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10 Kinds of Toxic Persons that Will Poison A Good Business

10 Kinds of Toxic Persons that Will Poison A Good Business
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In order to run a successful business, you need a strong team. Your team doesn’t just mean employees. It could be investors, suppliers, or other stakeholders in your company. Every person that comes in contact with your business has the ability to affect it in some way. The goal is to keep as many positive and helpful people around your business as possible, and to eliminate the negativity.

Even if we don’t want to admit it, the people we hang around with have a significant impact on us. One study showed that each positive person you let into your “circle” increases your chances of being positive by 11%. And just as quickly as a positive person can improve your corporate culture, a Negative Nancy can bring down team morale as well.

Now, it’s up to you to determine if each member of your business is contributing positivity and good vibes, or if they’re actually a toxic piece that has to be removed. Here are 10 types of people who are bringing your business down.

1. The people who feel entitled

There’s nothing worse than someone who feels entitled to everything. Working hard and feeling as though you deserve the rewards you earn is a good thing. Failing to contribute to the business, and not working towards growth, but expecting to reap the rewards of the business’ success however, is an entirely different story.

These are the people who will perform mediocre work, or just enough to keep their job, then will cause a ruckus when it’s time for bonuses to be given or raises to be distributed, wondering why they didn’t get more. You’ll always be the bad guy in their eyes.

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2. The people who agree to everything

Yes Men. It’s human nature to want to be praised and congratulated. Having people tell you how good your ideas are is a great feeling, but having people tell you the truth will have a much better effect on your business.

You need to have people you can go to who will give you honest, well thought out advice on your ideas and business decisions. The problem with yes men is that they’re going to tell you whatever you want to hear, no matter how bad it is. You could pitch them your idea to open up a tattoo parlor for toddlers, and they’d be 100% on board.

3. The people who always have their hands out

As your business starts to grow, you’ll undoubtedly attract people who ask you for favors. Whether it’s your time or money, they’ll always want something from you, but typically offer nothing in return. It might start off seeming innocent enough. Can I borrow a couple of dollars to hold me over until next month? But six months later when they’re still asking you for money, or to do them one “small” favor, you’ll realize that you’re being taken advantage of.

You’ve worked too hard to get to where you are to give it all away for free. Helping people out is fine, but don’t become a permanent lifeline.

4. The people who promise you the world

Being in business, you’re probably very accustomed to the world of selling. But every now and then, you’re bound to come across a few people who will make you wonderful promises of doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling your revenues and expanding your business beyond belief.

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So you’re excited. It sounds great! But nine times out of ten, it’s just hype to get you to buy into something that’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

5. The people with no follow-through

Some people are great at generating ideas and being creative. But when it comes to executing those ideas, they’re completely lost. That’s where you come in. They get you to invest your resources to push their idea. But after a while, they realize it’s not something they want to pursue and you’re left with a burden on your shoulders that has taken your focus away from your own business.

If someone pitches you an idea, triple check to make sure they’re the real deal and are invested in making it work. If they don’t show the same passion and drive for their business ideas as you have for yours, then it’s probably not going to end well for either of you.

6. The people who shoot down your dreams

Just as yes men can be toxic to your business, someone who constantly shoots down all of your hopes and dreams can be equally damaging. Constructive criticism is helpful, but if someone is completely ragging on every idea you have, that means one of two things:

  1. All of your ideas are awful (very unlikely)
  2. They’re putting you down for their own personal reasons

There will always be people who tell you that you can’t be successful. The secret to success is ignoring the noise, and staying focused on making your business work.

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7. The people who hate their job

Do you have employees that you know hate being there? They come in unexcited, they always leave at 5:00 PM on the dot, and show no interest in furthering their career with your company. It may sound cruel, but sometimes the best thing you can do in this situation is to let them go.

Why? Because sooner or later their attitude will spread to other employees. They’ll constantly complain about being underpaid, problems they have with the company, and other issues they have. Before you know it, your company is filled with people who don’t want to be there and aren’t working their hardest like Peter Gibbons.

8. The people who love drama

Unless you want your business to be made into a soap opera, stay away from people who can’t seem to avoid drama. A little bit of office gossip is normal, but when it starts to affect people’s ability to work productively and be cohesive, the problem needs to be addressed.

9. The people who bring the wrong kind of attention

I’m not sure what it is, but some people just seem prone to negative publicity. No matter where they go, they always seem to leave a bad taste for everyone they come in contact with. You don’t want your business to become attached to people who have a bad reputation or are synonymous with trouble.

Whether it’s an investor that was tied up in a horrible scandal, or a high level executive that can’t seem to stop getting arrested, sometimes it’s best to just cut your business ties altogether.

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10. The people who try to change your vision

When you started your business, you had a vision of what it would be. You have your mission statement, your branding, and have even thought about what type of corporate culture you want. But as your business grows, you’ll have different people try to alter that vision and transform what your company is all about.

A little bit of change is OK, but doing a complete 180 from what you intended can have a very bad impact. For one, there’s a good chance that you’ve built up a customer base and clientele that chose your company because of its foundation. Stay true to your overall vision and be authentic. Don’t let others deter your company from its essence.

The key is to keep as many positive people around your business as possible, and cut off any of these toxic ones. Have you had any run-ins with any of these toxic persons?

Featured photo credit: Man on smart phone – young business man in airport. Businessman using smartphone inside office building or airport. via shutterstock.com

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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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