the ABC’s of Higher Impact on ZOOM

Assess and improve impact on ZOOM

COVID 19 and Community Quarantine across the world has had a major impact on how we run meetings. Up until seven weeks less than 10% of us worked from home. Last week MIT ran a survey on 25,000 executives and found that nearly 35% of them have hopped on the virtual workspace and are working from home.

After these tough times are over and I do believe that this too shall pass but working virtually and business meeting on Zoom and other platforms will become the new normal. Most all the skills and competencies that we’d learned in the past for connecting, engaging and influencing small and large audiences will have to be flipped around to fit onto laptop screen or a handheld phone.

Here are a few ABC’s of higher impact and influence on Zoom which you may find handy in these fast-changing times.

 

First, the A about you appearance:

  1. Dress and groom yourself appropriately for the kind of meeting you are going to participate in. Had the real-life, physical meeting called for business formal then, from home, wear at least business casual clothing. My preferred colors are plain with no prints and usually on the dark side.
  2. Make sure that your workspace and background looks presentable and is not too distracting. On Zoom there are features which will allow you to create virtual backgrounds like on a green screen but this sometimes chips away at the outlines of your face. So be careful and test it first.
  3. When you face the camera, make an effort to sit upright and look straight into the tiny camera most off the time. Make it also a point to fill up at least 50% of the screen real estate. Do also make sure to sit facing the light rather than having a light drop in from behind, above or below you.

 

Second, the B, about behavior:

  1. Do remember that you are on camera and the camera watches you 100% of the time mercilessly and without blinking. There’s also a good chance that the host of the meeting, if not you, maybe recording the meeting.
  2. Thus, stay focused, fresh and attentive. That means manage your movements and keep your gestures close enough to stay in the frame. Refrain from twitching, scratching, grimacing, making a face, raising your eyebrows etc. Do remember that action speaks louder than words. In this case of virtual meeting even your micro-gestures will get magnified and caught on tape and remembered forever.
  3. If it helps keep a notepad by your side to help you with your talking points and point to remember from the meeting. This will help you stay focused, structured and will subdue unnecessary non-verbal communication.

Third, the C, for communications:

  1. Our words create our worlds. Words once uttered out cannot be withdrawn, erased or deleted. My father, a tailor by profession, used to always say “measure twice, cut once.” Same is true for speaking out. Before speaking out listen thrice as much, think twice and then speak once.
  2. When you speak a few decibels louder than your usual and speak a wee bit slower than you normally do. Pause often and take longer pauses after expressing a thought or an idea.
  3. In the physical world good pausing adds drama and increases impact. In the virtual world it does all that plus it allows you to check the smiles, the nods and the responses of scores of faces on your laptop screen.

Lastly, the most important  ABC’s of higher impact and influence in virtual meeting is that for heaven’s sake sit down or stand upright calmly during a virtual meeting. One time, I was in this online meeting of speakers and trainers from across the world when one of the ladies was jogging on the streets of her hometown while talking to all of us. Though I was properly seated at home all that bouncing and jiggling of one of the little images on my screen was giving me motion sickness. It was terrible.

Anyway, I hope these ABC’s of higher impact and influence in virtual meeting help you. I also hope that we, all the people of this beautiful earth come out on top of this current crisis quickly and safely. I am sure it will be a brand new and a better world that we will be living in from here on.

 

Raju Mandhyan

Learning to Learn

Nothing Beats Learning to Learn

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A few years ago, I had the honor of interviewing the Director of Application Services of Hewlett Packard, Philippines, one Mr. Noel Mendoza and though the subject of our discussions was information technology and its growing impact on the world, there was something he said outside of the interview that got velcroed to my heart and I share that thought with you here today.

Learning to Learn

Raju Mandhyan at the American Management Association

Noel Mendoza mentioned that his father, the distinguished Professor Gabby Mendoza of the Asian Institute of Management had left an indelible mark on him and that mark stated that nothing is more important in a human being’s life than building and sustaining one’s ability in learning to learn. No diplomas, no degrees or doctorates granted by any institution can match up to one’s ability to become a self-driven learner at work and in life.

