Webinar: Project management soft skills (Part 1)

WEBINAR: Soft skills for project managers

Sometimes project managers can be so focused on processes that we forget to hone our soft skills. A big part of managing projects requires working with other people – clients, team members, and of course our bosses. This webinar will teach important soft skills that anybody (not just project managers) can start using immediately for noticeable results. We will be joined by special guest presenter Caroline Lee, Director of Production at ISI Language Solutions. 

Presented by Tucker Johnson and Guest Caroline Lee from ISI Language Solutions

Full Transcript

Sandra: Project management is about following processes and good organization, but he’s also so much more than that. Project managers are on the frontline every day and are the most visible represented is for your company, so it is very important that they are well trained in project management processes but also in communication best practices. Today we will learn about soft skills that are important to project management. This webinar is adopted from a workshop, the talker and caroline conducted for Caroline’s team at I s I. The workshop was such a success that we have decided to join forces and adopted into a Webinar, and let me call up a first a couple of housekeeping items. We are in a streaming a multiple platforms, so feel free to post any questions at anytime during the presentation in the comments or chat windows of whichever form you’re viewing will answer questions at the end of the presentation.
Sandra: If we run out of time at your question is not as rent today by any chance, and then we will follow up with you after the Webinar. Feel free to tweet during the Webinar. Relevant twitter handles will be displaced, will be placed at the bottom of the slides for your convenience remembered as well to follow us on social media. We are in Linkedin, facebook, twitter, instagram, Google plus. You do by registered also to this Webinar. You’re already eligible to receive a regular updates via email and when we publish it in new content, let me also tell you that this is part one of an ongoing series. Make sure it describes to be uploaded or updated, uh, for the part two is announced or next Webinar is on. This schedule will be on July the 11th when talker will be presenting on KPI dashboards. Made easy practical ways to create simple, attractive and free dashboards to track and report on common localization kpis.
Sandra: My name is Sandra Olivera on the business development director here at Nimdzi and I will be your master of ceremonies. Your host today are Dr Johnson name says, managing director and Co founder and Caroline Lee, who is the director of operations for language solutions. BMC insights delivered industry research and education to our clients in the language service industry or partners. Get full access to all of her published research and market research market reports, and also benefit from unrestricted access to Nancy’s team of industry experts for unlimited consultancy and other valuable services. We encourage you to find out more about names, services by visiting [inaudible] dot com or original us at Info [inaudible] dot com. I S I is a leading provider of industry specific language access and localization solutions, privately owned and founded in 1982. I S I enables successful communication through comprehensive solutions that are powered by a dedicated team of project managers and linguist with extensive experience in the technical nuances of the industries. A search ISI supports our clients with their clients, with the latest proven technologies to eliminate repetitive tasks, leverage repetition, and ensure consistency. If you’re interested in learning more about Isi, we encourage you to find that more ISI language solutions that go without Florida to do docker. They’re all yours.
Tucker: Thank you so much for the warm welcome, Sandra. I appreciate it. Hello everybody. My name is Tucker Johnson. I am the managing director of the EMC insights and I’m really excited about this webinar. Today we’re going to be talking about project management. Soft skills are communication, soft skills to put it in another way. Um, I’m happy to be joined by my colleague Chrome Isi language solutions, Carolyn Lee. And this is something that we’ve worked on together. And before we get started though, I, I kind of want to go over today’s goals to set expectations. Firstly, I want to be up front that a lot of this might be review for a lot of people, stuff that we already know, stuff that we’ve heard before, but it’s important and it needs mentioning, so we’re going to go through it anyway. The idea is that everybody that watches this presentation can walk away with at least a few things that are new that they can actually go out and try and get new results from, and that’s very important to what we’re doing here today.
Tucker: We want to provide actionable tips and real insights and things that we can do and put in practice today to start getting results tomorrow, as early as tomorrow or as early as today. So we’ll stay away from the theoretical as much as possible and talk about actual real things that we can do. Now. I also have a favorite task for, for, for everybody watching this, I want you to watch it with two sets of eyes. Now your first set of eyes will be here. Oh Nice. So what can I take away from this? What can I learn from this? The second set of eyes I want you to watch this with is looking for can this benefit my team? If you have team members, can this benefit my colleagues? Um, as a project manager, you are a leader. You don’t have direct reports. Did you have freelancers? Do you have vendors?
