• Positive Polarity Podcast

Practical Strategies To Improve Productivity & Reduce Frustration




Bio:

Best-selling author, entrepreneur, coach, and engaging geek Jennifer Buchholz has worked in higher education, training, and development for over 20-years. When she realized that traditional methods weren’t helping her students thrive—she founded Excel & Flourish. Based in Milwaukee, Excel & Flourish helps organizations and teams improve productivity and reduce frustration with Microsoft products through fun technical skills training. The result? Amped-up collaboration and better success across every aspect of their business and work.


Jennifer is an award-winning connector who consistently goes out of her way to help others succeed. Her passion is bringing people together so they have the tools, support, and resources they need to be successful. She is actively involved in numerous organizations throughout the city; including Local First Milwaukee, Women’s Entrepreneurship Week, eWomen Network, and more.


Get In Touch:

jennifer@excelandflourish.com

414-209-5432

http://www.excelandflourish.com

https://www.linkedin.com/company/excelandflourish/

https://www.facebook.com/excelandflourish

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA4bc_uogxAowTsalKsGmFA?view_as=subscriber

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferbuchholz/

milwaukeenetworkinghub.com (Company Website)

transformviatravel.com (Company Website)


Resource List:

Boomerang

unroll.me

Workana


Shownotes:

Hey Dave, Melinda here, positive polarity podcast. I hope things are going awesome for you. If you live anywhere near Milwaukee, it's probably a safe bet that you and you have to be on LinkedIn. So those are the two prerequisites for knowing this individual, Jennifer Buchholz. How are you today?

I'm great, Dave. Thanks for having me.

I see you all over LinkedIn, which is awesome. You add a ton of content for people, a ton of value. You right now have this great company called Excel and flourish. Tell us what's going on at Excel and flourish these days.

Well, it's been an interesting shift. I think as many are familiar with, we had been primarily a face-to-face training company, and that was where I really hung my hat. How important seeing eyeballs is during training, and I'll still hang my hat on that. We just see them on a screen now instead of face-to-face. we've adjusted for

That's awesome. So what training pieces, what, what, what was, what things have you focused on in the past and are focusing on now?

So that's been an interesting ride, so we really have been focused on technical training, focusing on productivity, helping individuals, teams, and organizations really leverage the technology that they've invested in, and you learn how to use it better, stronger, faster, so that it can have more free time in the end. That's what I really that's. My passion is to go find something fun to do. Don't go do more work and let your technology do the work for you because you know how to use it.

Well, I think you just kind of did the nails on the chalkboard to the average entrepreneur listening because we actually put these measures in to save time to do more work. Thank you for balancing us out a little bit on that, Jennifer, because it's so often that we try and utilize whatever programs, whatever tools are at our disposal. And all that tends to do is be like, Oh great. Now I can work more. Thank you for balancing that out. It's crazy. You transitioned in 2020 from doing primarily live events to obviously the vast majority of things you're doing now are virtual, correct?

That is correct. We can deliver the same quality of training. But it is definitely a different deliverable or delivery method.

And how what's the success been for you on that transition? Was it easy? Was it hard for you?

Well, I've always been an online teacher and trainer. That's just not what I loved to do the most. And I think many of us could solemnly swear that we probably had enough in-person training, and we'd rather do that in some cases than the online training. I was always skilled at it, but I, again, I just feel like there was more effectiveness. It's been interesting because one of the things that I found and for all of those business owners out there really think about if you're expecting or stuff virtually, what tools are you giving them to do it? In some cases, I know people were sending their employees home with like literally come to the office, take your desktop computer, and go home. Good luck. Yes. I heard, we heard the stories, we heard some stories, you know if I heard one organization that had to invest in 400 laptops for their Like in an instant. And, of course, there was that quick shortage as well. Webcams were of short supply, with proper lighting. And for me, and I don't know, I'm curious, how do you do it, Dave? Do you have more than one screen or monitor that you work off of?

I do, yes.

Pro-tip number one is that you need more than one screen,

Yes. When I watch people just maneuver on one screen, minimize the screen, maximize the screen reduce, it's like you guys for a couple of hundred bucks, we can really, you know, pay for this in a short amount of time.

Exactly it, that type of product, like if you talk about a pro tip right there by everybody at an additional monitor and if they already have like their laptop and monitor, get on one more, just for fun.

