unique. Embrace that! Celebrate it. Be yourself; don’t try to be like anyone else. When you are clear about why you do what you do and what you stand for, you attract ideal clients and customers naturally.

Rule 5The Law of Value. People typically realize that a great value doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest price. Consider how you can add value to your packages to create an exceptional experience for your customers (consider one-on-one coaching calls, Q&A sessions, extra worksheets or templates, etc.). Then, don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth, in terms of the transformation you provide.

Rule 6: The Law of Receptivity. Give first. People buy from experts they know, like, and trust; the best way to establish this type of relationship is to give. Be of value. Allow your ideal clients a taste of the transformation you can provide, and those who are a great fit for you will hang on your every word, anxiously awaiting your every offer!

Rule 7: The Law of Time. Launches with limits sell more. Whether you sell only a limited number of packages or sell packages only for a limited time, the fear of missing out is real. That’s why limited launches work. Consider different ways you can use this technique; add limited-time bonuses, early bird pricing, etc

Rule 8: The Law of Self. The better you become, the more success you’ll create. Focus on personal and professional development—improve your mindset, sales skills, and skills or methodologies specific to the service you offer. Read books, take courses, and join groups and masterminds that will keep you motivated, inspired, educated, and always on the road to improvement.

When you’re not landing as many customers as you want to, the sales process can feel mysterious.
The good news is that when you put these golden laws into practice, you’ll begin to see an improvement: more leads, more sales, and the ability to make a bigger difference!
Want to scale your business, get visible, find clients, and increase profits?


4 Strategies for Successful Sales

May 18, 2022 by  

Probably one of the most important things to remember is this: sales are NOT about you, they are about the prospect. What does that mean? That means that you must follow a few simple rules in order to be successful and close more deals. People really hate to be sold but they truly love to buy. If you can provide them with some compelling reasons why your product or service will benefit them, why would they not buy!

Here are the elements to remember:
1. Do your homework: Research your prospect to discover what their needs might be, where they could be experiencing pain, how your product or service is going to make their life easier, more productive or improve their bottom line. Also, find out how to get to the decision-maker to save everyone time and avoid frustration.

2. Use Active Listening: The more you listen and ask questions, the better you will be able to determine exactly what they require. One cannot learn anything when you are talking and you cannot listen and talk at the same time….so listen more and talk less…this will more likely result in a sale.

3. Keep your Pitch Simple: Everyone is busy so arrive with a clear, concise presentation that gets right to the point. No one is interested in all the features, bells and whistles, just the bare bones of why and how this will solve their problem. If they want more details, they will ask for them.

4. Use Appropriate Language: Be sure to describe your product or service using terminology that your prospect understands. Most people are not verbal learners so if a picture will provide a simpler explanation, use it! Technical language that goes over the head of the potential customer does not impress them; rather it frustrates and confuses them…that will not lead to a sale!

If you are going to be productive as a salesperson, you need to create a simple, direct “roadmap” on which you guide your prospective customer toward the desired destination (your sale). Along the way, you point out the key benefits appropriate for their particular needs and answer any questions they may have to keep them engaged and satisfied.


Practice the suggested tips above and you will make more sales and have more success!

9 Approaches You Can Take Instead of Giving Up

April 20, 2022 by  

One of the most important rules regarding success is that you can’t give up easily. There are always obstacles to overcome, and if you give up too soon, you will never get anywhere.
Think about the least and most successful people you know. The successful people you know are probably very perseverant. They give up on practically nothing. Unsuccessful people give up quite easily.

When the going gets tough, there are things you can do instead of giving up:
1. Take a break. Sometimes the best thing to do when things don’t seem to be going your way is to take a break. A break might mean taking an hour, a day, or a week away from your goals to catch your breath and regain a more effective perspective.


2. Get advice. When something isn’t working, the advice of an expert can be extremely helpful. It is possible that your approach just requires a little tweaking. Or it might be that your approach is more than a little wrong.  Advice from the right person can make a big difference.


