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7 Of The Greatest Career Lessons We Learn Too Late

7 Of The Greatest Career Lessons We Learn Too Late
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    “If I had the experience I now have, I would’ve acted differently back then.”

    How many times have you thought that? We usually have those regrets when thinking about relationships. However, we can also translate them to professional success. When we are young and inexperienced, we tend to make mistakes we later regret. That’s because we haven’t learned the most valuable lessons.

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    Shannon McDaniel, a career expert working for Careers Booster, has an important piece of advice to give: “First, learn and gain some experience. Then, you can take important actions. I recently read a book by an author who is a completely anonymous, but was trying to convince everyone he was a PR expert. Why? If he was successful enough, we would recognize his value and he wouldn’t have the need to brag about his exceptional virtues. My only thought was: ‘too soon!’ He wrote the book too soon. He’ll learn the lesson sooner or later: you first get the experience, then you share it.”

    What are some lessons we usually learn too late? If we know them, maybe we’ll prevent the regrets we’d have about them later. Here are 7 career pearls of wisdom that usually require more time for processing:

    1. You Have No Time to Waste On a Job You Don’t Like

    When we’re young and we need a job, we’re willing to take any job. That’s a mistake. We are wasting our time working just for the money and we’re not getting any valuable experience in return. This investment, or lack thereof, results not only with a waste of time, but with a waste of nerves and patience as well.

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    • Don’t like your job? You thought it would be temporary, but you ended up spending years in the same office? Here’s a drastic solution: quit! There’s no progress without risks.[1]
    • If you really have to work just for the money and you’re not ready to quit just yet, then try to learn as much as possible while you’re there. Analyze the industry. Try to make progress within that company. Take part in different projects. Take online courses! Do anything to spend your time in a way that gives something back.

    “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

    2. Mind Your Health

    This is the hardest lesson to learn. When you’re after great career success, you don’t mind working until you’re completely exhausted. You want more money, more success, more everything. You’re not concerned about your health. It takes a large hit from life for you to start thinking: “I should’ve been more mindful about being healthy.”

    • Don’t wait for that moment of realization. Without your health, you can’t reach ultimate success.
    • Stay fit. When your body is healthy, your mind is more focused.[2]
    • Eat well. Instead of ordering a pizza when working late, make yourself a healthy meal. It doesn’t take a huge investment of money and time to change your eating habits. You’ll get tons of benefits in return.

    3. The World is Worth Experiencing

    The progress in any profession comes with a lot of work. Life is what happens outside that frame. Your job is an important part of your life, but it’s not your life.

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    • Never skip the holidays and vacations, no matter how much work you have. If you have so much work that there’s no time for a vacation, then you’re doing something wrong.
    • Get more space for yourself and your family. Otherwise, you’ll regret being too committed to a single aspect of life while missing everything else that’s worth living for.

    4. Social Networking Matters

    You might think that Facebook is wasting your time. It is, if all you’re doing is scrolling down the feed looking for time-wasting updates. If you’re using social networks for making valuable connections and building your online reputation, they are not a waste of time.

    • Become an authority! Comment on important updates and share your opinions on crucial events and trends related to your industry.
    • Connect with people from your job market. Nurture those connections; they will help you become more successful.

    5. Learning Matters

    All industries are changing with the speed of light. Technology influences the way we work and it’s constantly making progress. We have to keep learning so we’ll never lag behind. However, our learning potential shouldn’t be limited to mastering new technologies. There’s a whole world of knowledge waiting for us to explore.

    • Find the time for an online course.[3] Pick something you’re really interested in. Even better: pick something that’s not related to your profession. That’s how you’ll expand your viewpoints.

    6. Blogging Matters, Too

    Don’t be one of those people who will grow old with the thought, “I should’ve blogged.” You have tons of stories to share. Speak up! The blog can help you cement your status as an expert in your niche.

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    • Build a blog with a precise posting schedule.[4] Find out what your target audience wants to know and answer their questions. Help them solve problems. Be useful for the community! That’s how you’ll leave a trace in the online world.

    7. You’ll Make More Progress With The Right Team

    You can make progress alone. No one can deny that. You can hire people when you need support, but you’re not obligated to keep them in the long-term. If you’re too attached to an employee even though they are not doing the best job, you don’t have to fire them. However, both of these extremes make you weaker than you could really be.

    • Teamwork makes you stronger. Always try to make your team better and more effective.
    • If there’s a weak link, you either replace it or you do something to make that worker better.

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

    Why wait to grow old to learn the most valuable career lessons? If you get these things on time, you’ll have nothing to regret when you’re experienced enough to reflect. Stay smart, strong, and persistent! That’s the most important lesson to learn.

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    Featured photo credit: NIIT via niit.com

    Reference

    [1] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237092
    [2] http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit/
    [3] http://www.bestcollegereviews.org/50-top-online-learning-sites/
    [4] http://coschedule.com/blog/plan-a-blog-schedule/

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    Eva Wislow

    Career Coach

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    Published on July 27, 2021

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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    During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

    But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

    Put the Pro in Professional

    After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

    1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

    The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

    Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

    2. Dress the Part

    While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

    Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

    For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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    Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

    3. Stage Your Workspace

    Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

    Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

    4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

    Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

    Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

    Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

    Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

    5. Arrive on Time

    In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

    Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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    6. Turn on Your Video

    Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

    If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

    Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

    7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

    Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

    Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

    Attend to the Pesky Details

    8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

    With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

    Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

    9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

    Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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    Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

    10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

    As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

    Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

    Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

    Talking Has a Time and a Place

    11. Chat Appropriately

    Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

    At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

    12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

    The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

    Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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    13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

    In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

    Manage Yourself

    14. Minimize Distractions

    While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

    Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

    15. Save Snacking for Later

    Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

    However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

    Final Thoughts

    Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

    Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

    Reference

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