That's funny. Well, and that's the thing about it that's the hard part. I think about productivity Jennifer because a lot of times you get people thinking like we just said it, it makes sense. But if we try and put dollars and cents to it if I have to buy, let's say I got 20 people on my team, and I got to buy 20 monitors. Now I'm up to whatever. I think that's 400 bucks. If my math is right or no, 4,000, sorry, 4,000 cm. I may skip math that day, but a $4,000 investment for our team. That's like, oh my gosh, how am I going to see, how am I going to see that back? I guess my question is, as we start kind of jumping into the productivity piece, how do you work through that with a business owner,

Every click costs money, every time that somebody has to minimize and reduce it. It changes your focus. You can measure the amount of time to recuperate focus. I'm sure there's been, I know there's been tons of studies on that. My first example always is, remember when we got mail, and I worked in corporate for many years. We would get our stack of mail, and we process our batch of mail. And then we'd say, okay, this is garbage. This I can look at later. And this is the stuff that I have to do right now. And then we'd go and do that work. Well, the same thing happens when you have email on one screen for mail coming in, okay, that's where you're getting your stuff. Or people might have their stuff scanned, but then you need a place to go do the work. If you have to click through to go do the work every time, like stop and think for a second, you're literally cutting time in half. If you don't have to click through each time. Sure,

you have to explain that then obviously to people, do they, are they pretty on board with it? By the time you start talking about some of your productivity tips, do they start to do the light bulbs start to go on then?

Absolutely. one of the things that we really look at is your most repetitive tasks: people, a business analyst, a business analyst is employed to analyze data. Yet, they spend 80% of their time cleaning up the data before they can analyze it. You're paying a business analyst pay to do what its admin really could do from the cleanup standpoint. What if, instead, I showed you the cool thing that Excel that's already in there that you've already paid for, but you just don't know how to use it. And now that cleanup is automated. They might have to invest an hour to get it set up, but they were already investing that time every day, month, week, whatever that was. And the next time they go to do it, they just hit the refresh button. Wow. That's a big deal. Once they learned how to do it in that one thing that was super annoying, but either apply it to other stuff that they're working on, or they're the smartest guy in the room, and they want to show everybody at work, how cool they are.

Do you think that productivity piece can be trained into somebody is a, is that a, an acquired skill or what are your thoughts on that?

Well, so think about the different types of people. Maybe the innovators are the risk-takers versus the rule followers. And when we, again, go back to when it was a less mature employee, when someone would tell me not only what to do, but how to do it, and you'd follow the procedures manual, you didn't want to break it? You didn't want to take a risk, but at some point, in your career or in a role expectation, the idea of innovation and that expectation to think critically and create those shortcuts that starts to come. And some people have either been programmed that that's acceptable or not. part of my question is it's not just the people, and it's the culture within the organization that says, not only do it this one way

You bring up a really good point because we do a ton of work with DISC, the personality profiling. And I can tell you, Jennifer, that there are people, let's again, say we have a team of 20 people, and there are people on that team that are naturally risk-averse. They wake up without wanting to take risks. They're not right or wrong, good or bad. That's just how they're built right now. Then you have these people that are kind of natural rule-breakers, like you said. If we walk into an organization where you walk into an organization and use the word innovation, their brains are like, Oh, no, not more change. We just barely are getting the programs and tools now. There are these personalities rightly, so that really resists that. How do you work through that on your end to try and ease that, ease them into it, ease that pain? Are there any methods that you found that have been successful?

Well, so we have the pain of not wanting to change. We also have the pain of boring work, repetitive work, and things that they consider a pain in the neck that they don't want to remember how to do. That's a pain point as well. I don't solve to say, Hey, let's go be cool and innovate. I solve for the pain points. And I'll ask people in a workshop, bring me your ugliest thing, bring me the thing that you hate doing that takes the most time. And let's solve for that. And let's make it a couple of steps easier because then when they're doing it with me, rather than me doing it to them, or for them, they're like, Oh, and here's what happens. Their eyes light up because they get it. And then I see them literally roll into their back of the head just a little bit. And they're like mentally calculating how much time they could have saved over the last, how many years if they would've known this one thing sooner.

That's funny. Now me on the opposite side, the high deed results-oriented person; my eyes roll back because they think hot. Great. Another thing I got to learn so when you have those people that are resistant to change, not for change because they see it at the end. It's great. But it's like, I don't have the time to invest in that. How do you work with those people?

