Most of my work is done remotely already. My courses and webinars are online and my coaching is by telephone (have a look and see what is available on the website if you’re interested but that’s not the purpose of this email).
Some businesses are already using Zoom or something similar but here are a few tips for those just starting.
- Log in beforehand and play with the software
- Test camera
- Test microphone
- Log in 5 minutes beforehand and check camera and microphone
- Keep mic on mute when not speaking
- Minimise background noise by closing your door and bribing any children. If you’re likely to struggle with bandwidth while working from home then ensure that nobody else is streaming videos or music
- Software picks up sound from one speaker at a time (your background noise may force the main speaker onto mute)
- Dress appropriately for the meeting. Dress codes may be less formal when working from home but think about what you’re wearing for your meeting.
- Remember that you can be seen even when not speaking
To be professional:
- Place your camera at a flattering angle. Slightly above you is best. If you are looking down into the camera you may provide an excellent view of your nostrils and multiple chins
- Have good lighting on your face. Cheap photographic lights will do the job but experiment with what you already have
- Make sure that your background is tidy. Green screen effects may be fun but they’re not great coping if the “edges” of your head/hair move and are fairly disastrous with curly hair like mine
- An external mic will give much better sound quality. Being close to you it cuts out background noise more efficiently
- An external camera may be better than your laptop one but start with the lighting.
I’m going to make some slots available to help people tweak their set up and have a play online so let me know if you’d like a 30 minute session this week. So far I’ve helped a professional speaker, my Spanish teacher and a piano teacher to try to keep their businesses going by moving to online.
Masterminds can be really good. I belong to one for my speaking. We are all at about the same stage in our speaking careers but with different business models. At the moment we are all learning and sharing what does and doesn’t work and why. It is really helpful and costs nothing, but we don’t have all the answers and we all have a long way to go.
But I’ve just been selected to speak at a very prestigious event later this year (more later when I’m allowed to talk about it) which could really make my speaking career. None of my peers have the experience to help me. So I’m about to invest several thousand pounds in a speaking coach who will help me to refine both my content and my delivery to make the most of this 30 minute opportunity.
So, whilst masterminds can help with regular, day to day support it still takes an experienced coach/mentor to push on towards excellence.
As the business owner you are expected to look after everybody else from clients to staff and even fill in and unblock the drains if required. But who looks after you? As a nursing mother I remember being told to look after myself or I wouldn’t be able to look after my baby. Sometimes what feels selfish isn’t selfish so here are a few ideas for looking after number one.
- Make sure that you’re eating properly. Even when busy try to stick to healthy snacks. Working from home I try to make sure that I plan my lunch in the morning so that I have no excuse to drift down to the fish and chip shop.
- Get a good night’s sleep. I don’t know about you but I can’t function without sleep. Driving when tired can be as dangerous as driving after a few drinks.
- Get some fresh air each day and whatever passes for sunshine. There’s vitamin D to be had as well as just feeling good. Even if it’s just a walk around the block in your wellies (rubber boots for any non-Brits reading) and waterproofs.
- Have a hobby and make time for it. These should bring you peace and joy or just a distraction. I have a season ticket for Bristol City which isn’t always joyous but certainly stops me thinking about work when I have to focus on willing the ball into the opposition’s net.
- Build in rest days. Especially if you’re an introvert who needs to recover from the energy expended in social interactions. I try to book a day off after any conference although it’s easier said than done.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. People are probably not looking at you as much as you think they are.
- Forgive yourself your mistakes. Yes, spend time putting it right and working out how to prevent it happening again but, after that, put it back into its box.
- Learn from your mistakes. If we’re going to make them we may as well get some benefit.
- Forgive others. Why wouldn’t you?
- Take risks and don’t fear failure. See points 6-8.
- There is a season for all things. It is ok to move on when things are no longer working for you.
- Value people above things. Easy for somebody who moved house every 6 months and so has minimal possessions but do focus on the people in your life.
- Help others but don’t be a doormat. It is ok to say “no”.
- Celebrate your successes. It will help you to remember them in moments of self-doubt. I keep a list of all my successes for when I feel that wave of Imposter Syndrome.
- Don’t worry what people think about you. As long as your conscience is clear you don’t necessarily have to justify your words or actions.
- Be yourself. If you’re young you may still be figuring this one out but don’t worry, that’s normal.
- Learn how to argue properly. Listen as well as speak and be prepared to change your mind.
- Surround yourself with good people who will encourage you to be your best self.
- Surround yourself with good people but understand that they probably have weaknesses too, you just can’t see them
- Feel free to break these rules. Just because people put me on a stage doesn’t mean that I’m always right!