Tucker: Um, but you are a leader. So leaders such as yourselves should always be on the lookout for how they can better coach and provide training to their teams. That’s why we want to make this publicly available, uh, anybody, it’ll be published on our youtube channel and it’ll be published on our facebook page. So very easy to share with anyone that you think could benefit from the insights. So lead by example is what I’m saying. Even if there’s some stuff in here that you know, but you’re not necessarily doing it, this is your opportunity to recognize that and start doing those things so that you can better service. You can set a better example for the team members, either unofficial team members or indirect reports are freelancers, anybody that you’re working with. So there’s a lot of stuff in here. When Carol and I originally put together this presentation, it was just, it, it’s so big, it’s overwhelming.
Tucker: So we had to break it into two parts. The first part is today, and I’m going to start off by talking about some universal soft skills, uh, skills that are useful in any situation regardless of context. Then I’m going to turn the microphone, the Webcam, so to speak, over to Carol, who will get into more of the specifics around managing your stakeholders, focusing primarily on client stakeholders, but really applying to any stakeholders in part two, which is upcoming. Stay tuned. I’m follow us on social media so that you can, um, be announced or subscribe to our youtube channel. We’re going to get even deeper into the weeds about managing your team. So managing your internal team members, even if you don’t have official direct rapports, chances are you work with freelancers. You work with vendors, work with all sorts of people, um, that are for all intensive purposes reporting into you.
Tucker: And then we’re going to talk about what I feel is the most important thing of all, which is managing yourself. And we don’t often talk about this because as project managers, sometimes we’re trying to manage everything else, but we forget that we need to manage ourselves and at the end of the day, you’re the only person that you have any real control over. Like I don’t have control over my vendor because I don’t have control over my clients. I don’t have control over my direct reports even, um, I have control over myself, at least when it comes to how I react to things. I can’t control how other people react to things. I can only control how I react to things. So it’s an important thing to discuss. At the end of each of these parts, we want you to walk away with actionable insights so that you can get to work immediately. Start putting these things into practice so that you can get results asap.
Tucker: Excuse me. So talking about universal soft skills, we’re going to start really high level. Then we’re going to bring it down, bring it down, bring it down. And when I’m talking about universal soft skills, I’m talking about what a lot of people would call it. Common Sense, no. One thing I know from just years of experience is that common sense isn’t always that common, so it’s not commonly held by a lot of people and also like I have a lot of common sense ideas like the. I know it’s common sense to do, but it doesn’t mean that I necessarily do those things, so we need to talk about these things. We need to talk about it and hold each other accountable and hold ourselves accountable to make sure that we’re actually dealing these common sense things. I’m gonna start off by talking about three different things that I try to avoid.
Tucker: Three common sense things that I try to avoid. The first one is passive aggression up. We all know passive aggression is bad. Nobody likes passive aggressive people, but no one really. If I asked five different people owed for definition of what it is, passive aggression, I’d get five different answers, so I looked it up and the best definition I found was an urban dictionary, not Oxford English dictionary, not Merriam Webster, urban dictionary. If you’re not familiar with it, google it after this webinar. You’re welcome. It’s awesome, but urban dictionary defines it as this, a character flaw brought on by a person’s inability to deal with their own bitterness, anger or resettlement in an assertive manner, thus becoming a more passive form of hostility. Now, what I like about this is calls at it this hostility. It’s just a passive form of hostility. So keep that in mind as we go through these examples.
Tucker: This first example I see all the time I use it. I’ve used it more than I’d like to admit this. Um, as stated in my email, my previous email dated whatever, I say this all the time and I’ve used this before and I try not to use this now. Why? Because it can be perceived as well. I already told you this, I sent you a previous email about it. You’re annoying me by even asking me about it. That’s why I’m telling you I did this before. My time is more important than yours, right? You’re wasting my time and it can be perceived that way. That’s how I perceive it. When I get an email that says this, so what to do instead? Just don’t say that if someone has a question and you already answered it before, just answered, answered the question, right? It’s not going to kill you to answer it again.