3. Learn. If nothing is working, it might be time to sit down and educate yourself on what you are trying to accomplish.  A little more
knowledge might be the cure for your current struggles.  Enhance your expertise and then apply what you learn.


4. Develop a new plan. Perhaps it is time for a new approach.  When one plan isn’t working, another plan might be the solution.  It is important not to give up too soon on your current methods, but it doesn’t help you at all if you try to stick it out for too long once it becomes obvious that it isn’t working.


5. Try harder. Everyone thinks they are working extremely hard, but few people actually are.  The solution to your challenge might be to double your efforts and grind.  This isn’t necessarily enjoyable, but the most successful people are highly effective at employing this tactic.


6. Rekindle your motivation. Are you simply losing your motivation? There are ways around that! 

 Create a vision board.
 Visualize yourself being successful.
 Make a list of all the benefits you will receive when you reach your goal.
 Speak with someone and ask for a pep talk.
 Listen to music or watch a movie that inspires you.


7. Determine why you want to give up. Are you tired? Are you short of a particular resource such as time, money, or another set of hands? Is it taking too long? Are you confused?
 Determine the cause of why you want to give up and look for a solution that resolves the issue.


8. Get support. It might be time to call your friends and family for a little emotional support. Everyone needs some encouragement once in a while. Be willing to lean on others when necessary. The people that care about you the most would be happy to help.


9. Set a new target. There are times that a goal isn’t suitable or possible. In those cases, set a new target that is appealing and motivating. No one makes perfect choices all of the time.  The real crime is to stick with a poor choice when it isn’t necessary.


Giving up is common among average people, but who wants to be average? Not you! Rather than give up when you become frustrated or stressed, use one of the above strategies and stay in the game.
You can’t win if you don’t play!
Most people would be significantly more successful if they wouldn’t give up so quickly. Learning how to deal effectively with the urge to quit is an important skill to develop. There are plenty of better options than giving up.

Active Listening, the Most Important Communication Skill

March 17, 2022 by  

Hearing is an ability unless one is hearing impaired, but Listening is an art and needs to be learned. It requires focus and concentration as well as understanding all the interferences that impact our ability to listen well. In addition, in order to get good at it, one must practice it.
We are not mind readers so cannot tell if someone is really listening to us, even if they look as if they are because we are not mind readers and so have no idea what they heard. That is why one needs to get concrete feedback from the “listener” to discover what they did hear.

Do not ask them if they understood you because they will always answer yes because they do not want you to think that they were not paying attention or that they are not very smart.

Here is the question to ask: “What do you think I expect of you?” If they can answer that question, they can show you that they in fact did hear what you told them, otherwise, you will not get what you want or need and that causes resentment, disappointment, and stress, which during this pandemic is the last thing we need.

Because we are not mind readers we do not know if they are not feeling well, are too hot, too cold or uncomfortable in another way. We do not know if they have a problem of their own that they are worrying about or trying to solve and all of those issues will super cede anything you might want them to hear. In addition, never “assume” as that makes an ass out of you and me and you cannot be sure that they did hear you unless you get some good feedback. So again, if you are assuming you will not likely get what you are expecting or needing.

If you have an important conversation to have with a person or persons, try to have it in a location without distractions like people walking in and out, side talking, construction or traffic noises, business machines like faxes or telephones ringing or even copiers working. All of those distractions make it very difficult for a person to concentrate on what you are trying to tell them so you will not likely get what you want.

Again, just because someone is looking at you while you are speaking you cannot be sure they are listening and heard what you wanted them to hear, unless you get some good feedback that tells you that they were listening and did hear what you needed them to hear.

Sadly, we are not taught how to listen, and again, hearing and listening are not the same. As I already mentioned, listening requires concentration and focus and if that is not exercised it is very difficult to receive a message fully. Most people think they are good listeners but honestly, few actually are because they do not know how it works.  It is too bad that listening is not taught to children and adults so that they can do it effectively and reduce resentment, disappointment and stress.

