Ideas that will shake you: Am I just a postage stamp on the screen?

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Written by Nigel Paine on 5 March 2021

We are literally trapped in our own space. Unable to travel or go on holiday, and our work is mediated through Teams, Webex or Zoom. It is a position that would have been unimaginable only a year ago, and yet now we are mostly acculturated but not enthusiastic.

We have accepted our fate and adapted our habits to cope.

We think nothing of Zoom birthdays, anniversaries and endless work meetings. But there is danger in being so nonchalant. Nonchalance is not a good look on a screen. We barely notice when we click the next link and the connect button. 

This can be a real issue for the unwary. You need to put your best foot forward if you want to make an impact and establish your presence. It is far too easy to be just another small postage stamp on a very big screen: taken for granted and mostly ignored!

You want everyone to be left with the impression that you are a valuable member of the team, and you are helping to get your organisation up and running.

There is an A B C for making your presence felt. Have that in your head when you connect, and your team will be amazed at how you now leap out of the screen. This is one way to get noticed.

The A is for Action: the same-old-same-old does not work. Just being yourself, marginalises you much more dramatically than being quiet in a face to face meeting. In these circumstances you virtually disappear. Crank it up by 50%. Make a point of saying 'hi', ask people how they are, confirm that you have the right agenda. Be happy to see everyone (again).

B is for Business focus: Understand what your organisation needs from you and how you can contribute to the big challenges or issues. Come prepared with offers of help or responses to each item on the agenda. Do not sit there covertly texting or planning your next Netflix escape.

C is for Contribute: Think about what message or impression you want to leave at every meeting. Have a burning point that you want to get over and make sure you do. If it does not emerge from the conversation, then ask for a voice. 'I have one point to add…'. Offer help and then actually deliver.

Then, finally, say goodbye to everyone and don’t just disappear without a word.

Essentially you want everyone to know you were there. You want everyone to be left with the impression that you are a valuable member of the team, and you are helping to get your organisation up and running. Also, that you care about your fellow team members and you demonstrate by words and actions that they are important to you in spite of not being with them for a year.

So don’t under any circumstances appear; apathetic, bored, clueless and detached. My ABC is better and more helpful to you. And this stuff works; but the only way to prove that is for you to give it a go.  These are hard times; don’t make it any harder for yourself than is necessary.


About the author

Nigel Paine is a change-focused leader with a unique grasp of media, learning and development in the public, private and academic sectors.

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