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Digital Nomad: 10 Things He Does Differently

Digital Nomad: 10 Things He Does Differently
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For the past 4 years, I’ve been living like a digital nomad: working from coffee shops, on my laptop, no fixed hours, no boss. Before that, I was an online entrepreneur, building‒and successfully selling‒vertical portals, in niches like car industry or cooking.

Living “off the grid”‒without fixed hours, without an office and any imposed schedule to respect‒has its perks, no doubt about it. But it also has its fair share of responsibilities. All in all, I confess it’s a beautiful journey. Unfortunately, very few people know what it takes to be a digital nomad. So, let’s see a few things a digital nomad does differently from the rest of the world.

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1. A Digital Nomad Makes Friends Before And After Going To The Toilet

Yep, I saw that smile on your face. It’s ok. Let me tell you how it works: you’re in a coffee shop, had 2-3 cup of tea so far, and you really need to go to the toilet. What do you do with your laptop? Well, you ask someone nicely to take care of it while you’re out there, fighting your own fights. In 4 years, I never had a single “no” for an answer. Even more, I made friends with almost 50% of the people I talked to this way. It may sound like a strange situation, but, believe it or not, people love to care about other people. True story.

2. He Travels Lighter

And I mean, WAY lighter. Most of the time, when I travel in a different country, I have only 2 bags: a backpack for the laptop, and a very small bag‒which some airlines may even consider a carry on‒and that’s that. I learned how to take advantage of whatever I find at the place of destination. If I need clothes, I just buy the minimum from a local shop. It goes the same with shoes, or anything else you may imagine you need to properly function in a given society. To be honest, the most precious belongings are my laptop and my phone, because that’s how I make a living.

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3. A Digital Nomad Immediately Sees All The Power Outlets In A Given Room

It’s a skill. After you work in random places for more than a year, and your work involves powering up a laptop, you kind of learn how to immediately identify all the power outlets in a given room. It may not win you points if you’re at a party, but it can surely save your ass if you’re in between flights, in an airport, and you have to turn in some work in the next two hours.

4. He’s More Disciplined Than The Average Employee

If you work in a normal structure, you have a boss. Or you report to someone. Or you have to do something in a certain way; otherwise somebody will fire you. Well, if you work for yourself, you don’t have that. You’re your own boss. You have to be really tough on yourself to actually get up from bed, go out, get that coffee and start working. Being a digital nomad is not a walk in the park, although it may seem like it from afar. But the good news is that discipline is good for you, in the long term, regardless of how you choose to work‒as a digital nomad or otherwise.

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5. He Smiles More Than You

Let me tell you a secret: the best thing to do when you’re in a foreign country and you are unfamiliar with the native spoken language is to just smile. But do it openly, honestly and cross your fingers. It will amaze you how people around you are doing their best to support you. You’re also free to do the opposite, like frowning, and see what happens. I did both and, believe me, smiling works better all the time.

6. A Digital Nomad Has More Friends Than You

When you work from coffee shops for a few months in a row, you end up making friends with the regulars of that place. Period. And if you do this with a few coffee shops for three to four years, you end up with a tremendous number of people you know and are close to. So, if you’re a digital nomad, your friends circle is likely to be an order of magnitude higher than the average Joe, which is kinda neat.

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7. His Income Is More Or Less Passive

As a digital nomad, you have to maintain a decent work / life balance. Because, in a way, your life is your work. Maintaining a fluid lifestyle, ready for everything, at any given time, means you have to have some safety cushion. So, you may do work for clients, but, in order to make sure you’re not going to be stuck for months in a foreign country because you have no money for the plane ticket, you first grow a layer of passive income. And that’s also kinda neat.

8. He Is A Part Of The “Immediocracy”

“Immediocracy” is a term I coined myself (I guess) and it basically means: “the power of the immediate, of the now.” From taking advantages of instant opportunities, to getting to know first about important events, this new breed of influencers have the ability to always be connected, through social media, mostly, to the most intimate mechanisms of our modern society. If you have to rent parts of your time during the day‒like being an employee‒you can’t really understand this new type of freedom.

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9. He’s Healthier Than You

“Nomad” means “always moving.” So, just by the mere fact that these guys are always moving, something better happens to them at the physical level. Diversity is a very good thing. Being it the diversity of the places you live in, or the diversity you get by choosing each day a different work place, you get to experience a lot of it, as a digital nomad. You walk more. You see more. You experience more. So, you build up a better immune system.

10. He Manages His Fears Better Than You

Being a digital nomad is not easier, nor simpler than living a regular corporate life. The mere act of “jumping in” takes a lot of courage, not to mention the amount of self control and discipline needed to actually keep this lifestyle going on is int. But once you’re on that train, once you’re past this fear of being “lost” and once you’re actually making a living, you just realize your “courage” muscles have just been upgraded. And you’re ready to tackle challenges you never ever though of before. And that’s a very, very good thing.

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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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