In order to be a good team leader, or a leader of any sort, or a professional of any sort, one must be a good listener in order to learn about your team members, your patients, even your customers. If we listen well, we can learn what matters to them, what concerns them and what they may be seeking and can help them get what they want and help them to improve their health or increase their abilities and knowledge. Especially when something goes wrong, it is so important to listen so that we can fix the problem and make the person happy again. Without active listening we will miss opportunities and not get what we need or want……that is why you need to ask for feedback from the supposed listener.
Again, active listening is really the most important communication skill as it can prevent so many problems before they happen.

How to Make Your Virtual Meetings More Interactive and Effective

February 23, 2022 by  

Virtual meetings have grown in popularity due to the increasing number of companies that allow a work-from-home setup. Plus, they are a great way of connecting with your colleagues while staying in the comfort of your home.
The only caveat is that virtual meetings tend to be rigid and non-interactive. That’s because you can’t manage to have a whisper with the person beside you.
That said, we have listed eight tips to make your virtual meetings interactive and engaging:

Use the Right Technology
Virtual meetings are no longer just screen-sharing sessions or teleconferences. These days, you can now use virtual conferencing apps that allow interactivity.
Some apps allow you to create a poll, field questions from attendees, or voice their opinions through the microphone. As such, you can leverage these features to encourage audience participation. Hence, making your virtual meetings interactive.

Have a Plan B
When technology fails, things can quickly get out of hand.
It is vital for companies who rely on virtual meetings to have a backup plan not to lose any momentum in their work process. This way, if one of the participants cannot attend the conference for some reason, there will be another person ready to take their place and conduct business as planned.
Having a backup plan lets you get back up quickly and get the meeting running again if any hiccups happen during a virtual meeting.

Stick to a Meeting Agenda
Virtual meetings allow for a more engaging discussion that is more time-efficient. If a meeting is not optimized with a meeting agenda, it will be hard for participants to know what’s going on.
Virtual meetings must have a plan so that the team organizing the meeting can work through it effectively and efficiently. You should create a well-thought-out program to inform your audience what to expect in a meeting. This includes telling them what you want your participants to do, such as turning their phones on silent.
This is also a way of ensuring that only those who are needed in the meeting will attend.

Start with an Ice Breaker
An icebreaker is a small activity played before the start of a meeting. The goal of an ice breaker is to make everyone feel comfortable and realize that you welcome casual conversations.
A good icebreaker can help participants feel more connected with each other and break down barriers. It can create an atmosphere where people can be themselves, share their ideas, and collaborate for the sake of the project they’re working on.
Therefore, starting with an icebreaker can help loosen people up to smoother meetings.

Include an Interactive Dialogue
Having two-way communication is an excellent way to make any virtual meetings engaging.
Luckily, video conferencing tools these days have features that enable interactive dialogue. This includes poll creation, sidebar chat, Q&A panel, and a face-to-face conversation via computer audio.
As part of the plan, planning flexibility and leniency in the meeting agenda is a great way to get the dialogue going. However, it’s always best to encourage discussions by prompting responses from your audience.

Use Visual Elements
Another way to engage your attendees is to use visual elements. After all, no one would want to stare at a talking face for hours.
Instead of saying that your company’s profit increased by 15% this quarter, you might want to show it in a graph. Doing so makes it easy for your participants to grasp what you are talking about.
However, make sure that your visual elements add to your presentation instead of taking away from and distracting from it.

Add Gamification Elements
Gamification uses game design techniques to engage players in solving problems. It is a way to successfully motivate people, usually through rewards when used outside a gaming context. You can apply this concept to your virtual meetings.
A gamified virtual meeting is a virtual meeting with added elements to make it more interesting for participants. The goal is to motivate them to join and participate in discussions by making them more enjoyable.
The simplest way to incorporate that is by offering a reward. For example, every time you ask a question, you should prompt everyone to answer it, and whoever answers correctly first gets a prize.

Ask Participants for Feedback
Adding different ways to receive feedback on a virtual meeting can help you find ways to improve it. With more employees working from home these meetings are essential to keep everyone able to exchange ideas and keep in touch during this pandemic.
You can set up an anonymous form so that everyone will feel comfortable being as honest as possible when sending back their feedback to you. After you read through their input, you’ll be able to know which ones are working right for you and which ones need improvement.

