The lively call of Sky Sport’s Martin Taylor rumbles through my mind as if it were the Amex stadium just before kick-off for a match on Super Sunday. 30,000 screaming fans and millions watching around the world.
Although the CoreHR project kick-off was not quite as exuberant as Super Sunday, I prepared my game plan for the day ahead and was excited to start the day with that same ‘sports persona’ energy.
Project kick off usually consists of the cheer of 6am alarm bells ushering me to get on the road to meet a customer. Sheepishly rummaging through my wardrobe in the dim light of morning, I fumble to locate a shirt that is moderately less wrinkled that the rest.
Sadly, the roars I usually hear are that of my significant other for making too much noise as I struggle to get my hard-soled shoes on!
I begin my 2-hour journey from Central London to Brighton. The typical scene of the London commute – Sardines packed onto a bustling train, the fear of missing my connection from Clapham to Brighton rippling through my mind as the train jerks to take-off.
As I rush through Clapham junction, I grab a sausage roll and a coffee, less than optimum fuel for the day ahead. I hear the ATM whirring – another £8!!
I arrive at the Amex stadium and meet my guest, adrenaline surging from my hectic morning. I scrabble with a few cables – its show time!
The new normal – a change in play
However, today things are a little bit different. A couple of weeks into lockdown restrictions and I am adjusting to my ‘new normal’ with a sense of ease.
Today I wake up slowly at 6:30am, and instead of my hard-soled shoes and shirt I pull on my running gear.
I take the dog out and run against the fresh air of the morning, taking some time to breath and fill my lungs – 10k in the bag, energised and ready to go. The familiar cocktail of cortisol and fumes from the underground absent from my veins.
With a clear head and my blood flowing, I whip up a healthy breakfast of eggs – match day fuel. It’s not often I get to sit and relish the quiet moments of the morning as I catch up on my mailbox. Usually this is done while crouched under the arm of a fellow commuter as we bump and bustle through the undergrounds of London.
Today I change into my work gear, stress free and ready to tackle the day – with an extra few pounds in my pocket saved on my commute.
I’m always a bit apprehensive meeting a customer for the first time, but today I’m relaxed and excited. I dial into the webinar with my camera on, today I’ve got the home advantage.
Playing from a familiar field – rules of the game
Armed with the knowledge that I have the home advantage, well thought out tactics and furry mascot by my side, I pull myself into the proverbial locker room for a pep talk. I align my game plan for the day, with confidence.
Delivering the information successfully is driven by several important rules.
1. Test the technology
The last thing you need is to be blind-sided by malfunctioning technology – a quick run through of video & sound functionality and we are good to go.
2. Enable video capability
Doing so allows participants to familiarise themselves with one another, although human touch has been lost, we are adapting to using technology such as teams and zoom to virtually meet and greet one another.
3. Break things up
It much tougher to keep attention spans at optimum levels through remote workshops, we are faced with boundless distractions such as screaming toddlers – breaks at regular intervals to grab that cup of coffee and stretch the legs are essential.
4. Pause and open for questions, not from customer from you!
It’s much easier to identify in a room by facial expressions, folded arms, uneasy expressions if they do not understand the content.
Ensuring customers are engaged and interested is essential – the lack of body language as a social que makes it harder to gage how information is being received.
5. Encourage questions from customer
You want the session to be as interactive as possible, encouraging Q&As help to identify engagement from the audience and make sure everyone is on the same page.
6. Relax and engage
This is an obvious one, but even more poignant when delivering remotely and speak at slower pace than normally. That’s particularly tough being from Ireland where we are known for speaking fast!
7. Be mindful of appearance – background appearance that is.
Ensure you don’t have your Spice Girls poster hanging from the wall behind you – your wife might think this is cool, but your customer won’t.
Since the kick off, we have delivered numerous functional workshops with success.
We are seeing increased engagement with customers as everyone involved has more time and less stress and are ready to give 100% . People experience and enterprise agility are at the forefront of this success.
This is a team sport after all – proud in our ability to work together with customers to identify challenges and drive operational excellence.
As professionals we have rearranged tactics, implementing creativity in the way we work. It’s amazing how quickly we have adapted to the everchanging landscape of working remotely and rearranged our game plan to ensure a win every time.
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