Cellphones and Doorbells and Children...Oh My! Working from home can be a scary and distracting thing. Especially if you are also trying to juggle childcare schedules, deliveries, and your smart phone pinging and buzzing every five seconds with some new tweet from your favorite pop culture YouTube star. As scary as Lions and Tigers, and Bears? Oh yes Dorothy...you bet your OZ it is! It's a wonder how we get anything done.
Carving out time for peace and quiet to get your work done during a pandemic is a very tricky thing. Heck, I'm doing it now: trying to bang out this blog post with a slim thirty minute window of time before I take over parental duties so my wife can jump in our home office. It’s a mess, and a challenge, but it is something you must do if you're a featured speaker. Here are 5 practical actions you can take to remove distractions so you can be your most effective virtual presenter self:
Plan ahead: It shouldn't be a surprise to you that you're supposed to give a forty-five minute presentation for the upcoming virtual conference you agreed to be part of two months ago, or the weekly meeting your expected to run. Work it out with your family, co-workers, friends so that you have ninety (90) minutes (15 for prep and troubleshooting, 45 mins for content, 30 mins for Q/A and/or event time-frame overages) free of interruptions, welcomed or otherwise. This includes pets, which means Fluffy and Fido need to be locked out of the room, on a walk, or in pet-sitting situation.
Silence your computer: I think we forget how bing-y and ding-y our home desktop computers and laptops can be. But these devices are most likely the devices on which you'll be presenting, so keep them quiet. Turn off all notifications and shut down all unnecessary applications.
Silence your smart phone: I'm not going to go as far as power-down your phone because you might need it for brief note peeking. But, put it on silent mode, Do Not Disturb, turn off the vibration for silent rings. Stop that thing from buzzing, pinging, and beeping.
Silence your home or work phones: See above.
Silence other noise making devices around the house: Doorbells, deliveries (have them leave it on the front step this time), the chirping of the smoke detector you refuse to change (CHANGE IT!), Alexa, Nest, the alarm system that announces what door is opening and closing, your fax machine (do you still have a fax machine), etc...
The Camera is Your Audience, So Engage It
Like it or not, your camera is now your audience. Tip #5 on how to engage the camera...coming soon!
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