Well, again, it's really just, it's, it's not creating more time. It's just shuffling their time, and I really am passionate about doing worthwhile work. And for a high D is about trying to get results. Again, go back to that business analyst case. You don't want to spend 80% of your time cleaning it up. You're going to spend the 20% doing the analysis, so that's, again, I'll sell it to them, and you're going to have more time to do the thing you love to do. And you're not going to have to worry about the stuff that you really, that was a required part of your routine.

And I'm assuming in 2020, that productivity has probably really you, you saw, I think about this time last year where it felt like there was just a 20, 20 was going to be a breakthrough year. It was going to be just a real solid push forward and new directions. Suddenly, we have this interesting opportunity happened, and there must have been like a drop, but now I feel like it's coming back up. Are you still working with many people who work from home from a productivity perspective, trying to provide help for them?

Absolutely. When organizations had people start doing remote work, there were so many organizations that had paper processes in place, and they had to figure out new opportunities for that. And my first question is, what tools do you already have that you're using that you're successful at? Again, I love tech, I'm a bit of a nerd, but I don't want to throw that into the newest, greatest, latest thing that could cost them time to learn and money to invest in. once I know what they have, if they're using the Google suite, let's go down that path and talk about how could you process this map? How could you process map this in a Google situation or into the Microsoft situation? What devices do you have available to you? Not everybody even has printers at home. We can't assume that kind of stuff anymore.

You sell the products as well, or do you just train once people have it or where's your involved,

So that's a great question. The people who sell the products sell and support, and they are licensed ease, or they provide the license. I don't, that gives me a lot of agility. I don't have to be married to one platform. In many cases, you can go into organizations, and they're going to give you the curriculum that they want you to do, which is good. But I really like having my freedom to adjust. Again, I go right for solving the problem, rather than here's the beginner course. What do your people need to learn to help them be better at this before leaving my class today?

Here's how to turn on the computer step one. You talked about the double screen as a productivity saver. What other tools have you seen, or what other things am I missing? What are some things you'd ask me or share with the audience that might help them improve their productivity in the office?

Well, I think part of it goes to how, how much stuff are we really trying to manage at one time? The other thing to assume is like, we're not like I would assume naturally that people are like me and I know they're not so same kind of thing. I don't want to assume, but I typically have 20 plus browser windows open or tabs open at one time because my brain says, Oh, I should look at this. for example, I have the positive polarity podcast open on Amazon because I didn't realize it was there. And I'm like, Oh, that's fascinating. All these tabs get open. One of my tools that I love for this, and there's a free version of it. It's called Workana. And it's an extension for Firefox that I could actually say, Oh, when I'm going to work on this project, bring up these tabs. And it really helps me keep all my tabs in order because, especially if you're doing virtual meetings, all that stuff open slows you down.

20 is probably about a little on the high side for me, but I'm used to the same way where I have all these tabs open. Because I see a shiny little object and I'm like, oh my gosh, look at that. And then an email comes in, and then I jump on that. And I know productivity-wise, there are some opportunities that I have to work on improving that. Do you encourage people that have that much open? Do you not encourage it? Do you not care? What's your thought process on that?

Again, let's go back to like what our basic styles are? There are some people who that's going to be really distracting to them. That's going to be like that squirrel moment for other people. They're really good at focusing. But one of the tools that go across both outlook for your desktop, or g-mail now I'll say, I will say, I'm going to give you the preface. I don't speak Mac very well. For our listeners on Mac, some of these may still apply to you; you'd have to check them out. There's a tool that you can add and guess what it has the option to pause your inbox. And if you're the person who's getting all these notifications floating across your screen while you're trying to focus and get something else done, you can use boomerang to pause your inbox.

And I teach it overcoming inbox, overwhelm class. And one of those things for artists to think about is that when you get a notification, a ding or your cursor changes, or it flies across your screen or whatever, anytime a new message comes in, that is a distraction. It's like when the F when you're sitting at your desk and the phone rings, or somebody knocks on your door or pops their head over the cubicle and you lose focus, and then it takes you a while to get it back. We encourage people to actually check for new messages less frequently. How many times a day do you check for new messages? As soon as I see the little envelope down on the bottom, I Don man, I'm there? You could try turning that notification off and then just make it a plan and a habit to go in and check for new messages. X number of times a day, some productivity gurus say only twice a day. I won't say that, but I'd like to say if you can check it twice in the morning and then twice towards the end of the day for new stuff, that doesn't mean you're not working an email doing the work you need to do, but you're not taking new stuff in.