Tucker: You don’t need to say this. So that’s what I try to do. The next thing I’ve tried to just take out of my vocabulary is, the word obviously now was Turkey about obviously is what’s obvious to me might not be obvious to you. What’s obvious to you might not be obvious to me. So when someone asks me a question or what’s the answer to question one, two, three, and I say, well obviously the answer to that question is Xyz. What I’m essentially saying is, well, it’s obvious to me, which means it should be obvious to you, but maybe you’re not as smart as me, so I’m better than you. Is it still a. yeah, it’s a little silly, but I want to make a very important point here. What matters most when communicating with other people isn’t what you intend to say. It’s what they perceive you as saying.
Tucker: This is very important to remember. So even if you intended the usage of a word, like obviously completely innocently, if they perceive it as condescending or if they perceive it as an attack on them, then it doesn’t matter what you intended because that’s how they perceived it, especially over email and chat because you don’t get the benefit of body language. So you don’t pick up on all those cues. Um, last one here is I, I try to remove this is tricky because it’s not black and white. I try to remove the word you from the vocabulary to now you can’t do that completely. But what I mean by a refrain from accusatory statements, don’t say your email was hard to understand. Say I had a hard time understanding the email. Um, if we avoid using that word, you, we can avoid coming off as if we’re attacking that person.
Tucker: Your email was hard to read. That person might perceive that as say, um, that your email was bad. You’re a bad email, right? Or you’re bad project manager, you should lose your job. You don’t know what they’re thinking. So just play it safe and try to, um, make all the communication neutral rather than saying you can use your phones right now. The next thing we want to avoid after a passive aggression is panic. No two ways that we need to avoid panic. We need to avoid panic ourselves, stay cool and collected. We needed to stay solution oriented as project managers. We have teams of people looking to us for leadership. We can’t lose it, we can’t panic, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about here is avoiding spreading panic. And one way that we can do this is with the language that we use.
Tucker: Um, we want to use solution focused language. So avoid words like problems, avoid words like issues. I don’t like using these words because they’re not focused on the solution. They’re focused on the problem and the issue, I like to use the word challenge. You can find your own word, you can find your own thing that you like to use. But I’ll tell you why I like challenge because, and this is something maybe native English speakers like myself will get more than others, but the connotation of the word challenge, the whole idea of that word is a challenge, is something that is meant to be overcome. A challenge is created to be overcome. A challenge is accepted with the purpose of overcoming it. So the idea behind the challenge is that you want to overcome it. Problems, issues, or just problems and issues that might. And they might be fixed.
Tucker: They might not, that they, they are what they are. So that’s why I liked the word challenge because then I can talk about here’s the challenge, then here’s what we’re doing to overcome it. Instead of we have a problem, we have an issue, crisis panic. So try to avoid those two words. Now these next words, I’m not saying you should avoid these words. I’m saying you’re sort of avoid the actions of blame and fault if you’re working in an environment where when something goes wrong and the first thing that people want to do is figure out who to blame, figure out whose fault it is, then I, I hate to break it to you, but you’re working in kind of a toxic environment and that’s, that’s okay. And then just, you know, every office environment or a corporate environment has its own quirks. But this is something that, this is a challenge you need to address internally because this, this environment is not great.
Tucker: Um, rather than focusing on who to blame or whose fault it is, the first thing that you want to focus on is how do we solve this problem? How do we overcome this challenge? Then afterwards you can start digging deeper and because I’m not saying that you don’t need to get to the bottom of problems, you should definitely definitely have a standard documented root cause analysis or corrective action plan process in place. And part of that is finding out where the problem occurred, what caused it. So how, how we make it not happen again, Carol is going to talk about that further later on in the presentation, but that’s after the fact. Um, when in crisis mode, fault and blame have nothing, nothing to do with anything. It’s all about all hands on deck trying to find the solution. No. The third thing I want to try to avoid is absolute.
Tucker: I’m really bad at this. Um, what do I mean by absolutes? Note no is an absolute unacceptable, isn’t absolute. Um, and why do I say I’m bad at this point? If you can ask anybody on my team who I’ve ever worked with probably here at nimsy insights or any of my previous employers, uh, to me, in my logical mind, if the answer’s no, then let’s be quick. Let’s say no. If something’s unacceptable to be quick, let’s call it unacceptable. The problem with these though is these are not. These words do not promote conversation, that you’re not promote good communication. They end good communication. When I say no, period, then I’m ending the conversation. Next subject, let’s talk about something else now. I said, no, and that’s, if you think about it, it’s quite disrespectful when I do that, I’m being disrespectful to my teammates or my clients or my vendors.
