More and more New Jerseyans are working from home to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
During a New Jersey Tech Council webinar held Friday about how businesses should help their employees, NJTC President and Chief Executive Officer Aaron Price urged people to be more mobile, walk around once per hour, not slump in their chair, and to communicate better by standing.
Did you just sit up straight?
Price conversed with Michael Chad Hoeppner, the founder and CEO of GK Training, a boutique communications coaching company that serves Fortune 100 companies, universities, and individuals around the world. They discussed how to use time effectively to make business meetings shorter.
“Tell them what you are going to tell them,” Hoeppner said. “You do not have to read the agenda.”
There is a huge barrier when people cannot see or hear each other.
“Your first call could be your best call of the day if you woke up and warmed up vocally,” Hoeppner said. “Prime your voice and body to sound professional when you speak.”
“Coronavirus is life and death,” he added. “I would not use humor as a primary way into the meeting.”
People minimize distractions by working at home, Price said.
“Stop multitasking,” Hoeppner said. “Research shows your brain cannot do both tasks at once. It makes every single thing urgent. When you go on video, make it the whole screen. If you are multitasking, you are wasting time.”
Hoeppner advised to give one’s full attention to the person in a business meeting.
“Talk at people’s eyeballs even if they are looking down,” Hoeppner said. “When that person looks up from their device, they will see you looking at them.”
When you look off-camera, tell the person what you are seeing or looking for. That helps the other person know you are still present.
Take a break from Slack for the duration of the meeting, Hoeppner said.
One person asked how to show that he or she is working as opposed to not working from home. Hoeppner responded that most managers are in crisis mode and trust their employees to be working.
“You have a better chance to support each other by seeing each other,” Hoeppner said. “People underestimate their vocal presence.”
Price noted that during an in-person meeting you can see people and tell who looks ready to ask a question. By contrast, he said that a digital meeting prevents people from seeing each other so no one knows who wants to ask a question.
Some people are not comfortable doing video chat, Price said.