5 Tips for Active Listening on Zoom

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021|

Yes, we are in a Zoom (insert Microsoft teams, Google Meet, etc.) world and distractions are aplenty. Whether you are interviewing or conducting a team meeting, it’s imperative to be present and connect.

Between notifications for email and Slack,  phone calls, LinkedIn posts, tweets, and so on, digital communication is at an all-time high and, this all-time high requires true listening. Today active listening is a skill that too often gets lost in a sea of technological noise.

We can all improve our active listening skills in a few easy steps and in the process build better relationships, resolve conflicts, and understand issues, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. 

Here are 5 tips to help develop our active listening skills while on Zoom: 

  1. Quiet Your Mind. Quieting the mind before a meeting is critical for being present without thinking ahead to say next or trying to problem solve. This is key to active listening!  Before a meeting starts, turn off other notifications, close your eyes, and take three deeps breaths.  Turn on Zoom and you are ready to go.
  2. Maintain eye contact. Have the speaker on speaker view.  If it’s distracting to see yourself, hide your own view. When possible stand while you are conducting your meeting.  You’ll find that your voice may project better and you’ll be more present.
  3. Be empathetic. The soul of active listening is empathy. If the person you’re listening to is sad, happy, fearful, or angry in your conversation, place yourself in their shoes. Repeat back what they just said. Use statements such as “Let me make sure I understand or let me make sure I heard you correctly”. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarity.  
  4. Stay Curious and stay out of judgment.   Ask questions for clarity vs. for problem-solving.  
  5. Look for nonverbal cues. Their cadence, tone of voice, and body language can offer a lot of information. Look for small signs of nervousness, enthusiasm, or anxiety in their mannerisms, gestures, and posture to help determine how they really feel. 

The digital meeting space is here to stay.  Even when we can be together again in person, many companies have shifted to a remote environment. These 5 tips can help develop our active listening skills while on Zoom and create greater connections.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 582nd issue of our weekly a.blog.

New Hire Welcome Kit: Why They are Important & How to Create Them

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020|

There are many facets to creating a successful onboarding process that truly welcomes and integrates your new hire. One of the best ways to make a positive, lasting first impression is by creating a new hire welcome kit. It may seem like a simple gesture, however, the thought behind is impactful.  A mug with your company’s logo or a personally crafted introductory note goes further than you might think.

In its simplest form, a welcome kit shows your new hire that you care about them. It acknowledges their presence as a new member of your team and alleviates first day jitters. Beginning a job can feel overwhelming, so getting an extra special introduction makes your new hire feel appreciated even before they step foot in the office. 

So what goes into a welcome kit? 

The short answer: anything you want that exemplifies your company culture and spirit. In general, welcome kits have office supplies or company “swag” like mugs or notebooks with the company’s logo on the front. They can also include supplies necessary for the job, such as headphones, a camera, and, if possible, an electronic device like a laptop or Kindle. 

If your company is known for a certain aesthetic, a creative welcome kit would reflect that. If you have a more playful or laidback company culture, throw in some quirky surprises like a puzzle or toys for their desk.  Or if your company has a foodie culture, consider a personalized gourmet box from boxperience to add some flavor to their first day.

In the same regard, your welcome kit is an opportunity to introduce your company itself and the expectations you have of your new hire. They are a great way to get the onboarding process going because you can provide a welcome packet with the necessary basic information a new hire might want to know, such as an outline of rules and regulations, important contacts, and FAQs. They are also a fantastic way to tell your company’s story, share your company core values, and get your new employee invested in the culture that defines you. 

To ensure your new employee receives a warm welcome, personalize your welcome kit! One of the best ways to do this is by including a handwritten note. It shows you care just that much more. Another great way to personalize your welcome kit is by putting your new hire’s name on some of the items you are giving them. By doing so, you are directly acknowledging them and giving your welcome kit that extra personalized touch. 

It is the little things that count. You want your new hire to feel that you are just as excited about having them on your team as they are about being on your team.  Providing your new hire with the necessary tools and personalized attention helps foster a smooth transition and is a great way to welcome them to the company.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 568th issue of our a.blog.

Best Practices For Managing A Remote Team

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019|

With communication technology steadily improving and facilitating easier exchanges of information across points around the globe, the world is getting flatter, and the workplace is becoming more location-independent. Remote work is on the rise, and will likely become even more popular as time goes on.

Managers should be ready to facilitate success for remote workers and teams. If you aren’t currently managing a remote team, there’s an increasingly good chance you will in the future. You may find that, in some cases, remote teams can work better together and achieve even greater success than traditional, on-site workplaces.

At Artisan Creative, our team has worked remotely for many years, and we wouldn’t change a thing. Here are some of the ideas that we use to help remote teams, including our own, stay on track to success.

Treat Team Members Similarly, Whether On-site or Off-site

Managing off-site workers is not a unique discipline unto itself. The core principles that govern effective management of on-site teams apply just as well when some or all of your team is working remotely, although you may need some minor adjustments. Likewise, remote team members should be treated no differently from those in the office. Everyone should know they are working together toward common goals.

Be Proactive

The most significant difference in effectively managing remote teams is that, when you don’t have the same ability to constantly observe what is going on, a more proactive approach to management may better serve your needs as well as those of your team. According to the Harvard Business Review, “managers must put in extra effort to cultivate a positive team dynamic and ensure remote workers feel connected to other colleagues.” When you’re not present physically, you may need to be more deliberately present in other, equally important respects.

Set Crystal Clear Expectations

When managing remote teams, make sure all requirements and expectations are made obvious and apparent, starting with onboarding and continuing in earnest every day thereafter. When colleagues don’t occupy the same physical space, it can be easier for misunderstandings to arise and for nuance to be lost. You can prevent this when you emphasize clear communication at every step, making sure every important message is received and understood. The right project management software is crucial for ongoing communication and collaboration.

Foster Bonding

Just because remote teams don’t share office space doesn’t mean they can’t have fun together and bond as a group. As a manager, you can support team cohesion by encouraging virtual friendship. This can range from group brainstorming to team building activities, all of which can be enhanced through certain features of collaboration apps and other such software solutions.

Meet In Person When Possible

If you can, arrange for your team to get together in person, preferably at predictable intervals, whether to strategize and get creative as a group, work on important projects, or simply get to know each other better. This will add some depth to your virtual interactions, make your teamwork feel more cohesive, and let remote team members know they are important and appreciated.

Managing remote teams is an increasingly important business skill, one of many we can help you develop as we work together to build the workplace of the future. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more about 21st Century teamwork and discover our secret recipes for digital business success.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed the 536th issue of our a.blog.