Since virtual meetings are a significant part of how your organization operates, making them engaging and interactive would make sense. That way, you can keep their attention for as long as your meetings last. In addition, you can do that by applying the tips listed above.

10 Ways to Improve Your Employee’s Experience

February 3, 2022 by  

An employee’s experience is your worker’s perception about their time through the multiple touchpoints of your company. With this impression, it can begin as early as the recruitment stages and last until their last day as your company’s employee.
In most cases, your employees’ overall experience is affected by multiple common factors such as the provided work environment, the company culture and values, equipment, and the nature of the work itself. Depending on the employee, everyone’s experiences can be either negative or positive based on how they generally absorb these factors over time.

Often abbreviated as “EX,” employee experience can be closely compared to your customer satisfaction ratings. Through this data, the figures can show you how your employees feel throughout each touchpoint of their time with your business.

The Importance of a Positive Employee Experience
Employee-employer should always be handled mutually and respectfully. Providing a strong and positive employee experience is one of many factors that employers should prioritize by continuously improving their processes and culture.
For employees looking to enter a new company, they can check employee ratings and reviews as a guide to see if an organization maintains a good working environment for its employees.
Through a strong and healthy employee experience, many of the most successful businesses are able to retain their top talent, which can act as an edge against other competitors. Apart from that, there are also numerous other benefits that you can gain by taking the necessary steps to improve your EX.

10 Ways to Improve Your Employee’s Experience
Employee experience can influence other aspects of the company, such as its productivity and quality of output. Because of this, it is crucial to maintain effective strategies to improve these factors continuously. Here are some methods that you can use to enhance the overall experience of your workers.

1. Improve internal communication in the company
Communication within your company should always foster a sense of community within the work environment to encourage everyone to cooperate and achieve set goals in mind. At the same time, practicing active communication skills in the workplace allows your operations to run more smoothly and avoid problems such as miscommunication and negative impressions.

2. Create a memorable onboarding experience
The onboarding process plays a vital role in seamlessly transitioning new employees into their position within the company. In many instances, this experience is essential to the success of the employee as they gain major information about the company and their position. One way of ensuring a smooth onboarding experience is by creating orientations that allow them to transition smoothly into their first few tasks.

3. Provide manager training
The relationships between your employees and other team members can be one of the most vital factors that affect their employee experience, especially their relationship with their managers. Consider providing regular manager training to allow team leaders to empathize and understand how to interact with other employees properly.

4. Make career development options available
Workers are more likely to stay with your company if they know that you can provide career development opportunities for them as they grow with your company. With this in mind, you can establish training programs that will train these workers so that they can be ready to take up more responsibilities before they get promoted. These programs may also be implemented annually to maintain an effective workforce rotation.

5. Use an employee journey map
A journey map acts as a key guide that can help you visualize your employee’s processes as they go through your company to accomplish set goals that were previously established. Using this map can help you pinpoint critical moments during these different stages and identify weak points in your operations that you can further improve. Additionally, an employee journey map can help you understand the employee’s point of view better as you go through their experiences with them.

6. Implement stay interviews
Stay interviews are often conducted by management to grasp a better understanding of why employees stay with your company or the reasons why they might consider leaving for other opportunities. For this interview to be considered successful, conductors should keep in mind to speak in a casual and conversational manner during the interview.

7. Perform a survey
Conducting a survey or gaining employee feedback is one of the best ways for companies to learn how their employees feel about working in the organization and understand their perspectives better. Using the data gathered from these documents can guide you when optimizing your business operations and multiple other factors that affect employee experience. Surveys can be done quarterly or annually, depending on your preferences.

8. Invest in employee wellness
When you offer good programs for employee wellness, your teams are more likely to become active within the company as it can be used as a form of encouragement. Apart from physical programs, these benefits can also come in paid leaves, an in-house clinic,
healthy food provisions, etc.