When I do time management training for people, one of the big things that I've been working on is turning your email off. If you're not in that, because I, I can Jennifer not click that button for the life of me. It's like, don't think of a purple elephant right now, whatever you do, don't think of a purple elephant. And there it is, this purple elephant. So I'm assuming something like boomerang, it helps you along that path than exactly. That's pretty cool. And so again, you get more control over what's taking up your attention. For example, even on my mobile device, I don't have any notifications, nothing that shows me the little number of unread messages. Gosh, nothing that shows me my notifications on Facebook, because to meet my habit would then be, Ooh, I sometimes feel like I'm an eighth-grade girl running for the landline phone back in the old days to wonder who's calling.

Thinking about when you said mobile phone, I'm like, okay, I look at mine, and across the bottom, you see one call, two texts, and 39 emails? There's like a natural propensity to go and dig that out from a time management perspective. I'm trying to get it to where I put on my calendar, return emails, returned voicemails. I'm trying to do that because that will definitely help. But boy, I'm like, there's an addiction here? That it's like part of its justified. I want to be real about it because somebody might need something right now. That's really important. If my wife's out and stuck somewhere, obviously, and I'm saying, Hey, I'm time managing, call back in three hours. It doesn't end well. Some of the research showing how long it takes you to get back into that mindset is like there's your productivity and figure it out, how much you make per hour per week, per month, per year. That's a pretty easy sell to people, I would think.

Absolutely. It's us having control over these things. So just like whether you're in Gmail or outlook, you can put rules on your messages. And in outlook, if I have a lot of people who say, oh my gosh, this sounds great. Except if my boss emails me, they need my attention right away. Same things like with your wife, well guess what, you can make exceptions, don't make a rule for the exception, make, make a rule and have an exception? There are all sorts of things that you can do. And I actually try to divert as many things out of my inbox and into what I call a working folder as possible because the inbox is where a lot of clutter lands. But if instead, Dave, every client that you had, so this is an important relationship. For every client you had, you set up a rule that they go right to a client inbox. Oh my gosh. How cool is that? Now you only, when you want to do client work, you're going to your client inbox, and you don't worry about the clutter.

And it helps with. It really helps to manage your subscriptions. The other thing is part of is a business owner. I want to be responsive to my customers. I want to be responsive to people who might be my customer, but I'm also a trainer of this stuff. I have to be good about that as well. Tell people how you do things. There have been examples that I've seen that say. I check my email at 11 and 3. I'll return your call. I'll return it. Then if it's more urgent than that, call my assistant or just call me and say, and just putting that into some autoresponders or in your signature or whatever that is. Then if you say that's what you're going to do. And then that's what you do. You're training people how to communicate with you.

Yes. I had one guy, Jennifer, that had three different times, and one was like 4:12 PM. it was like just off the chart, and I'm like, man, if this guy is like micromanaging his life to the minute, then I'm going to be like, Oh, because I'm kind of going to be the opposite. It'd be interesting to see how that works. So unreal, unroll dot M E. Is this a spot now? Where a lot is this stuff free or how does this, do they have, how did this,

I know work on it is free. I have the free version of that. I think I'm using; I think enrolled at me was free. I think that they're gathering data on enrolled at me, like, what are people unsubscribing to? There's value in that. I also think it's shocking to see how many things we're actually subscribing to when we just placed an order, and they place you on a list. It really brings some awareness to that.

It's interesting because recently Apple and again, I don't know anything about what I'm about to say other than it happened to me Apple, for whatever reason, I woke up one morning and, on my phone, it said, click here. If you want to have all like spam, immediately go to voicemail because I don't know about you, but my phone rings like crazy, and it's all local numbers, and it looks like, so I'm like, Oh, is this a potential client? Is this an exit? And it's like, I better answer this. And then you get that little delay, and then so there's just stuff all over the place. Is there a central location of productivity savers that you're aware of at all? Or how do you find out about all this stuff?

I find out a bit about it by talking to other nerds. But no, I haven't found a central hub for that stuff.

