Part 1 – Your Mindset – Today’s challenge is a check in on how well your written words and video presence are serving you in a work at home world. Because most of us already use texts, emails and video often to communicate, it may seem like this is nothing new. Before you assume that, remember that others may not be in that same boat. Perhaps that customer who only buys when you call on them in person or never responds to texts. Or the boss who doesn’t read anything beyond the first paragraph of an email. These reminders are simple yet important when we get too comfortable or make assumptions about other’s norms:
- Don’t use technology as an excuse to not call people. It can be tempting but doesn’t allow for the same connection. For people you traditionally meet with in person, ask about their preferences and be specific about what they can expect from you during this time. Also, don’t be afraid to learn video calling if you haven’t used it.
- Tough conversations are best had in person which, in our new world, means over the phone or video. Setting up the nature of the call with an email might be useful but don’t use our remote working world to hide from verbally delivering a difficult message. Verbal communication typically provides greater clarity and allows for timely questions and dialogue instead of misinterpretations.
- Emojis – some or most people seem ok or are indifferent to the use of emojis while others view them as immature and unprofessional. Know your audience.
- Look the part on video. We all have interruptions with kids at home right now but try to visually represent your ability to balance flexibility with productivity and focus.
- Avoid large video calls if possible. Keeping video calls to smaller groups will result in more engagement. Larger calls will inspire turned off cameras and Netflix shows in the background. I have video call engagement tips too - ping me if interested.
- Be clear about expectations and impressions from response times. For those who pay attention to this, setting clear expectations can be very important and save you when dealing with an impatient client or boss who can no longer walk around the corner to demand your time.
- Balancing brevity with just enough information in emails or texts can demonstrate great strategic focus and increases the likelihood of it being read. (Sigh. You can see I struggle with written brevity but have tips so ping me if this challenges you too. Maybe we can keep each other accountable!)
- “Bcc” can be a very divisive tool and can breed distrust and dissention among teams. Own your message openly to all with whom you are communicating. What is your motive for wanting to use this feature without others knowing you are doing so?
- Create agreed upon norms for who needs to be cc’d in emails. For efficiency, I prefer not being on every single email but this requires trust among teams. Set up agreed upon rules to keep folks in the loop but not overloaded unnecessarily.
Part II – Giving to Others – With so many working around the clock these days in service or reaction to our new world, it is hard to decide where to focus our gratitude. As schools are rapidly trying to adapt student’s learning world to a 100% virtual experience, today’s challenge allows us to focus on educators and educational administrators. Our school district, Aledo ISD has been working around the clock to figure out how to serve lunches, ensure technology access for all students, help teachers create virtual classrooms and learning, answer parent questions, on and on, etc. I am sure your schools are doing the same. Whether it is Pre-K, K-12 or Higher Education, reach out to someone putting in extra time during this monumental shift in educational formats.