9. Act on your feedback
When you get multiple negative feedback on your employee surveys, this can be a quick indicator that something is going wrong. To maintain a positive employee experience, make sure that you look through each concern and find ways to improve in aspects that you are lacking. However, keep in mind that these should be for the betterment of all employees, not just a singular one.

10. Share customer feedback with your employees
Everyone wants to be praised for the hard work that they do. If an employee receives positive feedback from a customer they served, take the initiative and congratulate them for the work that they have done. This not only boosts employee morale but can also work as a motivator for other employees to perform well with their tasks.

Progress Through Positivity
Creating a good employee experience for your teams can significantly benefit your company in many ways. Apart from experiencing lower turnover rates, business owners can also improve their overall reputation in the industry, which allows you to compete better against major competitors in the market. Moreover, happy employees are shown to work more efficiently and seek better career development plans in their futures.



How to Create a Culture of Innovation

January 21, 2022 by  

The term innovation has become a hot topic in the workforce. While organizations may execute innovation differently, they can all agree on one thing: innovation is the key to building distinct value for your workforce and customers.
Let’s discuss the what and the why behind innovation and then dive into the how—the four tangible ways you can begin creating a culture of innovation today.

What Is a Culture of Innovation?
A culture of innovation is a workplace environment that values and encourages creative thinking. It unlocks ideas that may be unconventional yet can drive positive, long-term change for the organization.
Business leaders of an innovative culture understand the economic and social value of creativity and do their part to prioritize innovation at all levels of their company.

Why Is Innovation Important?
Innovation focuses on looking beyond the obvious to think of unique ways to bolster an organization’s unique value proposition.

Consider the following statistics on innovation:
• Innovation helps organizations foster a competitive advantage and govern their economic success.
• Executives believe 40 percent of their innovation strategies have positively impacted their bottom line.
• 84 percent of executives believe innovation is vital for their growth strategy.

How Do You Create a Culture of Innovation?
Below, we’ve outlined four main characteristics a culture of innovation encompasses and tangible tips on how to achieve them. We encourage you to use these tips to help you create a culture of innovation at your organization.


1. Step Outside of the R&D Framework
Often, when there is a dedicated research and development (R&D) team at an organization, it can cause other workforce members to believe their roles do not require or are not capable of creative thinking. As a result, innovation is limited to only one group at the organization.
This is a traditional approach, which enterprise software company SAP criticizes. According to SAP, innovation should not be exclusive to one person, team, or department. In an innovative culture, every team member can contribute ideas.

How to Achieve This
Stepping outside the traditional R&D framework and instilling company-wide innovation requires:
• Finding ways for creative team members to regularly collaborate with the R&D team and break down departmental silos.
• Initiating regular dialogue about what creativity means to individuals and how the organization can cohesively drive innovation.
• Leveraging technology such as collaborative analytics to make R&D more of a company-wide effort. Collaborative analytics can bring people together and speed up decision-making processes by 46 percent.


2. Nurture Collaboration
Millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, enjoy interacting with individuals who excite and interest them. In innovative business culture, business leaders recognize this and leverage this energy to improve innovation.

How to Achieve This………
Everyone, no matter their title or role, has creative potential. An innovative culture recognizes that ideas must be shared to truly value and capitalize on the advantages creativity can produce.
Business leaders can improve and nurture collaboration by omitting strict departmental rules that may be siloing teams. Encourage workforce members to take part in meetings and projects outside of their usual roles.
This allows people to step outside their comfort zones and learn from new colleagues. The more well-rounded your workforce can be, the better they can contribute innovative ideas that support organizational objectives.


3. Embrace Failure
As Thomas Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Rather than instilling fear, failure elicits drive and innovation in people who are part of an innovative culture. They understand risk and failure are part of the process and, ultimately, help refine their path to success.


