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Best Consulting Firm: VP Legacies Named Top Consulting Firm by DesignRush

Best Consulting Firm: VP Legacies Named Top Consulting Firm by DesignRush 983 607 VP Legacies

men and women holding trophy best consulting firmWe are pleased to announce that we have been named one of the top 25 consulting firms by DesignRush for 2019.

DesignRush ranks and reviews consulting firms from around the country and around the world. The winning firms vary by company size, rates, portfolio, review, and location.

According to DesignRush, the best consulting forms “create custom strategies to improve management, better employee satisfaction, and increase business growth.” These firms also strengthen processes through operations and logistics assistance, marketing campaign guidance, accounting advice and more.

VP Legacies’ online courses help thousands of people worldwide build meaningful relationships every day, including at work. When it comes to considering a consulting firm for your projects, you want one that will best help you enhance your business strategy and grow your business. 

Top Consulting Firms Enhance Business Strategy

The best consulting services take the time to help clients enhance business strategy, offering specialized expertise that caters exactly to their needs and business growth goals. These tools include:

  • Information technology to implement certain programs or systems
  • Marketing to gather competitor analysis, detailed audits, market share information, and business and demographic data to advice on possible ventures
  • Human resources to assist with improving employees relations by defining employment terms, facilitating change in upper management, talent management, and career growth
  • Financial services for revenue-related services to keep your business safe

What to look for in a consulting firm

While there are a number of consulting firms out there, top consulting firms differentiate themselves in how it treats its customers, accessibility, and more. A few factors to consider are:

  • Are they an effective partner? Top consulting companies promote both the quality and expertise in a true partnership, committed to generating results.
  • Do they have a global presence? Business success in the modern world means becoming a global brand, able to the necessary insight and unique perspective to expand operations into new territories
  • Are they digital savvy? Today’s top firms know how to meet the demands of the digital consumer and implement technology to improve business performance.
  • Do they focus on results? The best consulting firms put their clients first, helping them to achieve specific and measurable goals
  • Do they serve multiple industries? The consulting firm you choose must have experience in your industry, giving you insight on the challenges companies in that industry face to offer strategies to uncover solutions

Related: Benefits of Sporting Events as a Team-Building and Personal Connection Tool

Features of top consulting companies

people in open workplace consulting firmA top consulting company is more than just the services they offer; they are about the characteristics, work ethic, and personality they bring to the table. A few key features of top firms are:

  • The experience and expertise necessary to take on the job you’ve hired them to do
  • A proven track record to ensure that your project gets effectively
  • Creative thinking to come up with innovative ideas to meet the challenges specific to your project
  • Communication skills to make sure goals are met, challenges are communicated, and issues are resolved
  • Leadership to take the lead in order to finish the project in a timely and efficient manner

Why VP Legacies?

VP Legacies is a premier personal connection and content creation firm in Denver that helps its clients create a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect. We want to help not only clients engage externally, but internally to increase employee retention and customer loyalty.

We see storytelling as the key to personal connection, as we are expert storytellers with a process empowering you to truly personally connect with our clients’ audiences. The power in our ability to create personal connection is unending and immeasurable, which has allowed us to grow our business values and processes.

Related: Monochronic vs. Polychronic Cultures: What are The Differences?

Powered by personal connection

By way building trust, sharing story details, and embracing emotions, we help our clients develop personal connection with their employees and customers. We believe that open communication develops rapport, which in turn, builds trust. This trust empowers you to share your story—and its details—with others. Once a story is told, it produces emotion, which ultimately enables you to personally connect by embracing it.

When it comes down to it, we utilize consulting, capturing, editing, and educating services to achieve your employee and customer engagement, education, and experience goals.

Additionally, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality of service to our clients. This includes transparent communication, timeliness of delivery, a high-quality end product, and a strong client relationship. With these characteristics, we are able to go above and beyond for our clients.

When working with VP Legacies, you are paying for these factors and how they treat your individual project. You get a company that takes the time to really get to know its clients and goes above and beyond to create videos of the highest quality for its clients.

Your story matters, so let us help you tell your story.


Have you wanted to learn how to change strangers into friends, friends into best friends and create a personal connection with anyone?

man and woman office romance

How to handle a personal relationship at work?

How to handle a personal relationship at work? 512 341 VP Legacies

man and woman office romanceWorkplace relationships tend to be a relatively taboo subject that few people openly discuss. But they are definitely a reality, and we all must know the rights and wrongs when it comes to workplace relationships. If you’re considering engaging in a workplace romance, you need to be fully aware of their potential perks and pitfalls. This will allow you to make informed decisions when it comes to engaging or rejecting them. 

Our personal connection program is built to help highly driven young professionals navigate and develop their relationship with themselves and others inside and outside of work.

To help you along the way, here’s everything you need to know about handling a personal relationship at work.

Related: How to Start an Interesting Conversation to Make Friends

Are Workplace Relationships Common?

First, let’s take a look at just how common workplace relationships are. You’re not likely to get a whole lot of honest or accurate information on the topic simply by discussing the concept of workplace relationships with colleagues. After all, the information that spreads around is usually rumors. Sometimes, people will never find out about relationships that are taking place because those involved are discreet. Instead, it’s best to take a look at professional studies that have been conducted in the area. Here are some interesting results that show the status of workplace relationships in the modern-day.

  • Vault.com found that 58% of employees have engaged in some sort of romantic relationship with a colleague.
  • Almost half of the employees don’t know their company’s policies regarding workplace romance – this could be because these policies don’t exist in the first place or because they’re not effectively communicated.
  • Almost one in five employees have cheated on their partner with someone from work – 19% of employees admitted to cheating on their partner with a colleague. In contrast, a much larger 44% say they are aware of colleagues who have had affairs at work or during business trips.
  • Most workplace couples keep their relationship a secret around 64% of employees who are engaging in a romantic relationship with a colleague will not tell others about this, instead choosing to keep things under the radar.
  • Three in four people would consider engaging in a workplace romance – 72% of people surveyed would consider participating in a workplace romance should the opportunity arise.

A Note on Workplace Relationships

office romance at work

Before we get any further into our discussion of workplace relationships, it’s essential to note that any workplace relationship has to be consensual between both parties – as with any other relationship. Never assume that you can act romantically with any of your coworkers. This means you should not talk to them in a sexual or intimate tone without given consent. Show respect for others’ personal boundaries and always ask for outright permission to act in any way other than professionally. Remember that people may be polite or lenient to avoid tension in the workplace. You shouldn’t rely on a protest or someone overtly saying “no” to advances. Without clear consent and permission, you may actually be harassing someone.

Related: How To Avoid Transactional Relationships at Work

Helping a Workplace Relationship Work

There are several steps you can take to help drive a consensual workplace relationship in the right direction. These are just a few that you might like to consider.

Taking a Course

Any relationships at work can benefit from a VP Legacies course. These courses aim to help you build meaningful relationships with those around you. They’ll offer guidance on how to foster meaningful conversations and connections.

Be Aware of Potential Legal Repercussions

Legal repercussions can vary depending on where you live. For example, in many countries, personal relationships between any colleagues are deemed completely fine. In others, specific relationships are punishable through fines, imprisonment, or even death. Make sure to be familiar with the regulations in place in the country you’re working in – especially if you’re working overseas where you may be unfamiliar with common law and practice.

Check the Policies of the Company You’re Working For

Many companies have regulations in place when it comes to relationships between colleagues. It’s always worth checking your company’s policies, so you don’t find yourself in breach of them. If there are rules in place that forbid employees from being in relationships, you need to evaluate whether this relationship is worth one of you leaving your role and working somewhere else.

Consider Whether the Relationship is Appropriate

Even if there is consent between both parties, you need to determine whether the relationship is appropriate. For example, a senior figure within a company engaging in a relationship with someone in a junior rank can be deemed problematic due to the inherent power imbalance between the two individuals.

Remain Professional in the Workplace

If everything’s going smoothly and you and your colleague are in a working relationship, it’s essential to remain professional in the workplace. It’s generally best to avoid public displays of affection, and it could be deemed extremely unprofessional to bring personal issues into your professional day – for example, continuing a personal argument within the workplace. It’s also vital that you avoid showing your partner preferential treatment above other colleagues. This can cause issues, as people may begin to feel unfairly treated, and this can result in feelings of resentment which are never productive in a professional environment.

