Friday, February 6, 2009

Make An Impact in 99 Seconds!

Next week, I'm speaking twice at the Training Magazine 2009 conference in Atlanta, GA. My first session is the normal one hour event, and I'll speak on leadership in a virtual global workplace. The second event is called Virtual Communication: Is It For Real? and must only last for 99 seconds! Naturally, I've struggled more with the 99 second presentation than with the 60 minute one.

And so, the gist of what I'll say in just over a minute and a half is as follows:

Can virtual communication be real? By real, I mean is the result shared understandings across distances and cultures. I believe it can be, but we need to pay attention to four factors:

Regularity: We must create a communication heart beat. With regular and frequent communications we support the development of human connectivity, not just technological connectivity.

Explicitness: We must make the invisible visible, and the unspoken spoken. Distance creates many blind spots in our understandings. Clear, precise communication is a must, but so to are deep questioning and dialogue to uncover differences in assumptions and meanings.

Alignment: We must select technologies based on our objectives, not for their convenience or familiarity. Align the tool with the need. Relying on e-mail alone might help you exchange lots of information,but doesn't do an awful lot in helping you win hearts and minds.

Language: We must be vigilent in making sure we are speaking the same language, even if we are speaking the same language. What does 'keep me posted' mean to you, and what does it mean to me?

So, when virtual, think REAL.

I feel sure that's over 99 seconds. What are they going to do? Drag me off the stage kicking and screaming! Actually, I think that was mentioned in the invite e-mail.

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