Tucker: Um, so try to avoid these. If you have to say no, then you can say that’s no, but then you can explain yourself and said, you know, here’s what your, why, my reasoning behind that. At least afford people the respect of explaining if you need to give an absolute than what’s, what’s the motivation behind that? And equally dangerous, uh, absolutes are these never and always know if you’re going to use a word like never or always then you’re, you’re basically, you’re making a commitment there and you, you never want to commit to an absolute. If you say, I will never show up to work late one day, one day you might miss the bus and you’re going to show up to work late. And so just be really careful with these, what you’re committing yourself to, especially if it’s in writing and be very clear.
Tucker: Do not. If you need to use these words, don’t use them lately. They are serious words. So those are three things that you should avoid. Uh, next thing I want to talk about is I want to expand upon this idea we’ve already brought up of perception because the intent doesn’t matter so much as the perception of whoever’s receiving the message and perception really is reality and in that context, and one of the most important things to remember is that first impression really, really, really, really, really, really, really matter. So within the first seven seconds of meeting somebody, they’ve already formed a first impression of you. And studies have shown that it takes a long time to change that first impression. Some people argue that it’s impossible to completely erase a, the results of a first impression, particularly a bad first impression. Um, I’ll leave that to the psychologist to study.
Tucker: There’s different studies with different results out there, but I’ve seen too many good project managers have career limiting, um, limit their career because they had received a bad impression either from a client or from a coworker or a boss. And once they get that, whether it’s deserved or not, in the situations I’m talking about, we’re not deserved. They work excellent pms, make deliveries on time, meeting all the Kpis, but maybe they just weren’t, they didn’t smile enough or they weren’t friendly enough so they got a bad first impression. Then the client goes to the manager and says, oh, I want a new PM. Um, and they’re the clients that they’re the boss Carolyn’s going to talk about later. And it’s sad. It’s always sad to see that. So don’t limit yourself. I’m always on point. Every time you leave the house, you’re potentially making new first impressions with New People that you meet.
Tucker: A, another useful universal skill is, especially in our industry, is really adapting how you speak to non native English speakers. If you are an English speaker or if you, even if you yourself are a non native English speaker, I’m maybe this should be called how to speak to limited proficiency English speakers. And it’s important in our industry because we, we work in such an international industry, but there’s some things to remember that I’ve learned of. One of first things I learned early on was yes, doesn’t mean yes. If someone says yes to a question, you can’t, you can’t trust that not because they’re trying to deceive you, just because different cultures have different ways of communicating affirmative and negative, so never asked a yes or no question that you can’t verify elsewhere. For example, don’t ask if someone understand something because they’ll say, yes, yes, I understand.
Tucker: What you do instead is ask them to repeat, repeat back to you what, what you just told them. So, um, you give them instructions and say, okay, I’ve given you the instructions. Can you summarize what you’re going to do for me by tomorrow? Whenever the deadliness then you listen to their summary and if everything matches up to what you had told them, you’re good. If there’s anything off, then you know you need to go back and work with them a little bit better on providing better instructions. Should go without saying, should be obvious, but talk slowly. Talk clearly. Avoid using idioms in, um, random things that this is hard for me. I’m an American. I speak like I have a lot of chewing gum in my mouth. I use all sorts of slang and different sayings that nobody knows what I’m talking about. Um, when talking to limited proficiency English people though I really tried to slow it down, limit the use of slang and repeating what, what you say can be a very useful tool.
Tucker: What you’re really doing here is you’re giving the listener, you’re doing a favor to the listener. You’re giving them an opportunity. If they didn’t understand you the first time, maybe they understood you the second time or the third time. Now you don’t need to repeat the same sentence verbatim over and over again. What I’m saying is you’d say something like, Oh, can you please make sure to review the file before you sending it to me? In other words, I want to make sure that the file is looked at by you and then it sent to me after the review is completed, which means basically that you’re going to complete the review. And then once you send it to me, I’m going to check it over. Um, so you see I’m just repeating the same thing, but I’m phrasing it in different ways. They didn’t understand me the first time. Maybe they understood me the second or third time that I said it.