And, what applies in our daily lives and in our self-development and leadership initiatives alos applies to selling and serving the needs of our customers.

Years ago there was this humorous story about an inept salesman selling Bibles across the small towns of America was going around the internet. It’s a great story and puts across the point of eagerness and learning.

This Bible salesman would knock upon the doors, mumble his way through his introduction, stumble through his presentation and make an overall mess of what was considered to be an easy sale back in the day.

Upon seeing his inadequacy at his job, most of the people answering the door would get frustrated at his approach and respond with,

“You don’t know a thing about selling, do you?”

“No, ma’am, not really! I am new to this job and also quite clumsy around it.”

“Oh, you nitwit you, there’s nothing tough about selling, you know!”

“Yes, ma’am, you’re absolutely right. I need to trust that fact.”

“Oh, come now,” they’d rebuke, “let me show you how.”

And, the customer would then go about teaching this nitwit of a salesperson how to sell correctly. Well, at the end, you guessed it. His sales multiplied and he often made it to superstar status in his company.

His approach might be considered tricky today, but the essence of the Bible salesperson’s story lies in our wanting to learn.  When your buyer senses and is convinced you want to learn about them to help them improve, then they often lean over backwards and hand you their trust in spades.

My belief is this ‘wanting to learn’ is about innate curiosity. This desire to learn and add value is the anti-thesis, the opposite of what has been considered a standard selling process. In the standard selling process, the seller shamelessly shoves features, advantages and benefits to the prospective buyer.  The reversal of this attitude and the desire to learn creates a good vacuum that draws the buyer in to where solutions can be created.

I massively trust and profess success from the process of inquiry and questioning at any time and place.  This is the process of diagnostics and counselling that community workers, therapists, and doctors utilize. It is the process of interacting, learning and understanding our clients prior to prescribing solutions.  Interacting, inquiring deeply to learn about the customer is the true Heart of the Close.

A good teacher makes for a non-intrusive and gentle guide who creates an atmosphere to encourage students to think boldly, to talk freely, and to act judiciously. He makes available opportunities for them to exercise initiative, to grow and shape their own growth and development. A good sales leader does the same for his customers. He helps them create their own solutions and own them for tomorrow.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

Make Them March

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I have, forever, been in love with this quote “When Cicero speaks, the world marvels. When Demosthenes speaks, the world marches!”

The source and origins of this quote is unknown to me. It could be Plutarch or it could have been former Prime Minister Gordon Brown of United Kingdom. What I know is that I relate to it powerfully, and I like to make everything I put out into the world about leadership communications or influence, align with the essence and the power that is in this quote.

For me, it consolidates and catapults what throbs inside my HeART whenever I deliver keynote addresses. Every time I speak, I strive to churn out massive, constructive and positive action more than I try to impress people with my words and language.

You say, “Ok, Raju, I get it. I see what you say but as a leader-speaker how do I go about having it?”

Make Them March

Here are three powerful insights:

Love Your People

Your audience can, first, be you yourself. Appreciate yourself and when you talk to yourself, as we all do. Speak to yourself with kindness, with nurture and with the purpose of boosting rather than sabotaging your self-worth.

On the other hand your audience can be a real audience of one, as in a coaching conversation, or an audience of a 1,000 at a conference. Apply the same principle of appreciation. Appreciate who they are, appreciate whatever background they hail from and respect whatever future they are seeking. “When you change the way you look at people, the people you look at change,” claims Wayne Dyer.

Be Authentic & Congruent

What the heck does that mean? Very simple! If, inside of you, you want to achieve one goal but, outside of you, you are promoting another then you are not being congruent. There is discord and dissonance in your professing and in your behavior. As and when that happens, then, my friends, something is bound to give, to shatter. That something could, first, be you and then your audience and, eventually, your whole world.

