Personal Introductions-What Do You Want Them To Say About You?

Why Are They Important?

Every professional needs to present a strong personal introduction. Your introduction may be the first impression people have of you and it is important for your career growth, personal brand and it is a reflection of your leadership. A good introduction is the gateway to new clients, sales, a new job, or other professional opportunities.

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Make the Most of Your Virtual Meetings

In the last article, I discussed how to make in-person meetings more effective. In this article, I discuss making virtual meetings more effective.

Virtual meetings need to be treated differently from in-person meetings, some aspects of technology make them more challenging for example:

  1. Performing on Camera and Social Pressure

Workplaces that allow staff to work from home (WFH) expect staff to attend virtual meetings and have their camera on. For employers this is a proxy for engagement and focus. It is reasonable to want to see staff and what they are doing. After all, in a face-to-face meeting you can see what everyone is doing and whether they are paying attention.

However, virtual meetings can make staff feel social pressure to perform for the camera and be “on” at all times-which is exhausting.

To get beyond the social pressure issue, some employers allow staff to turn off their cameras during meetings. Other employers ask employees to show up in-person to work and have in-person meetings.

2. Delayed Responses

There is pressure to respond quickly in a virtual meeting. However, technology creates a delay in response time that we don’t experience with in-person meetings. 

Think about the times have you have fumbled to unmute yourself, or started talking in response to a question only to have people tell you that you are on mute, or the host goes on to the next person to get a response to their question because you are seen as too slow in responding.


Think about trying to find documents for your presentation and put them on a shared screen.  If the person takes too long or has technical difficulty they may be labelled as not being prepared or inept

A 2014 study found that delayed responses in a teleconference made others see the responder as less focused, confused, or inattentive, I would add possibly inept. We seem to have lost the ability to tolerate any delay or interruption in a smooth transition and we label the person as less capable.

 What to do?

Count to six. I received the following tip when I took a course on presentations: when you ask a question, count to 6. This is the amount of time people need to hear and process the information they receive. Therefore, in a virtual meeting, counting to six will relieve some of the response time and social pressure. Our natural instinct is to want an instant answer, but with technology expect delays.

Give people time to process and respond, be patient as people navigate their way through the virtual environment

3. Effective Use of Technology

Never assume that everyone knows all the technology available to them, help participants become familiar with what is available to them, like screen share, polls, break out rooms, and chat functions.  Make it interesting by changing up the format.

Use the Chat Feature

Encourage everyone to keep their video meeting chat feature open and ready to use. One of the best features of a virtual meeting is the chat function, this feature can help people be engaged throughout the meeting and it is a great way to get work done.

Use Breakout Rooms for Small Group Work

This feature is similar to real life break out groups, but it is done virtually. The host of the meeting usually has control over the breakout function and can place people into a breakout room. It is a nice way to brainstorm or discuss issues before going back to the bigger group.

Use Polls to Keep Participants Engaged

These are instant surveys that the host will use to gauge the participant knowledge or engagement They are fun because you get to see what others are thinking.

4. Set Virtual Standards 

Most people behave in a professional manner in meetings, but there are occasions when the meeting can get away from the host and rude and unprofessional behaviour happens. It may be more difficult to catch and stop this behaviour in virtual meetings than in-person meetings, but it needs to be stopped. Similar to in-person meetings, when a meeting becomes rude or unprofessional it is time to apply standards for virtual meetings.  Provide participants with examples of acceptable behaviour and standards:

  • “We will not speak over one another in meetings”
  • “We will record team chats so everyone knows what’s going on and who’s responsible for each idea and task,” or,
  • “Team meetings will be smartphone-free zones.”

Some examples of standards:

  • Raise your hand (real or virtual) before speaking.
  • Address colleagues respectfully.
  • Do not yell or use profane language.
  • Maintain a professional tone.
  • Listen to the speaker.
  • Remind participants that rude or unprofessional behaviour will not be tolerated. If necessary, take a break and discuss the disruptive behaviour with the participant(s) or stop the meeting and reschedule. Deal with instigators individually to address the inappropriate behaviour as you would in an in-person meeting.