What Can We Say About Personal Relationships at Work?

three people working on laptops

As you can see, personal relationships in the workplace tend to fall into a relatively grey area. Some would say to avoid them at all costs. Others are in happy marriages with their colleagues and wouldn’t change a thing in the world. Only you can determine what’s best for you. However, to better improve this situation, an online personal connection course can help you maintain a healthy relationship at work. 

 Hopefully, the above information has helped you make more informed decisions if you do decide to go ahead with a workplace romance!


Have you wanted to learn how to change strangers into friends, friends into best friends and create a personal connection with anyone?

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How to Communicate with employees during the coronavirus pandemic

How to Communicate with employees during the coronavirus pandemic 1600 1067 VP Legacies

The Challenge of Communicating Remotely 

A recent study from Harvard Business Review showed that 69% of managers are not comfortable communicating with their employees and 57% of employees feel they are not given clear directions at work. This is quite a high number considering the amount of technologies available to us. One would assume that with so many communication tools at our disposal–smartphones, text messaging, e-mail, WiFi, social media–effective communication in the workplace should be a breeze. But it’s apparent that simply having those tools isn’t enough.

Perhaps fostering our work relationships also means learning how to use technology in a way that serves our professional needs. Here at VP Legacies, we recognize the challenges that come with working remotely and are providing you with free, live shows to help foster communication.  In today’s post, we’ll share our best practices for maintaining communication with your employees during the current global pandemic.

Why is it important to communicate with employees during a pandemic or other crisis?

Two people with laptops in meeting

Effective communication in the workplace is what makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. In most workplaces, team members are distinguished by varying levels of skill, experience, and expertise. They are further divided by different responsibilities, duties, and tasks. 

Without clear intentions and clarity of expectation from team leaders, even the most devoted and hardworking team members can easily spin off track. Thus, communication can be seen as the glue that keeps a team working together, even as they accomplish their own separate tasks. It’s up to team leaders, department managers, and company executives to establish a culture of transparency and communication so that the company can benefit as a whole.

Related: Working from Home: Tips to Stay Engaged and Connected

6 Steps to Effective Communication with Employees During a Pandemic

Person working on laptop computer with notebook

Technology affords us a multitude of ways to communicate with employees even while working remotely during the pandemic. But as we hinted above, merely downloading the right apps isn’t enough to create a culture of meaningful communication amongst your team. How can we use our tools and resources to increase the quality of communication with our employees? 

1. Establishing Clear Goals

 we recommend establishing clear goals for each encounter. This allows you to express to employees or team members why you’re contacting them and what you hope to accomplish. Getting everyone on board from the outset of the conversation will help you focus the direction of the meeting. 

2. Share Your Thoughts

 Share your thoughts on the topic at hand and how discussing this topic is beneficial to a particular project or to the company as a whole.This establishes a level of transparency on your part, thereby encouraging others to be transparent as well. It’s also a way to remind employees that you’re prioritizing the company and starts the conversation off with a positive tone.

3. Leave Room for Employee Feedback

Open up discussion to receive feedback, suggestions, and observations from your employees. Recognize the value of your employees’ points of view and let them know you’re considering their needs and expectations. Communication is a two-way street so this step is important if you’re serious about connecting with your employees.

4. Prepare to Follow Up

If necessary, make plans for following up on any ongoing topics or addressing suggestions made by you or others. This shows your employees that you want to continue to communicate with them and also expresses that you care about their feedback.

5. Be Thankful to your Employees

 Thank your employee or employees for their time. This gesture of respect and gratitude will keep communication lines open and help your employees feel appreciated for their efforts.

6. Keep Records

 keep a record of your communication so that you’ll remember what you talked about when you communicate with employees again. The record will also be helpful for keeping minutes of meetings that you’ll share with your employees.

These steps can be used for an entire conversation or you can repeat the first three steps throughout if you’re handling multiple items during a meeting. Let’s take a closer look at how we can apply these steps to remote communication with your employees.

Related: 8 Tips for Effective Communication Online

Using Technology for Remote Employee Communication

Technology being used for employee communication

 

Phone

 The phone has been a tool for communication for much longer than any of the other technologies on our list. Even so, it’s easy to become complacent and resort to picking up the phone and rattling off a list of to-dos. In the meantime, all of your best intentions to improve workplace communications are quickly forgotten.

Instead of catching your employees off guard, set up a time to talk on the phone through text message or email (whichever is more appropriate in the context of your workplace). Let them know ahead of time what you want to discuss and your goals for the phone call. This gives them some time to prepare any documentation you’ll be discussing and to consider any suggestions they want to share with you regarding the topic to be discussed.

Once you’re on the call, be sure to share your own thoughts on the topic at hand and why you think this call is necessary. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are experiencing stress about a certain task, be sure to use your words in a non-threatening manner. Remember, the ultimate goal is figuring out together what is best for your project or company.

Don’t forget to invite suggestions or comments from your employee. Show sincere interest in the employee’s experience of what they’re working on and take note of what they share with you. Finally, ask the employee what they need to complete the task and whether they feel fully equipped to do so.

End your call with an expression of appreciation and be sure to save your notes. You can reference them on future calls with the employee and you’ll be even more prepared the next time around.

Email

Computer screen with email page 

Email is a pleasant and professional way of communicating with employees. Be sure to follow email etiquette whenever sending correspondence to your staff. Opening communications with a personable greeting and using the employee’s name is advisable (example: “Hi Tim…”).

Explain why you’re emailing and what you hope to accomplish. Next, share your thoughts on the progress of the task at hand and what you think would benefit the project or company. Then invite the employee to share their suggestions or thoughts on the topic. 

Finally, sign off with a gesture of gratitude (example: “Thanks for your help on this project”). Send a follow-up email if you find there are more topics to discuss later on or you want to continue discussing a particular topic. Save your email thread so that you’ll have it as a record of communication.

Related: How to Maintain Real Connections With Your Professional Network

Video Conference

Person using Skype on smartphone

Video conference applications have become increasingly popular in the past few months as workplaces strive to find ways to stay connected while practicing social distancing. Apps such as Google Hangout, Zoom, and Skype allow businesses to conduct group work meetings even while employees are working from home.

Plan a video conference by scheduling a conference date and time with your employees. You can give them advance notice of what you’ll be discussing through email or any work messaging system you’re currently using. Doing so will allow employees to prepare any documents, presentations, or work product they’d like to discuss on the day of the video conference. If there is anything you’d like employees to see during the online meeting, be sure to email it to the group before the conference starts so they have time to review it.

Start the video meeting off by introducing any new members of the team and expressing what you’d like to accomplish during the meeting. This is a good time to list multiple meeting items so that everyone is up to date. Next, bring up each meeting item, updating your employees on the progress of that task and what you’re hoping to accomplish by the next meeting. Invite the team to share any recommendations or observations for accomplishing that task. 

Once each meeting item has been addressed, open up discussion with your employees as to whether they feel the goals of this meeting have been accomplished. Discuss any ongoing topics that you’ll be addressing in future meetings and whether there’s anything you or your team need to follow up on. Thank your employees for their time, energy, and contributions. If you or anyone else at the meeting has taken minutes or recorded the meeting items, email this out later in the day so that everyone has a record of what was discussed.

Clear Communication Will Ensure the Health of your Business

Woman using a laptop

Let’s recap the six steps to clear remote communication:

  1. Establish clear goals and objectives of the conversation or meeting.
  2. Share your thoughts on the meeting item or topic and discuss why addressing this item is beneficial to the company.
  3. Invite employees to share their comments, suggestions, experiences, and observations regarding the topic.
  4. If necessary, plan to follow up on any ongoing items or suggestions/concerns.
  5. Thank your employees for their time.
  6. Keep a record of the encounter and send out meeting minutes, if any.

Creating an environment of clear and open communication in the workplace is important to the health of your business. Even while working remotely, strong team leaders can take this opportunity to boost morale and foster growth by prioritizing meaningful connections with employees. With the help of modern technology and our six steps to effective remote communication, you can continue to accomplish important tasks and build team culture through the pandemic.

Take this time to advance your communication skills to the next level. VP Legacies is currently offering a free course to help others like you improve their soft skills and maintain important connections during this time of isolation. Check out How To Personally Connect in the Midst a Global Pandemic, live daily on Instagram and Facebook.

Related: Implications of Technology for Personal Connection


Have you wanted to learn how to change strangers into friends, friends into best friends and create a personal connection with anyone?

Benefits of Sporting Events as a Team-Building and Personal Connection Tool

Benefits of Sporting Events as a Team-Building and Personal Connection Tool 2048 1536 VP Legacies

A team that works well together is a team that brings results. Therefore, promoting sporting events as a team-building and personal connection tool will help produce the results every company is after.

Often times, especially when businesses become larger and the number of employees increases, the effectiveness of teamwork tends to decrease. This happens because the connections with new coworkers are not as strong. 

Additionally, the time to dedicate to each person becomes progressively less and less. Eventually, you end up with a weaker network between team members and a low performing division.

At this point, most of us think that this is just how things go, but what is often overlooked is that problem solving and group work are like muscles. They can, and should, be trained and used to create personal connections.

We have a lot of personal connections in our lives. There’s our family. Then there’s our friends. But one important relationship out there that we often overlook is the bond we have with our coworkers and employees. These relationships often take a different approach, which VP Legacies discuss in our Personal Connection 101 course. 

But for now, let’s look at how sporting events can help you with team-building, personal connection, and increase the overall performance of your team. This is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic, since many offices have become remote. It may seem impossible to have the same connections with your coworkers when you can’t chat with them face-to-face or work together on a project, but with the right mindset and bonding experiences, you’ll find that your connections can be stronger than ever. Even from home. 

Use Sports as a Safe Training Environment for Your Employees

If teamwork can be trained, then we need a way to practice without hurting the company. Here friendly competitions come into play. Creating a safe environment where your employees can experiment is crucial to improve their performance. You will never have a better team if you don’t give them the opportunity to train.

By utilizing sports to practice teamwork, you allow your employees to train these skills in a new environment. This removes the frustration they might be feeling at the office for not performing well as a team. While playing sports, they will start to practice without fear of failure. This allows them to focus on a fun and social task at hand for experimentation. In the end, this helps build personal connection, communication skills and a better understanding of their capabilities.

Strengthen Team Cohesion Through Matches

Divide the different sections of your company into teams and organize tournaments of team sports (soccer, basketball, etc.). Each division will have to communicate, practice problem solving, and read the opponent to bring home the victory. 

This “group effort” will encourage everyone to work toward common goals and will build a sense of community. All aspects will be then transferred to their everyday life in the office. If you’re doing this from home, create a Slack channel for each “team” so they can strategize and bond together over the challenge and the tasks at hand. 

Build Healthy Competition to Improve Results

In addition, to enhance the performance of single teams, tournaments build a healthy competition that drive everyone to do better. After the event, a slight “game” atmosphere will remain, and the general quality of the work produced by the divisions will improve.

And don’t be afraid to offer rewards, whether it’s a fun activity or cash money. Nobody will ever complain about receiving a gift card. But to further build on these relationships, maybe offer a fun game night over Zoom for the winners (where winners of those games will get some type of prize). This creates an opportunity for coworkers to hang out together even when projects and deadlines are not involved, carrying over that sense of comradery into every-day work life. 

Using Soccer as an Example

Imagine that we have 30 employees: we can divide them into 6 teams of 5 people. At this point, we can start planning the tournament. Set up symbolic prizes for the first team and for the 3 best players (free lunch at the office or something similar). Randomize the order of the matches and that’s it.

You just set up a perfect environment for the creation of personal connection. Your employees will be forced to work as a team toward a common result and bond with each other= to win the prizes. Even if in a playful way, you are training their ability to perform better as a team.

Create a “safety net” for More Sustainability in the Long Run

Sporting activities, especially group ones, are perfect for connecting and creating relationships. Building connections in a slightly competitive environment will form deeper bonds faster, which will, realistically, perform better under pressure.

Related: How to Build a Strong Relationship with Yourself

Multiply this mechanism for all of your employees and you will end up with a network of strong and reliable personal connections.

This “safety network” is really the key to success when things get complicated in the office. Supporting each other during tough times helps everyone with their tasks and put effort into each project.

If you are aiming for long-term success, the sustainability of your team =makes a difference. A supportive system gives flexibility to the team and will allow it to maintain the same level of performance even if some members are going through difficult situations.

Sports, Team-building and Creating Personal Connection are Fun and Will Improve Office Culture 

Physical activity is ultimately just fun, and it will help you to spread joy among your employees and colleagues. Group activities that involve team play and physical exercise have been shown to lower stress levels and ease the tensions in the workplace. They promote a more relaxed and proactive attitude, which is the approach you are looking for in a team member.

For this reason, it is best practice to schedule different activities during the year. In this way, you will make sure to relieve stress levels and office tensions.=. In addition to this, you will encourage new entries to connect with their peers and become part of the community.

The benefits of using sporting events as a team-building tool are summarized below:

  • Create a safe environment for your employees to experiment and become better team members.
  • Remove any frustration or fear of failure, allowing them to concentrate only on working as well as possible together.
  • Promote a team-oriented mindset and encourage everyone to work toward a common goal as part of a community.
  • Encourage healthy competition in your own company, which will push every division to perform better.
  • Allow the formation of deep networks between your employees, that will support them during hard times and grant you a more stable performance over time.
  • Just give your workers a good time and help them to ease tensions in the workplace. A crucial part of long term success.

These kinds of bonding activities are especially important in the coming months, now that employees are remote. A chance to work together as a team, feel accomplished and rewarded, and even find ways to bond outside of projects, will keep your coworkers feeling connected even when they’re physically apart. 

A lot of people aren’t used to working remotely and could feel disconnected now that there’s nobody to say “hi” to in the office or no brainstorming sessions in the meeting room. But creating a vibe of teamwork and motivation will give everyone a new reason to bond with each other, even if it’s over Zoom calls instead. 

If you need even more motivation on how to maintain personal connections during the coronavirus pandemic, check out VP Legacies’ free course, How to Personally Connect in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

Green alarm clock with a pink and teal background

Monochronic vs. Polychronic cultures: What are The Differences?

Monochronic vs. Polychronic cultures: What are The Differences? 974 636 VP Legacies

At VP Legacies, we’ve tackled various aspects of employee communication from employee retention and best communication strategies. Tap into one of the most important elements of communication contributing to employee satisfaction – time.

In business, establishing a time culture is crucial to the success of the brand or product. To establish a time culture, a business owner needs to study the cultural differences of their environment and adapt accordingly. There are two primary “time cultures” from which to choose – and they permeate corporate culture in deep and intricate ways.

In general, a typical business owner belongs to either of two time cultures: Monochronic or polychronic.

 

Monochronism and Polychronism: What Does It All Mean?

 

To understand these two different time cultures and how they contrast, consider the following example at an airport.

A traveler becomes frustrated when the customs official takes too long to stamp their passport and help them pass through the body scanner. The official moves at a slow pace because other team members keep interrupting him, and his phone keeps ringing. The traveler wants the official to finish one task – stamping his passport – before moving on to the next. Instead, the official is trying to complete multiple tasks at once.

The traveler is a classic example of a monochronic person, and the official is polychronic.

The monochronic individual believes in finishing one task at a time. In their time culture, time is a valuable commodity that shouldn’t be wasted and sticking to one task at a time ensures that it’s well-managed. The monochronic culture schedules one event at a time in an orderly fashion.

In the polychronic culture, employees can work on several tasks simultaneously. Polychronic individuals thrive on carrying out more than one task at the same time as long as they can be executed together with a natural rhythm. For example, it’s perfectly natural for the official to stamp the passport and take a phone call at the same time because these tasks require different parts of the body and different levels of concentration. 

The critical difference between the two time cultures is that monochronic cultures value schedules, while polychronic cultures value interpersonal relationships. That is why a monochronic individual will have an alarm to wake up and other gadgets to help keep time. 

A polychronic person, on the other hand, will often rely on other people as time cues.

 

Can You Learn A Time Culture?

 

 

It’s certainly possible to acquire a new time orientation; however, it takes time and an open mind. According to research by the Havard Business Review, between 10 to 20 percent of American managers sent by their companies to work abroad had difficulty adjusting to local cultures and norms. 

Building a business in a predominantly polychronic or monochronic country may call for a business owner to learn a new time culture. A savvy business person must acclimate to the culture in order to thrive and stay sane. Becoming familiar with the time culture will help with the following –

  • Improve workplace communication
  • Save money and time
  • Manage expectations and deadlines, and
  • Build better business relations.

It may be difficult to adapt to a new time orientation because time holds different values and meanings in each culture. In polychronic cultures, the concept of time is fluid. On the other hand, the concept of time is precise. You can run a business that uses a combination of both approaches to time when applicable, as long as you maintain an open mind and keep everyone on the same page.

 

The Best Time Culture?

Cultural perception of time varies all over the world. In broad strokes, the “best” time culture depends on the location of the business and that location’s overall time personality. North American and North European countries are monochronic societies where business managers typically divide work schedules into sequential chunks.

Arab, African, South American and Asian countries are typically more accepting of changes in schedules because they are polychronic cultures. However, much of East Asia is a monochronic society.

 

Monochronic

To maintain a thriving business in a monochronic time culture, the company must emphasize the following elements.

 

1. Punctuality

 

 

Keeping time is essential for any stakeholder in a project. Not only does the staff arrive to work on time, but they arrive promptly to meetings with clients and other employees. In monochronistic cultures, employees know their schedule ahead of time and organize their week in advance.

 

2. One Activity at a Time

 

An employee must complete a current task before moving on to the next in a monochronic time system. This holds employees accountable for their time and enables managers to see more easily if employees are completing the necessary tasks. Monochronic time also ensures that employees finish tasks with a high degree of focus and little interruption.

Monochronic business workflows typically thrive using sprint-style setups, and fragmented time-keeping techniques or platforms.

 

3. Business Time Management Tools

 

Employees in a monochronic orientation must schedule every task in a calendar or daily planner with a detailed plan and allocated time for completion. Using these tools increases focus and efficiency while minimizing time wastage in projects. Investing in time management tools like Trello, Asana, and Scoro, among others, is crucial to completing tasks on time.

 

4. Short Term Relationships

 

 

 

The company expects every relationship between employees to serve the purpose of reaching an objective that one employee cannot meet alone. People in monochronistic cultures prefer engaging in short term connections for particular transactions. These relationships are sustained within a specified time frame and end when the business goal is met.

At VP Legacies, we discourage short-term relationships even in a monochronic work environment. By building strong relationships and fostering personal connection, you can develop rapport between employees and effective collaboration when necessary so that future tasks can be executed more efficiently.

Related: The Effect of Sleep on Your Relationships

 

5. Individual Accomplishment

 

Since managers assign particular tasks to each individual on a project, personal achievement becomes a primary goal in monochronic culture. Completing tasks within a given time frame and adhering to the culture of scheduled events indicates that an employee is performing well. Group work remains a part of every work environment, but for monochronistic companies, it’s only in the context of all individuals accomplishing specific project tasks on time.

As VP Legacies, we believe that individual accomplishment is important, but the contributions and impacts of a supporting team must also be valued and taken into account.

 

6. Hard Deadlines

 

Everyone must adhere to deadlines at all costs in a monochronic orientation. Meeting deadlines promptly shows that an employee is conscious of their clients’ time, as well as the busy lives of their fellow employees. Monochronistic culture encourages showing respect for other people’s schedules. There are more deadlines, so this method of working is primarily task oriented.

 

Polychronic

On the other hand, a company operating in a polychronic society is used to:

 

1. Human Interaction and Personal Connection

 

 

 

Human interaction and personal connection fosters a sense of belonging in the company. The employees will strive to accomplish their set tasks for the day while also allowing for interactions like borrowing office items or catching up on work or personal issues. Consistent flow of information among members of the team also means everyone knows each other’s tasks and can help where possible.

In a polychronic business culture, interaction is king.

 

2. Group Work

 

Working as a group takes the stress off individuals and makes room for multi-tasking. Polychronic organizations often employ a flat management structure, allowing (and often encouraging) workers to jump across their typical job function and contribute to supporting their peers.

 

3. A Holistic Approach

 

The success of a project is measured holistically, rather than on a task-by-task basis. With polychronic time, everyone pulls together to accomplish the tasks of the day, so an individual who completes their part will move on to help others. While tasks might take longer to complete, the more leisurely pace also contributes to the positive mental health of employees.

 

4. Flexibility

 

 

 

 

Time is flexible, and work merges with personal time. An employee may be working on a task while on the phone talking to another member of the team to share information. Does that mean the quality of work is compromised with polychronic time? Not necessarily, since employees usually multi-task when performing more mundane functions. When working on multiple, more complicated projects concurrently, they can go back and review their work.

 

5. High context communication

 

Polychronic people tend to communicate crucial information with a lot of accompanying background information. There is an emphasis on the tone of voice and visible communication cues like raising of eyebrows or clicking of the tongue. High context communication believes in sharing every bit of information. In the case of training, learning happens in groups as opposed to individual training.

 

6. Long term relationships

 

Whether they are between employees or with clients, long term relationships are crucial to the success of a business in polychronic societies. These relationships develop over time to foster trust and friendship, making it easier and less stressful to strike business deals. There is no specific time frame to create a relationship, which is why this is harder to do in a time-based, monochronic environment. In polychronic cultures, a clear objective can help expedite the growth of a positive business relationship.

Related: 3 Exercises to Feel More Present During a Conversation

 

The Monochronic and Polychronic Conflict

 

 

As globalization increases, businesses find themselves in culturally uncharted waters when they strive to break into new markets across the world. When opening offices abroad or becoming involved with international markets, business owners must adapt to different time culture practices.

The time culture conflict arises when companies begin to tap into the local workforce abroad, where standard employee practices differ. However, it is possible to have a predominant time culture and tap into the other as needed. To make a combination of polychronic and monochronic time work, a company should focus on the following:

  • Making no assumptions about business partners and employees
  • Becoming flexible and open to the culture around
  • Tapping into the different strengths of team members
  • Communicating the exact requirements of a project and the goals, and
  • Building teams that work efficiently together.

Employees at the same company might see things differently, even if they have the same time orientation. A closed-door office might seem unfriendly and off-putting to an employee who is used to an open plan office space. With a little consideration, everyone can feel at home in the same environment.

The monochronic and polychronic conflict can be solved with an agile corporate communication strategy. Continuously evaluate how you should interact with employees and customers throughout your organization and the world. Using a corporate communication strategy you will be able to properly merge and utilize the monochronic and polychronic time cultures to connect with your people.

 

Consider Past Time Orientation

 

 

Many polychronic cultures have strong traditional values that dictate the way employees carry out day-to-day functions. These traditions do not adhere to time and schedules, but contribute to an overall corporate identity. On the other hand, the methodical ways of monochronic cultures allows for time efficiency. 

A business can thrive in either culture with the right amount of tweaking, an open mind, and a new approach to time and order. A business should consider their goals over the period of a month, several months, and a year, and adapt aspects of both monochronic and polychronic cultures where they best fit. Adapting a flexible time culture for your company that works for employees can maximize efficiency and make employees feel valued. Once you and your executives reach a decision about the best time culture and have received ample feedback, roll out internal communication that makes your time model clear. If your employees are satisfied with a robust, well-thought out time culture, they are more likely to stay at your company and communicate positive reviews externally to boost future hiring.

Check out our services at VP Legacies and start building effective strategies so that everyone is satisfied with the time culture of your company. 

Related: 9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset

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Email or Phone Call? Etiquette for Remote Communication

Email or Phone Call? Etiquette for Remote Communication 1351 901 VP Legacies

What is Netiquette and Why Does It Matter?

Various books, studies, and blogs have explored the concept of “netiquette,” defined as a set of etiquette guidelines for navigating the world of digital communication. But everything changed this year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit at a level of global proportions. National and local governments across the world moved quickly from encouraging better hygiene practices to enforcing social distance and shelter-in-place measures. 

But how does social distancing, a practice meant to reduce infection and viral spread, affect our ability to create meaningful personal connections? Without the opportunity to create personal connections in person, remote communication is now our only means of interaction as we remain in isolation for an indefinite amount of time. A new emphasis is placed on netiquette as technological communication replaces the experience of person-to-person conversations. 

As a result, we must be aware that our understanding of netiquette is changing as the world changes during a pandemic. Now that virtually all communication is, well, virtual, how do we ensure clarity and meaning in our modes of communication? How do we maintain valuable personal and professional relationships as we wait for the crisis to clear? At VP Legacies, we prioritize the value of personal connection and share innovative ways to improve those connections in the digital era. In today’s post, we share with you our tips for etiquette for remote communication in 2020.

Email or Phone Call                                      

Smartphone next to laptop

Let’s start at square one. If you’re about to reach out to an old friend, you may be wondering whether you should start with an email or phone call. If the friend lives in a different time zone or country, it may be best to open up communications with an email  so that you don’t wake them up at an ungodly hour. 

An email allows your friend or relative to read the correspondence at their leisure and gets some time to write back a thoughtful reply. You can include a suggestion to talk on the phone soon and ask when would be a good time for them to talk. Doing so allows you to find a time that works for both of you to have a relaxed and pleasant conversation. 

When it comes to professional communication, be aware of the culture of your office or company and respond to emails and phone calls as you have done in the past. The general rule is to respond with the same mode of communication that another has reached out to you with. For example, if a colleague emails you, email them back. If a business contact leaves you a voicemail, do them the honor of a return call.

Here are some general guidelines for using phone and email:

  • Discern between personal and professional communication. Maintain a professional tone for work calls and emails and adopt a friendly tone for personal calls and emails.
  • Avoid emailing spam to both friends and work colleagues. Defined as
    irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients,” spam emails are impersonal and usually unwelcome. Instead of sending spam, take the time to compose personal emails to one or a few recipients (such as a group of friends) at a time.
  • Speak at normal volume when talking over the phone. Avoid the urge to shout into the phone.
  • Never send emails in all caps, whether in a friendly or professional capacity.
  • Avoid using sarcastic comments in all emails to avoid misunderstandings. If they can’t hear your tone, they may not understand what you mean.

It’s perfectly human to feel unsure about reaching out to certain people, whether they be loved ones, long lost friends, or professional contacts. The current situation is confusing for many and communication can easily become muddled in the fray of a pandemic. Check out VP Legacies’ course, How To Personally Connect In The Midst of a Global Pandemic, to gain some footing and maintain meaningful connection during this time.

Video Chat Etiquette

Man at desk with laptop and brochure

You’ve made it to the next level of remote communication and ready for some new technology. Are you ready to video chat? Here’s some pointers to get you started.

First, schedule a time and date when setting up a video chat with loved ones or colleagues. Then decide which application you’ll be using. It may be Facetime on the iPhone or Duo for Android. Or you can use Zoom, Skype, or Bluejeans on your computer. For those still exploring options, Bluejeans is a video conferencing app much like Zoom and Skype. Whichever you choose, inform anyone joining the video call of what application you’ll be using and send them a reminder when it’s almost time for your chat.

If you’re joining a video meeting for work, set up a space in your home office or any clean space in your house that won’t distract others from the meeting. Prepare ahead of time by downloading the proper application for the remote video conference and testing it out with a friend or relative to make sure your audio and visual settings are in order. Because you won’t be able to pass around any paperwork during the remote call, be sure to send anything you want meeting attendees to view ahead of time so they have time to take a look before the video call. Have any visuals you want to present ready in both physical and digital formats. And of course, be sure to change out of those pajamas first!

Video chatting a friend is much more informal and you’ll feel immensely more connected just being able to see them smiling back at you. Just be considerate of anything that might make your friends or loved ones uncomfortable. If you’re involved in an activity that might cause others embarrassment or discomfort, it’s best to wait until you’ve completed the task to join a group video chat. Your best (and not too revealing) pajamas will likely be perfectly acceptable for a friendly video call.

Related: 12 Corporate Communication Challenges

Social Media Etiquette

 Person using Instagram on smartphoneSocial media etiquette is complicated territory. Keep in mind that you may encounter those who do not heed etiquette for remote communication in this outlet. Because of this, use discretion when it comes to social media communication. Depending on the culture of your workplace, you may want to keep social media where it belongs: in your social life rather than professional life. Despite any challenges you may encounter though, social media can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family.

The messaging functions on Facebook and Instagram function in much the same way as email. If you’re trying to reach a friend who is active on a certain platform, messaging them through that app may be more effective than emailing them. It’s also an easy way to share media and photos, though again, be conscious of anything that would make your friends uncomfortable. In the event you’re venturing into new and unfamiliar modes of social media, such as Tiktok or Snapchat, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or relative to guide you through the process, or find a tutorial online to get started.

The three cardinal rules of social media are:

  • Respect privacy by not sharing personal photos or media of loved ones unless they have given you permission to do so.
  • Be yourself even if you’re still learning the ropes on social media.
  • Do not bully, stalk, or harass others and don’t say to anyone anything you wouldn’t say in person.

Work and Classroom Etiquette

Laptop next to notebook and coffee

In addition to those participating in online work meetings, remote brainstorm sessions, and video interviews, there are also students of all ages learning how remote etiquette is being handled in the digital classroom. Adults signing onto Zoom for work training, taking eLearning soft skill classes, or even recreational courses can learn from the following guidelines:

  • If someone is speaking, and you’d like to participate, raise your hand as you would in the classroom. Some virtual classroom apps also have a “raise hand” button you can press to alert the administrator that you have a question or problem.
  • Many apps feature a chat window where you can interact with classmates. Be respectful of that privilege and resist the temptation to fill the chat with links, images or topics that are off subject or distracting to the instructor and students.
  • Share feedback with your instructor if something about the class isn’t working for you, whether technical or otherwise. As we are all learning from this experience, constructive feedback is necessary to improve the process and streamline the learning curve.
  • Be kind to instructors or whoever is speaking, especially ones that are just learning how to use digital tools for education. It’s not easy to teach a roomful of people and perhaps it’s even harder to teach to an empty room, so be mindful of your instructor’s or administrator’s feelings and genuine efforts.

Related: How To Maintain Real Connections With Your Professional Network

You’re Ready To Connect!

 Person sitting on floor with smartphone and laptop

We hope this post provides for you more opportunities to maintain the relationships you hold dear during a difficult and isolated time. Etiquette, whether in person or online, is an expression of courtesy and respect for your colleagues, relatives, and friends and they will be sure to appreciate your efforts. With the help of technology and a little practice, you’ll be switching between apps and devices like a pro and connecting with loved ones from all over the world. 

As many are realizing during this pandemic lockdown, it’s more important than ever to nurture our personal and professional relationships. With the right tools, those valuable connections can continue to grow and flourish. Start with VP Legacies’ course, Personal Connections 101, to join a warm community of others just like you and learn to foster the friendships you already have, even from many miles away.


Have you wanted to learn how to change strangers into friends, friends into best friends and create a personal connection with anyone?

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Remote Team Best Practices

Remote Team Best Practices 1009 712 VP Legacies

Remote Team Best Practices

Remote work is slowly gaining popularity and many studies are starting to indicate employees are more productive in remote teams. Other than workplaces deemed “essential” by state governments, offices have been forced to embrace a remote teamwork environment given the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, we have seen people struggle to maintain their ability to stay connected to others remotely. That is why we built an online series of courses to help address this problem. Here are some remote team best practices so your team is thriving while at home. 

 Infographic on remote work and its benefits

Source: Datastore365

Remote work pain points

Typically, the main challenges remote work brings to employees are:

Communication

Face-to-face interactions bring with it an organic and seamless way of communicating between team members. This is naturally lost with remote work where managers or team leads are never sure whether employees are working, or what their status is on certain items. Pair this with no effective communication platform and things can be quite radio silent. In addition to this, a lack of communication within the company and teams can erode any culture and camaraderie that exists between employees, negatively impacting productivity in the long-run. 

Setting boundaries

Remote work will also involve team members operating on different schedules and slowly blurring their distinction between work and leisure. This means some employees may choose to work longer but more relaxed hours and send off messages at various times of the day. This can disrupt the cohesive work life delineation that is provided when in the office. 

Socializing and Personal Connection

A lack of communication comes with less socialization and culture-building activities. Gone are the ways of grabbing a beer with colleagues at the end of the day before heading home or going on an impromptu coffee break. All of this can negatively affect culture within the team and the necessary bonding between colleagues required for productive and creative work. Improving your ability to personally connect with others is a skill you have to develop just like any other. 

person using black smartphone

Related: 12 Corporate Communication Challenges

Be organized with documentation

Documentation becomes ever more important when remote working as no one can be fully in sync with what’s happening, who’s working on what, and why. This means tools such as Google Drive, Trello, and Asana are required to help organize information virtually for the company so that those required have easy access. 

Use intuitive remote communication software

Intuitive remote communication software is critical to enabling a remote team to thrive and stay productive. Here are some tools to consider:

  1. Use video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Hangouts to manage live team meetings. 
  2. Pair this with a powerful open communication platform such as Slack where employees can create their own public channels, group threads, and actively communicate across multiple devices such as Web, Tablet, and Mobile.
  3. Help your employees with better task management and team transparency through project management tools such as Monday.
  4. Establish an online documentation repository by leveraging free tools such as Google Drive and it’s associated Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Another popular alternative is Notion.

Encourage employees to turn work notifications off when the day ends

When fully connected throughout the day at home the line between when work starts and ends can quickly blur. This can mean as your remote employees adapt to different schedules and routines, many of them may be getting a lot more notifications past business hours. It can be tempting for them to reply but over the long run this will just encourage a culture where everyone is connected and working all day – not good for long-term employee well-being. 

A good way to establish boundaries and not tempt them into replying to a notification at any other, for fear they’re not a ‘team player’ is to encourage your team to switch off notifications when their day ends. You can also educate them on methods of selective muting. If there are certain notifications they need (e.g. your VP) then messaging apps such as iMessage or Slack do enable custom do not disturb toggles to turn off for certain contacts. 

Related: How Internal Communication Strategies Boost Employee Engagement

Reply quickly during the day

Active communication is necessary when remote working as the face to face presence of knowing everyone is working on different tasks goes away in remote settings. A good practice in communication is to reply quickly during business hours, even if employees are engaged in other tasks. If employees are going to take a break, head out for lunch, or even into a meeting. Encourage them to utilize status messages and ping their active teammates to let them know what they’re up to. 

Make time for socializing virtually

A big part of why we love working as a team is the culture and camaraderie that forms when in the office. Your colleagues are also your friends and this means while working remotely a more active effort needs to be made to enjoy the same socialization a team would get in-office. Encourage your teams to host social sessions virtually where everyone is on video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. Some ways to spark a social occasion is to celebrate the end of the week by having a virtual beer and wine after-work chat, or celebrating successes and special occasions such as a team members birthday. 

Keep everyone in the loop

Utilize tools to ensure that all business agendas and updates are transparent and easily accessible for anyone to be in the loop. There are tools such as Notion that can be used to capture any notes, and embed recorded meetings or screenshares for employees to access later. A more open communication platform such as Slack or Microsoft Teams will allow dedicated channels for employees to join if they’d like to see group conversations happening and stay in the loop. It’s also a good practice for any larger company meetings to be followed up with a recap email send out to all team members. 

Related: What to Include in an Internal Communication Plan

Make opportunities for professional development

It can be easy to keep tabs on professional development and team one-on-ones when in the office by heading out for coffee or lunch. When engaging in a remote working practice, try to schedule in such sessions even though they are virtual. Similarly, since managers and employees won’t be actively working together, it’s important to establish more documentation and project management so that when it comes to providing feedback supervisors can reflect on tangible work outputs. 

Another great way to keep employees engaged while working from home is with a dynamic eLearning program customized to your company’s needs. VP Legacies saves you valuable time and effort by providing eLearning content with 50% higher employee engagement than the industry average. This cost-efficient opportunity not only expresses to team members that you care about their professional development but also maintains a sense of momentum and accomplishment that will bolster morale even as work continues from home.

Related: What Learning Objectives are Compatible with eLearning?

person writing on white paper

Key takeaways to keep your office thriving

The most important aspect of ensuring a thriving remote office is mirroring much of the personal connection and socialization that already exists within the workplace. This dynamic develops organically given the face-to-face nature of working on-site, but maintaining it remotely requires a more proactive and dedicated effort. A culture of clear communication, transparency, relationship-building, and professional development is crucial to keeping your remote office flourishing.

Strong professional connection and adept communication is ultimately what stands out in the most successful remote work teams and companies today. Give your company the opportunity to grow and advance beyond expectations. Whether it’s a customized eLearning course developed to inspire your team or a life-changing Personal Connection course to expand the meaning of personal connection, VP Legacies is here to help.

Woman using phone while walking

8 Tips for Effective Communication Online

8 Tips for Effective Communication Online 1350 900 VP Legacies

A 2019 study has shown that 89% of people using video conferencing tools feel more connected online. One can only guess at how these numbers from 2019 will spike in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal and local governments have asked their citizens to practice “social distancing,” a non-pharmaceutical containment measure meant to reduce the spread of viral infection.

Cut off from social interaction, many are turning to technology to maintain social and professional relationships. Teleconferencing programs, group chat apps, and other digital tools are part of everyday life now as we attempt to strike a balance between isolation and connection. At VP Legacies, we prioritize the value of person-to-person connection and have developed innovative ways to improve those connections in the digital era. For those seeking an effective means of online communication, we’ve compiled 8 top tips to help you establish the most meaningful of interactions during this period of social distance.

 Discerning Personal and Professional Communication

Woman cooking and using laptop

The first step to effective online communication is being able to discern the differences between personal and professional communication. Determining this will allow you to make important decisions such as which app or digital tool to use, where to set up your call, and how you share information.

If you’re asked to participate in a video meeting in a professional context, it’s wise to set up shop in your home office or some other quiet and clean space that won’t distract other meeting attendees. Whether it’s a Google business hangout, Skype interview, or Zoom online meeting, you want to prepare ahead of time to make sure you’re ready when the meeting starts. Be sure to download the app onto your smartphone or laptop and test out your audio and visual settings with a friend or family member before your meeting. If there are documents you’d like to share with the person or people you’ll be meeting with, be sure to email them a copy ahead of time so they have time to review it beforehand.

Personal communication, on the other hand, is less formal than professional teleconferencing situations. Chats of a casual nature can be done anywhere around the house and you can even prop up your phone while attending to your kids or cooking a meal for your family. In this case, consider the sensibilities of the person or people you’re communicating with. If you’re involved in an activity that might make others uncomfortable to watch, it’s best to wait until you’re finished to jump on that group video chat.

Personal connections may be less formal but they’re the social fabric that holds us all together. During a time where emotional support is more valuable than ever, it pays to learn the best ways to connect with your loved ones. Start with VP Legacies’ course, Personal Connections 101, to get started today.

Understanding Digital Etiquette 

 Man at desk with laptop and brochure

Some may have heard the term “netiquette” being used in online circles. Netiquette defined simply refers to the code of courtesy and respect followed when communicating with others on the Internet. Online etiquette is important to keep in mind for all modes of online communication, whether it’s texting, emailing, or video chatting. Here are some netiquette basics for you to consider:

  • Do not send emails and text messages in ALL CAPS. This is one of the cardinal rules of netiquette. If you’re attempting to accentuate a word, statement, or thought, try putting the statement in bold type or using the highlight function to draw attention to your words.
  • Do not bully, stalk, or harass others. This sounds like a no-brainer but anger happens to the best of us. When someone disagrees with you about a particular topic, allow them their opinions, and avoid blowing up their inbox with your own opinions on the matter.
  • Start speaking at a normal volume when talking over the phone or video chat. No need to yell unless you’ve checked all volume settings first!
  • Respect privacy. Do not share personal photos or media of loved ones unless they have given you permission first.
  • Avoid sending spam to others, keeping your messages succinct and meaningful, rather than a succession of forwarded content created by others. Keep in mind your loved ones want to hear from you, not a stranger.
  • Be yourself even if you’re not used to communicating digitally. Don’t say to anyone anything you wouldn’t say in person.
  • Schedule an opportune time and date when setting up a video chat with loved ones. Give them some time to prepare or download the correct app first, whether it’s through Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Snapchat, Bluejeans, Instagram or other medium.

Related: How To Maintain Real Connections With Your Professional Network

Choosing A Digital Tool That Works For You

We are lucky to have incredible 4G connectivity to help us communicate in the digital age. Many feel fulfilled from a simple phone call or text message exchange. Others rely on video chats enabled by FaceTime, Zoom, or other apps. At this time, many feel comforted seeing the face of their loved ones while unable to meet in person. With 5G well on its way, people will be able to connect  at a greater scale. 

A video chat during the current global pandemic can be a vital source of solace and healing right now. If you’re missing your friends and family but unsure of how to touch base with them, check out VP Legacies’ free course, How To Personally Connect Amidst A Pandemic. You can tune into the course daily on both Facebook and Instagram and connect immediately with like-minded individuals and a caring, helpful instructor who will guide you toward more resonant personal connections.

Related: “The Art of Personal Connection” – CEO Presentation at the 2017 SIM Colorado Women Summer Conference Presentation

Classroom Etiquette

 Laptop and textbook

As schools and college campuses scurry to move their spring semester classes online amid the COVID-19 outbreak, classroom netiquette has become an important topic for students and teachers alike. Even those participating in professional training and eLearning courses are called to practice effective communication and respectful behavior in the virtual classroom.

Here are some classroom netiquette tips to consider:

  • Participation: raise your hand to ask questions just as you would in the classroom. Some virtual classroom apps also have a hand raising button you can press to alert the instructor that you have a question.
  • No chat bombing: there is usually a chat window in most online classroom apps. Be respectful of that space and refrain from filling the chat with topics that are off subject or distracting to the instructor and students.
  • Share feedback with your instructor if something about the class isn’t working for you. Constructive feedback is necessary to improve the process and streamline your learning curve.

Understanding Formal vs. Informal Tones

Tone is important when you can’t speak in person. Many have experienced the confusion that abounds when a sarcastic text isn’t well received. Chances of miscommunication are high when you’re relying on communication through the phone or computer.

It’s advisable to avoid sarcastic comments whether communicating personally or professionally (unless your friends all vote for you to keep it up, in which case, carry on). If you’re sending emails, texts, or participating in an online meeting in a professional context, write and speak as you would in the workplace, with a tone of respect and courtesy. Make sure your emails are easy to read and include information relevant to the subject at hand. Adopt a formal or semi-formal tone and address colleagues and coworkers as you normally would in the office.

For personal communications, you can adopt a more informal tone. Model your texts and emails after how you would normally speak to friends and family. Maintaining a positive tone is helpful during this time where many are impacted by social distancing measures. A few cheerful emoticons can keep the mood bright and friendly.

Related: 12 Corporate Communication Challenges

Responding Meaningfully

Man on phone near body of water

Work your empathy muscle and respond in a way that shows you care. If you receive an email from a friend who is going through a hard time, now is not the time to fill your reply with a cloud of festive happy face emojis. Devoting some time to understanding what your loved one is going through can help you respond in a caring and respectful manner.

Personal connections are beautiful but they aren’t always easy. Learn some basics from VP Legacies’ course Personal Connections 101.

Becoming Comfortable with Your Own Company

Being a good friend also means taking care of yourself. Relying on others to make you happy can put unnecessary pressure on them and add strain to a close relationship. Though it’s hard to stay in isolation day after day in these uncertain times, learning how to build a relationship with yourself is a valuable exercise.

This is easier said than done, of course. Those struggling with solitude may find it helpful to seek online professional help. For anyone interested in learning how to build a practice of self care, VP Legacies’ course How To Build A Relationship With Yourself is a great start.

Being Open To Receive Feedback and Guidance

Black and brown headset near laptop computer

As in any relationship, professional or personal, there is a call for giving and receiving feedback and being open to guidance when necessary. If you’re new to the world of digital communication, ask for feedback from friends and family as to how to improve communications between you. You can ask the same of work colleagues in a professional tone, reaching out and asking for constructive comments as to how to make online meetings and conferences more productive.

Being open to guidance can mean researching different options and tools of communication. If texting is too casual for your tastes, try emailing instead. If you’re having connection problems with FaceTime, see what Google Duo has to offer. Receiving guidance can even come in the form of helpful instruction, such as VP Legacies’ free class How To Personally Connect In The Midst of a Global Pandemic. There are a wealth of apps and resources out there that can support your connection needs.

Conclusion

More than anything, we hope this post empowers you to step through uncertainty and connect in a meaningful way, whether in a professional or personal context. And if you’re still feeling disconnected, maybe it’s a simple matter of brushing up on your connection skills. Don’t hesitate to take a VP Legacies course, such as Personal Connection 101, to learn how to maintain and improve your most valuable relationships. As we are all learning during this pandemic, it’s relationships and connection that matter most of all.

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Fun Conversation Starters in the Corporate Environment

Fun Conversation Starters in the Corporate Environment 1600 1066 VP Legacies

Have you just started a new job, or gotten a position in a new department? Maybe you’re just trying to liven things up at meetings or get friendlier with people at work?

Humans are social creatures by nature, and we need to communicate. Being friendly with coworkers helps make the days go by faster and helps to foster a healthier and happier work environment.

That said, not all conversation topics are appropriate for the workspace, and you don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable on your quest for workplace friendship. People issues are a cause of workplace stress, and it’s best to not contribute.

If you’re looking for fun conversation starters in the corporate environment, look no further. Here are some workplace and networking friendly conversation starters to liven up days in the office and help you build Personal Connection® in no time.

The Personal Connection Crisis in 2020

People are feeling more disconnected than ever in 2020. Between social media taking over the majority of our social interactions and much of our time being split between work and family, some people feel isolated like never before. This feeling has been made even more apparent thanks to the social distancing people are implementing thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, people are not just emotionally distant, but physically distant, making the feeling even more real. People are starting to feel like posting coronavirus memes are not enough to feel connected to their friends and family anymore. 

Many millennials report being lonely in 2020 when Personal Connection® should be easier to find than ever.

Fostering healthy communication with your coworkers can help to fix this problem in at least a small way.

Related: What Is the Personal Connection Crisis?

Why Great Conversations are Key

It’s easy to feel awkward with coworkers, especially if you’re new in the workplace. Many people go into the job knowing that they’re there to serve a purpose and leave. It makes forging connections seem less important.

Beginning great conversations with fun conversation starters helps to fix these bonds that we’re so prone to resist based on our workplace situation. Small talk is okay to start off with, but actual conversations that bloom around personal interests and genuine questions make people feel heard and important.

A good conversation can be exciting and can make the workplace a much happier environment. Happier workers tend to make more productive workers. 

What to Talk About

When you’re used to either talking with friends or leading with small talk, it can be tough to actually come up with new topics for conversations. Here are some ideas to help get you started.

Company Successes

Two employees sit on a sofa bond over company successes Especially when talking to higher-ups in the company, it can be great to talk about things that the company has done well. This could also put you in a good position in the eyes of your bosses.

If you notice a coworker on your same team doing something great for the company, it’s definitely good to compliment that as well. Everyone loves compliments, and they make people feel good. They also help you build teamwork and make your work even more enjoyable.

  • That was a great presentation today!
  • I heard how you handled that customer call! That seemed stressful, but good work!

Transform Shop Talk into Learning Discussions

If something that someone else is doing is really fascinating to you, even if it isn’t your department, asking about it at an appropriate time is a great conversation starter! Are you interested in learning a new skill, or sharing it with others? This might be the time to share that information.

  • Have you ever tried (video/photo/document editing program)? I think it would be great for the office!
  • You seem really quick at (office skill), how did you learn that?
  • Your position looks really fun! Can you tell me about it?

People like to learn and share information. This could be a good way to get people to open up to you.

Related: Top Tips for Having a Tough Conversation with Your Boss

Get to Know Your Colleagues

Things like pop culture and entertainment tend to be safe and popular, as well as any holiday or weekend plans. This is a great time to find common interests with coworkers to build Personal Connection®.

  • Have you streamed any good shows or movies lately?
  • Did you go anywhere fun over the four-day weekend last week?
  • Have you heard any cool local bands?
  • Do you have any fun hobbies? I like to _____.

While some people get very excitable about their entertainment or food choices, these are all safe (and still fun) bets for workplace conversation without getting too personal with people.

Aim to Inspire

Uplifting coworkers through conversation will make them more likely to want to talk to you. Being an inspirational figure in the workplace will make you indispensable. Encouraging people with a positive attitude and enthusiastic mindset is a great way to foster a healthy and engaging work conversation.

When To Talk About It

Three employees hold lattes to talk during a coffee breakWhile work time is for work, there are a few options for when you can talk to your coworkers freely. You can have brief conversations with coworkers in and around the office. If you start to feel a Personal Connection® with someone, you can take it outside of the office, too. The best time might be during a break, after work, or even over the weekend.

  • Coffee Breaks: A great time for one-on-one conversations
  • Lunch Breaks: A time for small group chats
  • After-work Dinner: A time to engage with everyone more in-depth

Conversational Strategies

So maybe you know what to talk about, but how do you do it? Here are a few great strategies to help get conversations running smoothly.

Lead With an Open-Ended Question

If your question can be answered with a “yes” or “no”, it’s probably not going to go very far unless your target is naturally quite chatty.

Instead, focus on open-ended questions for a fun conversation starter. Try not to make it too in-depth, especially if you’re just meeting someone. Consider the following for kickoff points:

  • What project have you been working on?
  • What’s your favorite part of the job?
  • How did you get into this field?

These questions are all work-oriented, but they’re open enough that you can really get someone talking. You might also learn a bit about your position, especially if you’re new!

Use Nonverbal Cues

Two women in an office smile at each other as an example of nonverbal cuesSometimes people speak more with their eyes or bodies than their words. Pay attention to subtle movements. Are they looking away from you while talking or closing themselves off? Maybe this conversation is best left for a different time. Are they appearing relaxed? Continue to engage!

Use Their Name

People feel endeared to you when you remember their names. It can be difficult but made easier through repetition. After learning, repeat it a few times just to be sure:

  • Hey (name), great work on that report!
  • (Name), can I ask you about this document?

This will help your memory and help others feel more comfortable.

Do You Know Any More Fun Conversation Starters?

Starting a conversation in the workplace can be awkward. 

These questions can open up into broader conversations about work or hobbies, and even show you common interests between yourself and your coworkers. With a positive mindset, great listening skills, and specificity, you’ll be able to start meaningful conversations that feel engaged. Finding the right time to talk is also key.

For more tips on connection, take our Personal Connection® 101 Course! We have fun conversation starters and tips for any situation. We talk about ways to build connection in even more depth during our Office Hours, too.

Related: What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan

 

Employees sit at a table chatting to demonstrate non-transactional relationships

How To Avoid Transactional Relationships at Work

How To Avoid Transactional Relationships at Work 1600 1066 VP Legacies

Collaboration is the cornerstone of human progress. It’s no secret that Personal Connection® allows us to do more together than we ever could alone. And while work has changed over thousands of years of human history, the necessity of cooperation never has.

But some of our relationships are stronger than others. In the workplace, you must navigate a fine line between being a leader and being a friend. If you walk on the authoritative side of things, you could foster transactional relationships that negatively affect every facet of the modern workplace.

But what are transactional relationships, and how can you avoid them? At VP Legacies, our Personal Connection® experts are committed to helping your workplace encourage friendliness and engagement. Let’s dive deep into this question that has haunted countless executives and employees alike.

What Is a Transactional Relationship, Anyway?

The name is a bit of a giveaway. Transactional relationships are all about transactions, mainly business ones. It makes sense for a boss or a coworker to keep their eyes on the prize and employees focused on the task at hand.

But if that’s all you ever discuss, you may be guilty of maintaining hollow transactional relationships. This can also extend beyond employees. In the service industry, you might also push customers towards a sale with little personal conversation, if any.

But isn’t that what being at work is all about? Not exactly.

Why Transactional Relationships Hurt You in the Long Run

A workplace built on trust and mutual respect can pay off in more ways than one. Connected employees are happy employees. They’ll be more likely to stay at your company for longer, and they’ll enthusiastically help out their friends to generate ideas or complete challenging tasks.

Personal Connection® encourages employees to take their work more seriously. Compare this to detached employees who may view the job as little more than a paycheck.

According to one survey, three-fourths of employees view their bosses in a negative light. And when most supervisors do little more than bark orders, it’s no wonder why. 

Beyond lost productivity and motivation, transactional relationships don’t seek out personal preferences. And yet it’s these preferences and desires that allow bosses to create a tailored workplace. When employees don’t feel they are using their strengths or gaining relevant experience, they’re much more likely to quit their jobs.

Real relationships give bosses the opportunity to discover what makes these individuals click. By creating a workplace environment where employees can engage with managers, colleagues, and people in different departments, you can retain key employees.

Related: Why Empathy in the Workplace Matters

Strategies for Avoiding Transactional Relationships

You can learn how to avoid transactional relationships even if you’ve been creating them for decades. It doesn’t take much to make the switch to healthier interpersonal connections. While your employees may be skeptical at first, they’ll come around in time.

Cultivate authentic workplace relationships with these simple tips. 

1. Consider Your Intentions

Before you reach out to anyone in the workplace, allow yourself a pensive moment. Why are you reaching out? What is your intent?

If you find you’re trying to get something from a worker, that is a transactional relationship. Conversely, relational intent seeks to add value to both parties. 

Get in the right frame of mind and be open to a genuine Personal Connection®. It may seem superficial, but people can tell when you’re being authentic… or just trying to meet a quota. 

2. Be Positive

Two employees chat and laugh with each other at a shared table

Positive emotions are the backbone of all healthy relationships, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. Avoid conversations that dwell on a shared hatred about something.

Instead, reach out with optimism and discuss happy topics. For example, do you know what your employees do for fun after work? Not only can you learn about your fellow workers, but you can share a few smiles, too.

Who knows? You may have more in common than you first thought. 

3. Don’t Label People

Negative thoughts come easier than positive ones. We’re wired that way. And for that reason, you may subconsciously assign negative qualifiers to others.

These labels prevent the formation of candid relationships. After all, how can you express genuine interest in a conversation when you may feel the listener is a tad slow or technologically illiterate?

Put these labels to bed. A single negative trait does not a person make. 

4. Be Open-Minded and Vulnerable

You can’t share personal details with everyone. It’s risky, dangerous, and sometimes painful in a very physical sense.

Yet given the right situation, you can share a concern you have or a challenge you had to overcome to signal to the listener that you feel comfortable divulging this information to them. This practice cultivates earnest two-way relationships and real Personal Connection®.

But you have to listen, too. When an employee discusses something deeply personal, always stay open-minded and avoid judgment. 

Related: What is Emotionally Intelligent Leadership?

5. Don’t Just Communicate When You Need Something

You’ll frequently need to touch base with other employees and make sure critical work gets done. But that should never be the only reason you communicate in the workplace.

When you find time in your schedule, take a walk around the office. Small talk isn’t the most exciting conversation material, but making an effort to gab about nonwork-related topics can go a long way in showing you care.

6. Take Your Time

Two employees sit next to the window and have a long conversation.

In the age of social media, everyone struggles with real, tangible connections. And you can’t flip a switch and pretend you want an authentic relationship. People are quick to pick up on deception.

To avoid transactional relationships, it’s going to take some time. After all, you’re rewiring the way your brain works.

Keep at it. With enough patience, you’ll get the hang of things for the better.

Creating a Positive Workplace

Employees smile to demonstrate a positive workplace

You have the power to influence company culture and employee morale. It’s time to kick transactional relationships to the curb. In addition to feeling more engaged with the people around you, you help create a workplace environment that makes everyone happy.

Looking for more ways to deeply connect with those inside and outside the workplace? Try our Personal Connection® course to learn more about building lasting relationships. You’ll learn ways to turn small talk into longer conversations, and those longer conversations into real connections. With our insight, you’ll be able to say goodbye to transactional relationships.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Corporate Communication Strategy

 

coworkers looking at a laptop

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