Tucker: Now we’re going to get into this. This isn’t so much practical, but this is kind of theoretical, but it’s very, very important to understand why do people react badly. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve had a client screaming at us on the phone. We’ve had a boss being passive aggressive to us. We’ve had or a direct report, someone that reports to us. I’m testing us and pushing our limits are treating us poorly, so what does that happen? Why do people do that? And it’s. It’s real simple. I’m they do it because they feel threatened. People act poorly because they feel disrespected and both of these things that they’re rooted in fear. So poor behavior, bad behavior is almost always coming from a place of fear and what are they afraid of? They’re afraid of one of two things. Either one, not getting something that they want or to losing something that they already have and pretty much everything.
Tucker: Most things can be boiled down to these things because it makes feel powerless and ended and people want to make it about them. We’re going to talk about that a little bit later, but it’s also important to remember that nobody thinks at the time that they’re reacting poorly, like no one thinks in the moment that maybe I’m overreacting to this situation. Maybe I shouldn’t be yelling at my teammates. Um, everyone at that time thinks that they’re reacting, reacting with the appropriate, with the appropriate response. So it’s important to remember that because you really, really, really want to try to put yourself in people’s shoes when someone’s reacting badly. That’s either yelling at you. Remember, this person is coming from a place of fear. How is this affecting them? They don’t think they’re overreacting. Maybe they’re feeling powerless and that’s why they’re reacting this way. Um, and really it’s because they’re being self centered.
Tucker: They are focused on how the situation that’s causing them to react poorly is affecting them. And this idea of self centerdness. I just want to spend a moment on because it really is the universal principle. If you take nothing else from my section of this presentation today, take this. We are self centered, all of us. I am self centered. You are self centered. Human beings are self centered. It we have evolved to be self centered because we know people that are self centered, that they live longer to pass on their genes. It’s an evolutionary thing. I think about myself and my needs and my wants way more than anybody else in the world thinks about my needs and my wants way more than my wife thinks about me. Way More than my mama thinks about me. Way More than anybody else thinks about me. You think about yourself way more than anybody else thinks about you.
Tucker: This is just natural because when I say everybody self centered, I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m making a judgment call saying they’re self centered jerks. Um, because normally we think of self centeredness is bad. It’s not bad in this context, which is important to recognize that. It’s important to remember because if you remember that, what people really want to know is how it affects them, then you can better communicate with them in a way with them in a way that communicates what they want to know, which is how it affects them. So keep that in mind when you’re dealing with anybody. Um, people, people love thinking about themselves, people love talking about how things affect them. So it, it’s a very useful tool once you really internalize that on how to better relate and build relationships with people. So with that, I think I have talks way too much. I’m sorry. I get really excited about this kind of stuff. I’m going to at this point, turn the microphone and the Webcam over to my friend Carol here. It was going to talk to you about managing stakeholders and given me. Bear with me one moment while I make the switch and we’ll get carol up and running.
Caroline: Thank you so much. And now let’s talk about manage our stakeholders. And when he comes to stakeholders, the first question you might have in mind is what is a stakeholder? So let’s talk about a definition first. The definition of a stakeholder can be very broad, but basically it means the most important and most significant significant person in the process. They’re usually a decision makers. They have something to gain and something to lose. And even if they don’t do anything, they can still be affected. So in this context as they could be a client, a vendor, a team member, a boss, a manager, so on, so forth. And let’s go to the next slide. So the first question we would like to challenge you all is how well do you think you know your stakeholder? And there are a few questions you can ask yourself. For example, what are their biggest challenges at work? Do you know about their challenges and what are their strengths and weaknesses and how do they apply to the challenges and what are their goals in terms of their personal goals, their career goals, and how is their performance measured by their own stakeholders?
Caroline: And then more importantly, how well does your stakeholder know you? And this could involve many things such as how your stakeholders remember you. How do they think about you and how do they recognize your achievements? How can I help you? How can I support you and do they know the answers to the questions here and why have you done to stand out to make that happen? So again, it is very important to know your stakeholders pretty well, but then it is equally important for them to know you very well in order for you to help them succeed and in order to help you, uh, in order for them to help you succeed too. But let’s talk about what happens when the APP thinkable happens.
Caroline: Will you screw up? You screw up. Don’t fret. Don’t worry. I’m sure that you know for all of us at some point in our career, this has happened before. We’ve all made mistakes before, but when you scrub, your stakeholder need to know or they need to be made aware in what you do. And again, this happens to everyone because we all strive to do more. We tried to, we try to achieve more, set higher goals. We’re all stretching ourselves and sooner or later there will always be things that need to be explained or to be dealed with. So when you screw up, the first question you want to ask yourself is, can you face it? If you can fix it, do you need to tell the client? If you really have to tell the client, then what do you need to tell the client about?