How to Achieve This………
Leaders can help their organization embrace failure by:
• Investing in learning. Business leaders can consider hosting events such as boot camps that encourage teams to complete a project together. Incorporate training, debriefing, and feedback sessions to help individuals confront roadblocks head-on and view failure as a learning opportunity rather than something that undermines their skills.
• Focusing on finding solutions. It’s easy to mull over errors. Instead, encourage your teams to proactively discover solutions to those problems. This can be a great learning opportunity that can help them masterfully navigate change. Leaders who view change as an opportunity for innovation can develop a more creative and optimistic outlook to change the process.

4. Encourage and Reward Creative Ideas
It can be daunting for team members to speak up, take risks, and be vulnerable. This is why leadership must provide an open invitation to encourage workforce members to do so.
With leadership’s support, workforce members can feel more confident and comfortable sharing ideas and spearheading innovation in their roles.


How to Achieve This
Business leaders should reiterate the importance of innovation across all departments by:
• Illustrating the positive outcomes of one’s innovative idea. Highlight a success story during a company meeting that shows how creative ideas turned into profitable services and products. Show your appreciation and reward innovative behaviors; everyone else will feel compelled to follow suit.
• Encouraging management to identify and support creatives on their team. Confidence and creativity do not go hand in hand. Sometimes, your most soft-spoken workforce members are your most creative. Therefore, work with your managers to identify them and think about ways you can enhance their roles by asking:
• Is a team member’s current role creatively fulfilling to them?
What areas of their job can be improved to benefit both the team member and organization?

Wherever your organization stands, we encourage you to review these guiding tips on creating an innovative culture. Give your business and workforce members the competitive advantage they deserve.




Productivity at Work: 6 Tips That Increase Your Efficiency

December 21, 2021 by  

Time is incredibly important, and unfortunately, it is impossible to magically add more minutes to the day.
If you find yourself getting distracted throughout the workday, you are likely to waste those precious minutes.
On the other hand, when you become more productive, not only will you shine at work, but you will also have more time for the things you enjoy doing!
So, what can you do to be more productive?

Keep these 6 tips in mind to get more done at work:
1. Plan your workday. Before you get started working, or even the night before, set your priorities so that you will know what the most important tasks are. Make a to-do list with the most important tasks at the top.

2. Follow your plan. Tackle the tasks on your to-do list in order. Complete the most important tasks early in the day! When you know that you have done the most important ones, the rest of the day is easier.
 When other items come up that demand your immediate attention, as they inevitably will, handle them quickly and get right back to your to-do list.
 When other tasks come up unexpectedly, determine their priority. If they have a lower priority than your current task, try to delay doing them until you finish the higher priority task.

3. Reduce distractions. If you have a private office, close the door. If you work in an open room, consider investing in some noise-canceling headphones. Playing some light music can help you to tune out the distractions.
 In order to limit interruptions from your coworkers, let others know how long you will be unavailable.
 Keep only what you need for your current task on your desk. Too much clutter is distracting. Designate a place to keep all your supplies and return them to their proper place when you are done using them. This will also keep you from wasting time to look for needed items.

4. Avoid multitasking. You may think that you can juggle multiple jobs at the same time, but the truth is that those tasks that you are juggling won’t be completed with the quality that you strive for. This may result in errors that you then have to spend time rectifying.
 Research shows that it invariably works out better when you focus on one task at a time. Finish one task and then go on to the next.

5. Learn to delegate. Choose tasks from your to do list that others can complete or help you with and delegate these tasks to them. This will free up some of your time for high priority tasks that you must complete yourself.
 Trying to do too much results in an overall drop in the quality of your work, which ultimately negatively affects productivity.

6. Take breaks. When you work for an extended period of time without taking a break, your productivity levels and efficiency drop. Try to take a break for about 5 minutes each hour.
 In your break, give your mind a rest from your work. Put it out of your mind for just a few minutes.
 Stand up and walk around. Take some deep breaths. Do a few stretches and jumping jacks to get your blood moving again.
 Go for a walk. Even if it is just 5-10 minutes out of the office, you will return feeling refreshed and ready for the next task.

Keep these tips in mind to become more efficient with your time at work. You will get more done at work, which will make your boss happy and give you more spare time to enjoy doing the things that you love.

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