COMMUNICATION

What to ask? When to ask? How to Ask?

Delivering a highly engaging in-person presentation is hard enough. Going virtual makes it ten times harder.

During in-person presentations, you have your audience captive in a room. Even though they can drift off to daydream-land anytime, you can crack a joke or ask a question to bring them back. If the audience is small, then most people will take a sneak peek at their phone or take a quick look at their laptop screens, but they won’t go off for long as a courtesy to you.

Virtual presentations are another ball game. You have no way of guessing whether your…


Managers Handbook

And become the manager you always wish you had

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Managers play a vital role in the engagement and productivity of employees. That is not such a difficult statement to believe. But when Gallup published “First, Break All the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham in 1999, it caused waves in line management and HR circles. In particular, the following statement was hotly debated:

People leave managers, not companies.

This doesn’t absolve companies of the responsibility of creating a comfortable working environment, providing excellent benefits, and compensating people appropriately.

To be fair to companies and managers, the following statement will probably get more consensus:

People often leave good jobs because of bad…


COMMUNICATION

And win some virtual friends along the way.

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Dale Carnegie published the iconic How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936. Before publishing the book, Dale was teaching public speaking to people at a YMCA in New York. The book started as a transcript of his lectures and ended up being one of the best-selling self-help books in publishing history.

2020 accelerated the move to virtual communication. Millions of sales professionals, students, teachers, trainers, grandparents… just about everyone with access to the internet jumped on to Zoom (and other video conferencing platforms).

We can adapt Dale Carnegie’s principles for the virtual world and improve our influence during…


SELF-IMPROVEMENT

Learn the 5x5 method for daily productivity satisfaction

Woman awake in bed thinking about all the unfinished work.
Woman awake in bed thinking about all the unfinished work.
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I was tired. It was the peak of the pandemic, and everyone was working from home. Even the kids were attending school online.

My day was spent in meetings, getting kids on and off Zoom calls, quick snacks and multiple cups of coffee.

It felt like the number of meetings had exploded. Every 5-minute conversation at the water cooler/coffee machine had now turned into a 30-minute meeting on my calendar.

By the end of the day, I still had emails to reply to and had barely started on the presentation, which was due in three days. …


TECHNOLOGY

… and stop it from ruining your life

Woman using smartphone before going to sleep
Woman using smartphone before going to sleep
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Kiera was angry, to say the least. She was annoyed, frustrated and feeling helpless. She was justified in her reactions. After all, her smartphone had let her down. Again.

The smartphone is one of the most advanced creations of humans, a supercomputer in your hand, powered by AI assistants in the cloud and millions of apps that promise to make you more productive than a busy beaver.

And yet, Kiera’s smartphone had failed to wake her up on time, and she missed the meeting with a new client, possibly losing business worth millions. …


MANAGERS’ HANDBOOK

You are setting a wrong example that will make you and your team stressed out.

It was 8 pm. I peeked at my phone, scrolling through social media feeds and office emails. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be doing that. I should know better. After all, I write about this stuff.

And then it hit me, I forgot to ask Kenji to update the status of Project Z. I was slated to give a short update during our department all hands, and I wanted to have the latest update of Project Z ready for the Q&A.

I wrote a quick email to Kenji and was about to hit send, but I stopped myself and…


INDIAN FOOD

Vegetables are the Real Superstars of Indian Cuisine

India is home to hundreds of delicious dishes made with vegetables. Sadly, these preparations are barely known outside of the country. Unlike many other cuisines, vegetables aren’t just add-ons to meat dishes but are superstars on their own.

India has a large population of vegetarians, but even for people who eat non-vegetarian, vegetables make up a large portion of the diet. Hence, it is not surprising that there are more vegetable-based recipes than meat-based recipes.

Unfortunately, these dishes don’t get global exposure and are often eclipsed by the stellar power of butter chicken or chicken tikka masala.

We all can…


How to avoid distractions in 3 easy steps

I recently realised that my understanding of distraction was seriously flawed. My enlightenment came from a YouTube video by Nir Eyal, Lecturer in Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. In the video, he asks a very important question:

What are you distracted from?

He explains that distraction occurs when you do something other than what you intended to do. So stop blaming your smartphone, social media feeds, email, or pesky work colleagues.

If you had planned to work on a presentation from 1 pm to 3 pm, then checking social media during that time is a distraction. If you…


COACHING

The clue may be hidden in an ancient story about a monster with many heads

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There are times when we have to educate others. It may be through coaching, lectures, seminars, or even a simple presentation at work.

Now, children are lovely, they may ask lots of questions, but they don’t have that attitude of I know better, so it is easier to teach them. But adults — they are a different breed altogether. Here is an ancient story that may provide some clues.

Story: The Monster With Many Heads

The Shepherd Meets the Monster

A shepherd was walking along swinging his stick when he suddenly got the scare of his life. There, in front of him was a monster with numerous scary-looking heads and tentacles…


A fictional story that helps children learn analog clocks

My 5-year-old son was struggling to read analog clocks. The hours, minutes, hour hand, the minute hand, were all too confusing. So I told him this story and it all became crystal clear to him.

The story of the two-faced clock

Once upon a time, there was a brilliant clockmaker called Yohan. He lived in the kingdom of Waimong.

Every day from morning to late night, he sat on his workbench and made clocks. His beautiful and accurate clocks were famous far and wide in the entire kingdom.

In those days, clocks were large and had two faces — one for the hour and one for…

Sudipto Chanda

Productivity Hacker. Helping you do your best work by sharing 25 years of my experience in energising people and developing remarkable products.

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