I'm working on my next book called business, blind spots. And it's like, we don't know what we don't know because we have this blind spot. And that's where I think people like you and I come in, and it's awesome that you are available like that. Walk me through how that works for somebody that might be interested in learning more about this. They might be going, oh my gosh, I got 10 people, 20 103, whatever, and I want to improve their productivity. What does that path look like for them to get to you?

Absolutely. the best easiest way to reach out is to either email me or go to my website and fill out a contact form there. My team can get back to you and move that forward. But we really, we really start to solve with a needs analysis of what is the biggest pain point. And then we go in and solve that. And then we look for incremental success. I do not believe in a full-day training class, whether you're live or virtual, because I need people to take the steps. And again, this is about change. I need people to take the step, try it, succeed or fail, and then try again and then come back with some lessons, and then I can help support. A lot of our training models include me delivering content, giving them a couple of days or a week to try it, and then coming back and saying, okay, how did it go and doing a live Q and a webinar with them to work through and doing it as a group because they learn from the group and they're creating that community.

And when you said that, tell me your biggest pain. I don't know what my biggest pain is. I'm assuming that you kind of help us uncover some things because, again, the blind spot to me is, I don't know what I don't know. Is that part of this discovery program with you is to kind of unpack that with the owner so that we can kind of really get a solid next step list?

Absolutely. Because while you probably may not know the actual problem, you do have a vision for what you want to be, so it's better or different or just what your optimal operating solution is. And we've just worked backward from there, but here's my, my it's not an upcoming book, but it's my new position that I'm trying to get my white paper ready for because transformational technical training takes translation. And what I mean by that is that people don't know what they don't know. They don't know what questions to ask. What did they learn? What questions to ask him to go get an answer. They don't know how to translate it back to how to apply it to what they do. And that's what a technical expert can do is we can help figure out what you don't know that can make you better help what questions to ask. And then, once you've learned it, how do you apply it to what you're doing? It makes a huge difference.

And I think so for somebody listening, and I know that it was very intimidating when I was first exposed to you and your company because technology and I don't get along. I mean, just, I want to click one button for on-off one button for volume. You know what, I don't need to understand all this other stuff that's going on, on anything, computer, any of this, there's just me. But normally, entrepreneurs probably have a similar vein like that. Jennifer does a great job of simplifying it to the point where it is bite-size nuggets that we can work with. Just a simple two-screen versus one screen that's a $200 investment on your side, if I can't even say how many times my two screens have paid off for me over the years of doing this.

As you work with Jennifer, I think you're going to notice that piece, and that's what's so cool about it. And I appreciate you sharing some of this stuff with us. I want to change into the virtual event situation for a little bit because for people I remember. I was in the same spot you were in a year ago, I'm planning 2020, and I'm planning what parts of the country I'm going to speak in what events I'm going to be at what companies I'm going to go to and things like that. And then the brakes go on, and I'm thinking to myself, there's no way in the world that I'm going to be able to do any of this zoom thing is dumb.

I can't train, I can't coach, I can't mentor anybody like this. I opted to stay with what I'm doing, which hopefully works out. But it's funny because in this respect, does virtually rent took on a whole new opportunity that has never been here before. Help me understand, and their listeners help them understand what do you do in that situation? How, how are you helping businesses with their virtual events?

Absolutely. I agree, gosh, darn it. When the trigger got pulled back in March, I was scheduled to be in Europe twice for like the global Excel summit and things like that. I totally was in mourning with you about how everything had to shift, but I was also familiar with virtual platforms. Whether it was using zoom or teams or go to meeting or WebEx or whatever, having been in this training space for a long time, I've done all of that. And what I found is I was getting calls really quick from local nonprofits to some of my clients saying, okay, get us up to speed as quick as we can. I'm not just how to do this, but the how to do it well. And some organizations were early adopters, some that took a little longer, some that figured it out as they went along trial and error.

And I think we're now at the next phase of that, which is, we're probably doing this for another four to six months. How do we do it better? Or the events that I thought we were going to just do live in February are now going to have to be virtual? How do we run those? I've been through, though some of my work, I've been out screening a lot of different event platforms. I'm a person that you can have a conversation with. I don't just recommend this is the best event platform. I say, what are you trying to achieve in your event? And then, okay, what do you already have? Can you use that again, trying to save that money and leverage your investment? And then, if you do need to make a different investment, what are some ways that I can help you find the right way to get into that new platform? We can then talk about how you engage your participants or how do you deliver the material? And if necessary, I come on board, and I help with the production, and I run the chat, run breakout rooms, or run any of those things that, so the person on stage can shine and do what they're great at. And I handle the behind the scenes.