Caroline: Well, we have a formula for you to follow. There are four steps. Number one is what happened exactly, and number two is why and how it happened. Number three, how do you fix it? And number four, why wouldn’t happen again? And again, not everything needs to be relayed to the client. The client doesn’t have to know how the sausage is made. You just want to eat a sausage, but sometimes you just have to tell the client something and that’s why there’s a formula here. But again, more than anything, what they want is the reassurance they need to be able to trust you again to work with you again. And that’s why number three and number four are so much more important.
Caroline: So let’s talk a little bit about, apologies usually has the most thing that the apologies are an important factor, but what are they really need is for you to take action. They want to see you fix the situation and how you can prevent it from happening again and there’s. That’s why there’s such a thing called CAAP action plan. You can find lots of templates online, but this is a great way, a great tool to formalize the process and to show your stakeholders whether it’s your clients or your team members that you’re taking this seriously and steps are taken to make sure that similar things will happen. Again. It’s absolutely okay to apologize, but most of the time, apologies may not be enough at times. It’s also, again, not to apologize, especially if you’re apologizing for the same thing. You don’t want endless apologies. You don’t want to overdo it, and when one is to take the responsibility and sometimes just taking that responsibility is enough.
Caroline: Remember, do not blame the buck stops with you and we will cover more about ownership in our next software, in our next webinar session. But basically the perception we recommend you have is whatever happens, there is always something that you could have done to make this situation better, and there are going to be times that you are in doubt. Um, when that happens, don’t apologize. Uh, sympathize. Express how you can see their opinion, lay out the facts and always remember to take the responsibility. And again, if the client or if your stakeholders, if all they want is an apology, give it to them. It’s free, but it’s very important to focus on the solution. And the next steps.
Caroline: Now what happens if it is your stakeholder that screws up? So let’s reverse the role. What I want to talk about first is the word crisis. What happens if there’s a crisis? I want to talk about a Chinese character of crisis. In Chinese, the word crisis is composed of tool characters in each of the character has this separate meaning. The first character means danger. And the second character moves opportunity. So in other words, in Chinese, the word crisis is danger plus opportunity. So what does it, what does that mean when the prices like this happened? This is great news for you and it’s great because this is your opportunity to add value and to save your stakeholders being a hero, but don’t be the invisible hero. You need to make sure they know exactly what you did to save them, your stakeholders do, and there’s no time for modesty and of course you don’t want to brag, but you do need to explain very well to your stakeholders exactly how much effort it took in order for you to rescue them so they can fully appreciate you and do that. Take you for granted and sometimes you may have to charge extra for the additional work. It’s okay, just offer options and give them the perception of choice.
Caroline: Next, what happens if there isn’t a crisis, but there’s just a disagreement. How do you deal with the conflict with your stakeholder? So we all know that the customer is not always right, but guess what? They pay your salary and aside from that, if they are wrong, is that your job to tell themselves and are you paid to tell them to tell your customers or your stakeholders that they are wrong? And most importantly, are you absolutely sure that they are wrong and think about it, what do you have to gain from proving that they’re wrong? And it goes back to what we’re talking about just now, taking responsibility, taking ownership. If there’s something that went wrong, you probably had a chance to prevent it. And again, the perspective you need to take is something that you can actually do or could’ve done in events to make the situation better. In other words, would you rather be right or would you rather have a happy customer you want to win? Or do you want to maintain the relationship? And I think we can all agree that most of the time the relationship is far, far more valuable than any victory you can win over your client or your stakeholder.
Caroline: So let’s talk about communication. It is very important to match the client’s communication style. And this goes back to how well you know your stakeholder. How will your say, holder or anyone like you is based on a sense of connection. And it’s a universal law. It’s. It applies everywhere too. You need to build a sense of familiarity by doing things in common with them. For example, do you speak or communicate in the same way you use the same vocabulary? Do you have the same sense of humor with your stakeholders and all of this can help build the relationship with your stakeholder and they are a few more straightforward aspects such as are they formal, are they informal? What are their preferred medium of communication in? Sometimes your stakeholders could just prefer a one line email and that could just be fine, so again, it’s very important to match the client’s communication style or any stakeholders communication style in order to build a sense of connection, but there are times that you don’t want to match and we’re not talking about when, for example, when they are completely disorganized, you can’t be disorganized just because they’re disorganized.
Caroline: It is your job instead to make sense out of the madness and sometimes the client can be unresponsive. Then you should always respond immediately during the business hours and the next one can be a little bit tough. Sometimes it is when they’re being passive aggressive or they’re even openly hostile. When your stakeholders are negative, unprofessional, this is the time that you need to be the most professional and the most compassionate and just like what Tucker was saying before, why do people react? That slide? It’s personal, so one thing you should always keep in mind is whatever they’re saying has a lot more to do with who they are and what they’re going through, whether it’s personally or professionally. Then he has to do with you, so don’t take it personally.
Caroline: Here, we want to talk about some of the, some of the main team best practices, so we highly recommend weekly or biweekly meetings. It’s because if you just do monthly meeting or bimonthly meeting is really hard to remember. What happened last month. It’s better to have a 10 minute quick meeting every week, every other day that you have an hour long meeting once a month and remember it’s okay to have meetings that are very short. You can even cancel meetings if there’s no updates. It’s completely fine and we also highly recommend video chats. Video chats are much better than phone conversations and this is because we all read emotions in a fraction of a second. The closer we are or the easier we can see each other, um, the easier it is to know who you are, to understand your emotions. The more abstract form of communication, the more difficult it is to build that sense of trust in a person and the message. And remember, it’s all about building that sense of connection and familiarity.
Caroline: Always come prepared to the meeting and remember it is your job to run a meeting and we’re going to cover more about that in a little bit. But remember, one thing, everyone is busy. You’re a stakeholder, can be extremely busy. We use, send them emails. Don’t assume that they’ve opened their emails or they actually read everything that they open. Sometimes you would get a thank you note as a response to the email that you sent, but getting a thing, you know, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve read it and it’s just because the stakeholder doesn’t ask something. It doesn’t mean that they don’t want to know. In going back to the email communication, sometimes you just need to sit down with someone to make sure that they’ve heard you and the email is actually the best use after you’ve had a discussion in person on the phone or via video chat with them to come from or to memorialize that what you both agreed on, so we talked about just now that your job is to run a meeting, you always have to be ready.
Caroline: It’s easy to assume that maybe my stakeholder will be running the meeting, but you should always be ready to facilitate the meeting and here are a few steps to explain how to run a meeting. For example, you should always send agenda 24 hours or before the meeting and you want to ask all the participants if there’s anything they would like to add to agenda and of course your meeting in order meeting agenda should be very easy to follow, easy to read, very concise and precise and organized. Of course, make sure all the necessary people will be there. Follow up with the people that are missing or absent. If it is a client meeting, it is also very important to check with your team members beforehand so everyone is prepared and everyone is there on time or early in terms of group meetings such as when you’re having a meeting with your clients and then there’s like five or 10 people on your side.
Caroline: You need to not only get everyone prepared and they’re beyond time, but you also need to make sure everyone’s personable and energetic, prepared and talkative and the week. Um, and there shouldn’t be any awkward silence. Um, I’ve had experience before. This happens the most commonly when there’s a maintain between maybe five more or 10 more people. There’s the fuel people on the client side. There’s a few I’m court side and the clients once in a while they may make some jokes or they want to do some small talks and it’s difficult to have so many people or to know who and when and how you respond to those small talks. So there could be some awkward silence. And one of the good solution to this issue is you can assign, you can designate someone to be the Talker, to avoid silence like this. And next at the beginning of the meeting, always let people know that you will be taking notes because you might be typing, you might be writing thing.
Caroline: You want to give people a heads up so they don’t think that you’re not focused or you’re multitasking and taking notes. Take good notes during the meeting. There are many ways to take notes and share notes. It is also very important, two signals the same day that the meeting has occurred while the memory is still fresh. You can always store your nose in a central location. You can even share your notes live in real time these days as a zoom meeting. Um, you can just type up and everyone can see your notes and then you can share that immediately afterwards. Uh, the notes should always be searchable for future use. And there are many tools these days you can use smartsheet. It is cloud based. If it’s between your team, you can use one note. It’s a great tool to and remember in your notes, there should always include action items and the action items should be very specific and focused including information such as who is taking one action, at what time, what is it that line and how is that trackable and it is very easy to feel like I’m too busy for meeting.