5. It’s Ok to Socialize Before the Meeting

A common comment about virtual meetings is that it’s not as personal and interactive as in-person meetings. There are no treats in a virtual meeting, there is little socializing in a virtual meeting and people are more wooden. For example, in an in-person meeting people chat about their family, evening/weekend plans, weather, but as soon as people get on a call, the socialization aspect doesn’t seem to happen, people go on mute and off camera until the meeting happens. 

Getting to know your colleagues in a more personal way makes the interactions more personable, pleasant and can facilitate better working relationships.


Virtual meetings are here to stay. Find different ways to engage participants, change up the format, make sure participants know how to use the technology and practice tolerance.

Make the Most of Your Meetings

The verdict is in! Most meetings are ineffective. This post will share tips on how to make your meetings more effective.

Some interesting meeting stats:

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Why We Need to Normalize Failure, It’s the Key to Success

We’ve come a long way from the shame of failure over the years:

  • In 800 BC Greece, failed business merchants sat in the marketplace with a basket over their heads. 
  • Between 500 -1500 AD Italy,, failed business owners with debt, were taken naked to the public square. They were required to bang their buttocks against a special stone while a crowd booed at them.
  • In 17th century France, failed business owners were taken to the center of the market and their bankruptcy was announced.  To avoid imprisonment, they had to wear a green bonnet, a sign of failure. 

We don’t publicly shame failure like we did in the past, but we still haven’t normalized it.  

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Christmas Message

Christmas is a time of celebration, spending time with family and friends, renewal, joy, hope, and of gratitude. During this time of year I tend to be more reflective and turn my thoughts to all the big and little things I am thankful for like, family and friends, and all the blessings I have in my life. 

The Christmas season is one of generosity; I’m talking about the generosity of spirit, and not gift giving.  Here’s why I think that:

  • People seem to be more forgiving and agreeable and may be more willing to overlook slights and hurts than normally.
  • People give of their time and money to help those less fortunate than themselves.
  • People may be more inclusive and look for ways to include those without family and friends in activities.
  • People seem to want to make the world a happier place, even for a short time, think of decorated houses and yards, decorated shopping centres, singing, plays…
  • We want to celebrate whether it’s the big things or the little things. This season reminds us of the blessings in our life.

There are those who do not share these sentiments and may find the Christmas season hard to manage. We can be sensitive to what they are feeling or going through. They may not want to share in festivities or activities because they are in a hard place in their life. We can find another way to be a friend.

Let your generosity out during this season. Make it a practice to celebrate the good things in your life. Watch how it changes you and helps those around you.

May you enjoy the very best of this season!


We Are What We Do Repeatedly: How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

When I first heard, “How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything”, I thought no that’s not true, but then I thought maybe it is true.

What do you think? Is this statement true or false?

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How to be Mentally Strong After a Loss


In the last blog post, I talked about pressure tests. They are the tests that come along in life to challenge us mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, and in our relationships and usually, they involve crises or loss in our lives.

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Facing Your Pressure Test

I’m a fan of the MasterChef franchise: MasterChef Canada, Australia, and the United States and of the Great British Bake Off. If you haven’t watched any of these shows, the premise is that a small number of home cooks compete against one another in pressure tests to win a grand prize (usually loads of money). I admire them for taking a risk and following their passion.

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Leadership Moments: Get Out of Your Own Way

We have met the enemy and he is us”

Walt Kelly, From the Pogo comic strip

Do you find yourself tugged in two different directions?  One direction is comfortable, safe, and known, but boring, tired, or done. The other direction is new, your next big move and scary! It means that you must make a change. So, you play around with the idea, like a cat plays with a toy. You push it around, throw it in the air, and then abandon it. You want to commit to the new thing, but you can’t just yet, you need to play with it, until you start to feel comfortable… and you never really get comfortable with the idea, so you continue to the play cat games endlessly.

Continue reading “Leadership Moments: Get Out of Your Own Way”
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