Thinking about some of the events that I've been at, where I'm the keynote or the spot, whatever I'm speaking and part of it, whatever. And somebody is manning the controls. To speak way better than when I put on my own events, because I put on my own monthly events and like, I'm the one, Oh, I got to let somebody else in. Oh, I got a question. There's a huge difference between those two. You would come alongside me in that respect, and then man, the chatbox or a woman, the chatbots in this way you would, you would be involved in that chunk of it for people saw. That's really cool because

I'veThe event platforms have hired me, and keynotes have hired me because they want, so it goes both ways. And it works well because then I can help, like the next keynote that I'm helping with, we've gone through her whole script. We've looked at what, where should I share a screen? Where can you make that interactive? What are the things that I want to have pre-written for a chat to make sure that we have a good engagement? there's a whole show production plan that goes along with the speech at then you just sit back and do it through, supposed to do and be

Oh, it's such a difference when I know like when I'm working for an association, and I know that there are two people on there taken everything off of my plate, all I have to do is just concentrate, as you said on the content because it's so hard to be talking like this right now. And then, all of a sudden, at the bottom of the screen, there's a question, or there's a comment or someone can hear or dogs barking. The fun things that go on zoom calls nowadays are just crazy, but you know that's awesome. I don't know of anybody else that's doing that. Is that something kind of new and unique that you just pivoted for 2020?

It's funny. I think I kind of did it as a voluntary thing in many cases, then all of a sudden, people are like, you can get paid for that. So that was good.

I've just started seeing some virtual assistants out talking about their new role.

I was super skeptical at the beginning of this thing, Jennifer thinking, there's no way that this zoom thing will work. But boy, as I now probably on this for hundreds of hours by now this year, it's just becoming so easy to do. And quite frankly, I have clients all over the country, so I'm thinking to myself, I'm like this flying into West Virginia, let's say, and spend a day with them on leadership training. You invest the day before to fly in the day. The day after to get home, this is a three-day deal two and a half to three-day deal. And now I can do this in eight hours plus a little bit more, but it's crazy how you look at its productivity kind of skyrockets through this. I don't see going away. Do you?

No. But if they did want you to come in for just that one-hour meeting in West Virginia, how much you're going to charge for that. Because you know that you don't have to leave your home for,

Exactly. That's kind of funny too because it went from like three days to one day. They're thinking, well, it should be like a third of the cost or half, or the training doesn't change, you know I'm interested in asking you a question because it plays into this because of what I struggle with right now is like a group setting. I do sales advantage round tables, and we have them throughout the country. Is that being that concept catching on where you kind of have breakouts and then come back in at a later date?

Absolutely. the breakout rooms are useful, but what we're starting to find is people are getting a little bit zoomed out and have different ways to engage people. I've have amped up my certifications over this time, including becoming a certified virtual presenter. And part of that is using different techniques to engage in that they want every eight to 15 minutes. Suppose that's a face talking versus the PowerPoint slide versus an engagement activity versus a chat question. In that case, things have to be changed up much more swiftly in the online training environment because people's attention span will just diminish.

Boy doing it in person. It was fun because, like, for me, I would use, I'm like at sixth-grade education for myself. I traveled with Mr. Potato, had I traveled with my magic eight ball. I travel with things that you're able to utilize and kind of break up that because you're Whe look atgenda and see a 75-minute chunk or 90-minute chunk of talking about employee engagement, let's say whatever. It's like, Oh my go. I don't know if I can do this. But as the kind of the word gets out that, Hey, it's fun. It's we throw stuff around. The more that you do in person is great, but you can't do that virtually. You have to come up with creative ways to do that. I think the polls are good breakout rooms. Are there any other things that you're seeing that people are using that, that you have tips for us that would help?

I'll actually provide a link in our show notes. I actually have developed a PowerPoint deck that I use that I call just engagement activities. And I take it outside of zoom because not everybody's using zoom for all of their things. Like you might do your training, but if you did it for four different organizations, you might be on four different platforms. So why wouldn't you have something outside of zoom? And this is the tool that will, if annotation works, and then I have like a matrix in there where people could like say where they are in the matrix. Like, if you put your disc profiles, you could actually have something where each person marks where they are on the screen. That's cool. And it's visual, or I have like a rating scale. Like how are you feeling today? And they put the rating scale.