Thus, get totally and intrinsically clear about what EXACTLY do you want. No “ifs” and “buts” about it. After that go ahead and figure out what is that you have to say and do, to get what you want.  After that it’ll be a cinch to create value and meaning for your audience and your world.

Give Them Time

To pause in life is to appreciate the gift of life. To pause while speaking is gifting your audience to appreciate what you are sharing with them. They need a little time to absorb and savor it. Time and tide don’t wait for anyone but when a leader pauses for his people to catch up he displays power, presence and true pizzazz.

While speaking on stage, pause before you begin speaking. Pause after you have begun the speech. Pause in the middle, pause at commas, pause at periods and pause after you throw out a question. Pause and slow down when you are shifting topics as you do when shifting gears in a car. Pause like Al Pacino, pause like Anthony Hopkins and, definitely and truly pause like Demosthenes might have done when he had people marching for him instead of just marveling at his speech. Thus, pause while speaking to make them march.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

 

The One, Most Important Thing in Public Speaking

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It did not take me long to think about when I was asked the question, “What is that one, most thing about succeeding at public speaking?”

Well, some people call it the fear of public speaking and the naturally shy people call it nervousness. My choice of the word to represent this malady is anxiety? Most people, whether they are the front-liners or the head honchos of an organization, they are all anxious about having to face an audience.

So, before we go into how to manage it and succeed at the interaction let us consider the source of this anxiety and the cause of this malady.

In my opinion this anxiety is generated from two aspects, two sources.  First, it is generated by the fact that the speaker thinks that the audience may be too good for her. That means, they may be too knowledgeable, way too intelligent and way to classy for her. And, that they may perceive her wrongly and may judge her too harshly. The second source to this is that the speaker may feel that he is too classy, much too knowledgeable and much too advanced for the audience he is to address.

Both these extremes rise from the dimension of a misplaced self-image, a warped self-esteem or the manifestation of a false ego, if I may. This internal misperception and an external behavior that makes an effort to put on a show create a discord, a dissonance and a lack of congruence in the speaker. That lack of congruence is seen and sensed by the audience and thus, they too tune out. When they tune out, the speaker and his performance come crashing down too. This does not just happen on the speaking stage but also occurs on all leadership platforms. Scroll down the history of the world and you will see that leaders came crashing down, when they did not say or do what they meant or meant to do what they had said they would.

How do you manage to survive and thrive through this?

As a speaker just before you speak and throughout speaking you need to be stepping out of your own skin and stay vulnerable. You need to stop excessively focusing upon how good you look or not; how well you speak or not and how perfectly placed your content is for the event and the customer- audience. Your heart, your mind and, sometimes, even your smartphone needs to just living and breathing in kindness and a deep desire for creating value for the audience. To make the customer king, while speaking is to get out of your own way; get out of your own skin.

How is this done?

Considering that you have done all the homework you need to have done before the speaking event, you need to calm down. You need to let go all concerns of not doing a good job. You need, also, let go of the entire negative and excessively brittle and moral self-talk. You need to deflate. You need to bring your attention to how you are breathing. When your breathing stops sounding and feeling like you were pumping iron or when you choked your breath upon the sight of a dog that you were scared. Your breathing needs to even down to like that of a baby at sleep. It needs to go easy in, easy out and through the diaphragm. Rhythmic and calm with your shoulders, eyes and tongue as relaxed as possible.

The moment you deflate, ground and calm down then your attention will stop obsessing with yourself and move towards being present and conscious of your audience’s space, their current state and then their learning needs. It is then that you can and will begin to shine as a speaker, a great communicator and a leader that inspires and makes her world evolve beautifully. At this stage your interaction with your audience becomes a dance of love, of engagement and co-creation.

That which works in public speaking, works in running fruitful meetings. That which works in public speaking works in bringing the best out of others. That which works in public speaking, works in leading your world a brighter tomorrow. This is the one, most important thing in most everything in life; being in the here and now and then taking the world into their future with humility and with compassion.

Attend the one day workshop of The HeART of Public Speaking in Cebu on September 24, 2019. Register Here: