Cybersecurity during a Crisis…

Cybercriminals love a crisis. With many more people working remotely, they are undoubtedly poised to capitalize on security flaws, but there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your company. Be on the lookout for phishing emails designed to entice you to click on the latest and greatest offer related to coronavirus protections, or with urgent instructions from your boss. Their intent is to get you to unwittingly download malware onto your device and the company’s systems. Make sure your devices are up to date on their anti-virus protection.

Use multi-factor authentication on any accounts for which it is available. Avoid the temptation of using Bluetooth in a public place — it is an easy way for hackers to connect to your device. Only work on secure, password-protected internet connections. If you have to use public WiFi, be sure to verify with the owner that the network to which you’re connecting is legitimate and secured through a password.

Avoid accessing any confidential or sensitive information from a public WiFi network. And be sure to report any lost or stolen device immediately to minimize the risk of fraud.

How to Encourage Participation During Virtual Meetings…

Virtual Meetings

It’s hard to get people to pay attention in meetings when everyone’s in the same room — let alone if they’re all calling in from home.

How can you get people to actually participate in a virtual meeting? The key is to create structured opportunities for attendees to engage. Do something in the first 60 seconds to help participants experience the problem you want them to solve. For example, you might share statistics or anecdotes that dramatize the topic. Then assign people to groups of two or three and give them a very limited time frame to take on a highly structured and brief task. Be sure to give them a medium with which to communicate, like a WhatsApp group.

If you’re on a virtual meeting platform that allows for breakout groups, use them liberally. Then ask the teams to report back. Never go longer than five to 10 minutes without giving the group another problem to solve. The key is to set and sustain an expectation of meaningful involvement.

Otherwise, your participants will retreat into an observer role, and you’ll have to work extra hard to bring them back.

You Can’t Over Prepare for a Presentation…

Writing a speech or presentation is challenging, and memorizing it takes even more time and effort. But whether you’re speaking at a conference, setting a direction for your team, or persuading upper management to greenlight an idea, it’s important to know your presentation cold.

Transitions can be especially tricky, so break your talk into sections and rehearse the shifts between the sections. Note any troublesome segues and practice them repeatedly. Then, spend time each day memorizing your speech. You might consider recording and listening to it whenever you’re driving, exercising, or running errands. Or you can rehearse a portion of your script right before bedtime or multitask as you brush your teeth.

Finally, have a plan for any slip-ups. Prepare two or three go-to phrases, such as, “Let me refer to my notes,” or “I’m struggling to remember my next point. Let me take a moment and step back.” The lapse will be less awkward for everyone when you don’t panic and do what you need to move on.

Don’t Let “Perfect” Be the Enemy of “Good”

We should all strive to do our best, but if we always aim for perfection, we may blow deadlines, annoy colleagues, and miss out on opportunities.

Instead of never being satisfied with “good enough,” talk to others about their standards. What does a good job look like to boss, peers, or client? Let’s seek their feedback on expected results, costs, and timelines rather than trying to meet extremely high standards. Then check in regularly with these colleagues. Don’t wait until the project is finished, build in checkpoints where you share your progress at 50% or 80% done. Your boss or client just might tell you that the work is good enough at that point.

You can also try small experiments where you relax your standards slightly. What happened? Were your worst fears realized? Finally, consider how perfectionism impacts your relationships. Are you setting unrealistic standards for those around you? The need to have it “perfect” will often annoy others, and in extreme cases, drive them away. For their sake — and yours — let’s learn to be satisfied with good enough.

Criticism or Praise…

If you have to criticize someone, then don’t criticize the person, criticize the general approach or criticize that class of activities.

If you have to praise someone, then always try and find the person who is the best example of what you’re praising and then praise that person, specifically.

That way people’s egos and identities, which we all have, don’t work against you, they work for you.

Should You Disagree in a Job Interview?

When you express your honest opinion during an interview, you present yourself as you are, not as who you think the employer wants you to be. But disagreeing with an interviewer isn’t always easy because of the imbalance of power. Navigate the potential downsides by doing a few things before and during the interview.

First, research the company. Is the culture one where people are receptive to new ideas? Are the organization and its founders are known for inclusion and open-mindedness or do they have a slow-moving, legacy mindset? During the meeting, if the interviewer asks a question that gives you pause, resist the urge to answer immediately.

Take time to formulate a thoughtful response. And ask for permission to provide a different viewpoint. Say something like: “I see this differently. May I share my perspective with you?” Of course, follow your gut. If you think disagreeing won’t be well-received, then bite your tongue.

If the interviewer made you uncomfortable — if you felt dismissed or unheard — trust your instincts. When expressing differing opinions isn’t welcomed in an interview, it probably won’t be encouraged once you’re part of the company.