This is just a prebuilt package that I have from PowerPoint. That, and again, I'll share the link. It's just a different way to engage and not be stuck with a specific platform for it. As you said, they think, okay, well, you've traveled, and you're here in person, and now you can just stay home and do it online. That's a huge shift in how we deliver that content. And it requires a whole different energy to keep that engagement up. And I will tell you to deliver in a webinar format where I can't see any eyes or deliver in a format where there is no chat. There's no interaction at all. Honestly, I really don't want to do many of those anymore. It has to be for a really specific reason. I will not guarantee my effectiveness. That's it. When I train technically, I actually had it set up to share my screen and still see all my participants. And I tell them, keep your cameras on. Because I'm watching because if you miss something or if I go too fast or if you need an instant replay, I can watch your facial expression and see that and be like, Hey, should I go over that again?

Yeah, it's crazy. How many people like to have their names on? And they don't put, I mean even we just did something not too long ago, I co co-hosted something. And we even asked, please put on your video, and it's still half the people at least didn't do it. And when you see this kind of the whole screen of all these people, and you're just like, wow, this is really hard to I don't know about you, but for me when I speak in a group if I find two or three people that are, I feel like they're engaged. Because why always do as before the event starts and they're in the room, and people are filing in? I'm watching the people that are talking to the talkers. I walk up to them, introduce myself and say, what the heck are you guys doing here, man?

And if they take that in a positive way, I know that I can use them. I find out their name, and then we're interacting because I have to hone in on those people to keep that energy flowing. Boy, it's hard to do that virtually. I don't know if you have any, if you've seen anything successful to do that, or if you do the same thing and you just hone in on a few, couple people that are engaged, what are you, what do you tend to do?

Especially because I have to care about the people who aren't getting it, as much as I'm watching the people who are, and I encourage them to post their stuff in chat, I'm looking for the people, don't get it, who like who their eyes are going all over the screen and are they just like they're staring? And they're just, I'm like, Oh, I need to do them, and I'm that's what I have to focus on, and I'm guilty of it myself. I'm not going to be critical here. If I expect someone to just be talking at me, my camera's going off because I'm zoning. I'm half-listening, and I get it, but it's, it's real. When I'm going to big events, it takes a lot of energy to be on camera. And we get it from both sides of it and

Wow, well, I'm super stoked to hear that the virtual event piece. Just for my own events, I'm sure that I'm going to connect with you and learn more about that because I'm at that spot where I really want to understand the next level of these events because they're becoming more and more popular. Now people have to pick and choose at the time when this first started, there was such a, like a thirst because nobody could touch each other, And so it was like, wow, there's a, there's a networking event virtually I'm on this well now it's everybody's doing virtual Christmas parties. We did virtual music bingo once with like six or eight couples where one person was making the music, and then you'd create your, and we'd send them out ahead of time.

It was fun, but it turned into a cocktail event more than anything on a Friday night. Nothing wrong with that. And it was just kind of fun to do. People are trying to; we're trying to find different ways now. It seems that I see a little bit of ease and opening up of some events, but it'll be interesting to see how much virtual stays moving forward. Thanks for sharing those. As we start to come in for a landing, I want to ask you if, when you think about productivity, are there any big hitters? Are there any that are like, just, they always rise to the top? If somebody had a chance to spend a couple of minutes with you on an airplane, are there things that just automatically for you just boom, you, you, you start with right there? Is there anything that, from that perspective that you can think of,

I really would go back to that idea of boomerang, the idea that you can pause your inbox and you control your time as it relates to turning off the notifications, those really, for many people that just becomes this like freedom, but then they can concentrate on what they're supposed to be focused on.

Do you ever do like the virtual? Like if I said, Hey, can you, Jennifer, can you just set this up for me where you virtually jump on my computer and set that stuff up? Are you at that spot where you're offering that type of service, or are you more training people? And then they do it on their own.

I would do it with you, but not just from a security standpoint. And every month right now, we are offering an ask me anything. I jumped on mine for a live one-hour session once a month. From my website, you can just look for, ask me anything. We'll put it in the show notes, but that's a way that if you want to jump on during that time and get some quick, one-on-one help. That's one of our community services events right now.



The Positive Polarity Podcast

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