Caroline: No, there’s so many things going on. We have a fuel solutions for Q, a. We talk about how we should send meeting agenda before the meeting so your notes should be built based on the previously prepared meeting agenda. You’re just adding additional information discussed at the meeting so that will save you time and you can also assign a scribe, a person who can help you taking me notes, uh, but be very careful. You need to make sure that the person is well trained and knows how to write to meet. He knows in a very effective and appropriate way that is shareable afterwards with your stakeholders and during the meeting, if there’s anything that’s unclear, don’t be shy. Speak up and ask questions and remember, your nose should always be easy to follow and easy to read and should always be very concise.
Caroline: Next, we want to talk a little bit about the quarterly business reviews Qbr, and this is especially important with the clients. This usually happens once in a quarter and we highly recommend this because it’s a great chance to have high quality facetime with your stakeholders such as your clients. It is your chance to showcase your value. And to give you some examples, I usually like to start a Qbr deck, uh, with some data analysis in the previous quarter, for example, our volume, the cost, the languages that we handled our on time delivery rate, our error rate, and other trends. And then I like to talk about the challenges in the previous quarter and more importantly, the solutions to the challenges. And here’s my favorite. I love to talk about the success stories in the Qbr sessions because it is very important to tell the client how you’ve gone above and beyond for them, whether it is to save their costs to both efficiency or to make their life easier.
Caroline: Tell them stories, throwing some data, throwing some numbers, and they would really appreciate it and you also want to talk about the goals that were set in the previous quarter, how you’ve achieved the goals or are still in progress and a horse. You want to set new goals for the next quarter and it is also very good because you can ask for visibility into their forecasts and identify possibilities for the new business in other potential opportunities. And uh, when it comes to a Qbr, it’s also a great idea to send the Qbi deck for your client at least two days before the meeting and follow up after the Qbr session with your clients in terms of updated notes and action items and add qbr or really in any meetings if there are anything that you are scared about such as a mistake that was made, plan for it to come up because a welcome up and most importantly is you have to address it directly.
Caroline: They’ll hide. You just need to plan for it and have a strong plan of action for dealing with it. And you will be okay. So last but not least, remember you’ve only got two jobs. One is to make your stakeholder look good to his and her boss and the other one is to make your stakeholders life easier. And earlier we started with how well you know you’re a stakeholder because this helps you accomplish both of the goals. We also talked about crisis management. We call while the importance of communication, communication styles, and then we talked about making meetings more efficient and time effective. So when you are able to handle these three things effectively, you will be accomplishing both of these jobs because you’ve handled issues that came up. You’ve streamlined communication and you have parent meetings into a great tool for collaboration. Is that just time wasted in yet another meeting? And this will definitely make your client’s life much easier because you’re achieving more for them. You’re helping them to succeed and by extension they will look better in front of their bosses, their own stakeholders, because you will be making it very clear how they can relay your group success is through their own stakeholders. So that includes my part and I will turn the floor back to packer and Sandra,
Tucker: thank you so much Carolyn. That was awesome. Uh, this is tucker again. I just want to jump in here and do a quick summary of what we talked about today. In this part, one of the Webinar I talked about, universal soft skills. These are skills that can be applicable to pretty much any situation. It can be applied anywhere. Carol took it one step further and talked about how to manage our stakeholders, bandaging or clients, internal and external stakeholders. Now if you register for part two of this Webinar, we’re going to be taking even further talking about how to manage a team of your internal and external teams of folks that may be reporting to. And then the most exciting and interesting part of all, which I’m really enthusiastic about is how to manage yourself, how to project manage. The project manager is going to be an interesting webinar. So I highly encourage you guys to register and to join us on that. And with that, I’m going to turn it back over to our master of ceremonies is standard only Vanna Sandra, give me one moment and I’ll switch you over.
Sandra: Thank you very much tucker and caroline for that presentation guys. Unfortunately we won’t have time for a q and a session next time, but just leave your questions below and we’ll come back to you in the next couple of days. We will be answering your questions in social media. Remember also that all of our webinars are available in our youtube channel, so subscribe and the bd will also be available in facebook. So again, subscribe and we’re also available in linkedin and twitter. So please follow us and if you want to get regular updates from us, just joined our subscriber list names that are come. Thank you very much everybody for joining in and see you next time.

 

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