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3 Ways to Feel More Fulfilled in Business

3 Ways to Feel More Fulfilled in Business
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    A few nights ago, my husband handed me a book he thought I might be interested in reading. It was a book that even just three years ago, I would’ve loved to dig into. An autobiography of one of the great businessmen of this century, a look into how the greats got it done.

    Who would ever want to pass that up?

    Well, I passed it up in a heartbeat.

    A couple of years ago, I read a couple of those biographical business books, and I loved them all. Learning the business lingo was exhilarating, but the best part was always learning about the person’s personal life.

    Wow, they had a childhood, too! They really started as a janitor? They struggled as common-folk?

    It was all very enlightening — it even made me feel like I had a chance at doing something great in this world. If they could do it, why couldn’t I?

    Except I always was sorely disappointed when the details of the same great businessmen’s personal lives turned more shoddy than I expected. Divorces, cheating, inflated egos, ridiculous promo sponsorships, and more.

    As my husband handed me the book, I read the front cover.

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    I turned to him and said,

    “Isn’t it awesome that businesspeople nowadays are programmed differently? They’re following passion, not necessarily a quick buck. Maybe it’s their purpose that has made them inherently better people? Maybe its more transparency in a digital world?”

    I handed the book right back. It’s great to learn from the greats and our elders, but for some reason, I’ve decided to spend more time learning how its done now — by people who have made it in this new world of users over money.

    Leaders have changed. No matter the reason, it is awesome.

    Maybe you agree with me or not. Maybe you know some really money-hungry businesspeople.

    I think we all know that kind of person. The great thing is — we don’t want to be like them.

    I actually believe that. And there may be absolutely no hard evidence to prove that purpose-driven business people today are better human beings than the fortune-seekers of yore, but I believe it.

    I believe it because I’m living it.

    I know a lot of people out there making gazillions of dollars, sitting in their gold-laden high-rise apartments and drinking substances that cost more than what I make in a month.

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    Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. 

    But I also know tons of people sitting in coffee shops, working hard, developing their killer ideas, and loving every minute of it. Even if they make less than any corporate job would afford them.

    Sure, some passion-fueled entrepreneurs make great money — but that isn’t a bad thing. Passion and money don’t have to be completely separate. In my opinion, combining them is more the goal, no?

    What does this mean for the world?

    Whether you believe it or not, things in the world are a-changin’. What I read in a recent New York Times article struck a chord. It said that kids nowadays are being born with a more clear view of what is essential.

    I bet kids don’t think big board rooms and expense accounts are “essential”. I think they never did.

    What’s changing is that kids are maintaining their view of what is essential. As we all grow up, we are taking our priorities with us.

    No way I’d take an expense account over the freedom and flexibility to spend Mother’s Day with my mommy (which I did this year).

    But we’re clear on the fact that, in order to keep a lifestyle that is flexible and fun, our work has to be sustainable, as well. If our priorities are straight, it’s not about racking up the beans — it’s about having enough beans to continue doing what we love how we love to do it.

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    How do we make passion sustainable?

    In my case, I love to write. My goal is to make my writing sustainable — to make enough money through my writing to allow myself to write more and more every day. If I make my passion sustainable, I can dedicate more time to it — without going hungry, of course.

    Here are some tips that have led me along my path to sustainability, and made me feel more fulfilled in business in the process:

    1. Write down what makes you curious and excited.

    Being aware of yourself and your emotions sounds corny and trite, but we all have something more to learn about ourselves. Do the world a favor, and take note of what truly drives you most.

    When you think back to the last few months, which experiences stand out the most? What was the last thing you did that made you throw your arms up in the air with accomplishment? What activities feel exhilarating and fun?

    More importantly, when you have free time, what is the first thing you turn to —the computer, a notebook, videos, music, friends, family, etc?

    2. Be as useful as possible.

    Passion and curiosity is important, but so is making your work useful. Without being useful, there’s little chance people will want to, well, pay you for it.

    You’re useful to people as long as you are one step ahead of them. If you know one tiny bit more than they do on what they need, you’re useful and can make that help sustainable.

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    3. Make sure everyone knows it.

    Once you know what you love to do and once you have made yourself useful to them, they have to know you exist. The best way to do that is to analyze this:

    When people think of your industry or your niche, are you among the top 10 people they think of?

    Becoming top of mind is the most important. Keep yourself aiming for that goal, and you won’t falter.

    I haven’t yet found my way to becoming this kind of sustainable new business person, but I am trying. Every unconventional step I take gets me one inch closer to sustainability, to success, to inspiring others along the way.

    It’s hard, but it’s been exhilarating and so worth it.

    While business will always deal with money, new types of leaders are emerging that put meaning and passion over just paying the bills. What’s your take on this new type of business leader? Do you recognize them around you, in your workplaces and in your social circles?

    If you aren’t one already, would you like to be?

    (Photo credit: Thumbs up via Shutterstock)

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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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