Category Archives: Meetings

Why You Should Set Deadlines With Your Virtual Team. And 3 Tips That Show You How (Tip #2 is Crucial)

Deadlines Virtual Teams

Most human beings are inherently lazy – they have an instinctive tendency to procrastinate with tasks that don’t have a sense of urgency associated with them.

I know because I’m one of them.

I typically delay working on stuff whenever I get the chance.

I come up with false alibis such as waiting until I’m in a better mood or until I get more information before starting on a task.

There are many psychological reasons why people procrastinate, but a huge reason why we take forever to finish a task is something called Parkinson’s Law.

Parkinson’s Law says that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

What this means is that if a task would typically require 1 hour to complete, then if you assign it a 4 hour deadline to it, it will take up the full 4 hours to get done.

In other words, if a task does NOT have a deadline associated with it, it will NEVER get done.

That’s the primary reason why you need to set deadlines.

But deadlines have other advantages in addition to avoiding Parkinson’s Law from kicking in.

Deadlines develop a sense of urgency, hold team members accountable, provide a sense of encouragement, help in determining priorities, and provide a sense of accomplishment (after the deadlines are met).

They’re a win-win for everyone. So use them.

But how do you set deadlines?

There are 3 rules that you should keep in mind to set deadlines strategically.

#1 Be Reasonable

The first rule is to be reasonable about it. If you know that a task needs around a week to complete, then don’t ask for a deadline in a couple of days.

While this sounds obvious, it is something that is commonly abused.

If you don’t know how long a task would take, then simply ask for feedback. And if you’re worried about not getting an honest answer from your team, then ask for optimistic and pessimistic estimates, and average those out.

#2 Be 100% Clear-cut

The second rule is to be 100% clear-cut about when you want something done. Deadlines are ineffective if they’re ambiguous. You need to mention the specific day, date and time that a task should be completed by. And if your team members live in different time zones, then mention that as well.

For example, instead of saying “I need this done in the next couple of days,” you should say “I need this done by Friday, June 9 at 3pm US Eastern Time.

#3 ALWAYS SET THEM

The third and final rule is to ALWAYS set deadlines. Every single task should have a deadline associated with it. Period.

Otherwise, Parkinson’s Law takes over.

If you don’t really have a deadline, then you can use a fake one (no one’s going to really know ;) ). And if the deadline is a few weeks out, then use an intermediate soft deadline as a checkpoint to make sure progress is being made on the task.

Again, always set deadlines.

Cheers,

Hassan

P.S. I published a Kindle book called “Influencing Virtual Teams” where I share more cool tactics like this one. Check it out by clicking here.

6 Uncommon Tips for Running a Virtual Meeting

Virtual Meetings That Work

Article in SOLVE Magazine

I recently wrote an article for the premier edition of SOLVE Magazine, a  new publication created by Time Warner Cable Business Class.

The article discusses 6 unconventional tips about how to run virtual meetings.

The title is “Remote Meetings That Get Results: Keep your employees on the same page, even when they’re not in the same city,” and is a relatively short read (1 page).

I’ll think you’ll find some of those tips quite helpful, especially the “Don’t bother with meeting minutes” one.

You can read the article by clicking here.

The Ultimate List of Virtual Team Technology Tools

Virtual Team Technology ToolsThe following is a list of around 40+  technology tools that you can use to manage your virtual team.

To keep things simple, I’ve categorized the tools into 10 different
functional categories.

However, keep in mind that those categories are loosely defined, and one tool can technically belong to more than one category (because of overlapping features and frequent tool updates).

Note: None of the links below are affiliate links, so feel free to click away :)

1. Collaboration Tools

Tools that help you collaborate with your team through a central hub for sharing information

2. Project Management Tools

Tools that help you manage and plan your projects with your team through task assignments and scheduling

3. Document Storage/ File Sharing Tools

Tools that help you store and share your files securely among your team

4. Meeting Tools

Tools that help you meet with your team through web conferencing and collaboration

5. High-End Video Conferencing Tools

Tools that allow you to meet with your team through super high definition or real size video conferencing

6. Video & Audio Conferencing Tools

Tools that allow you to meet with your team through video and audio conferencing

7. Instant Messaging Tools

Tools that allow you to chat in real-time with your team members

8. Document Co-creation Tools

Tools that allow you to co-create and co-edit documents or visuals in real-time with your team members

9. Social Network Tools

Tools that allow you to collaborate and interact with your team members through a social network

10. Scheduling Tools

Tools that help you to schedule common meeting times with your team members

Hope you found this helpful! Please let me know in the comments below if there are any other tools that I might have missed.

It’s Out! “Time Zone Meeting Coordination” Free Ebook Published!

UPDATE: This ebook is no longer available automatically. However, if you’d still like to receive a free copy of it, please sign up with your email in the column on your right, and after you receive my free video presentation, please email me back asking for it and I’ll send you the link to download it. 

I just finished writing and publishing my new ebook and I’m pretty excited about it! The ebook’s title is:

Time Zone Meeting Coordination in 7 Easy Steps: How to schedule virtual team meetings across different time zones without losing your hair”

I wrote this specifically for project managers who lead virtual teams given that I know how frustrating it could get while managing multiple team member schedules.

The ebook is a simple 7-step guide which is full of screenshots that will help guide you through the process of time zone scheduling.

It also includes a Free Microsoft Excel “Time Zone” Template that will save you some time in creating your own spreadsheet (I reference this template in my ebook).

Here are a couple of sample pages from the book:

I’m giving the book out for free (no strings attached ;) )

If you’ve subscribed to my newsletter, then you should have already received a link to download the ebook and template.

If you have not yet subscribed, you can get a copy by entering your email below (underneath the “share this” section) or in the column on the right, and clicking on the “Free Instant Access” button (you’ll receive the download link after you confirm your email address) then please sign up by entering your email below or in the column on the right, and after you receive my free video presentation, please email me back asking for it and I’ll send you the link to download it.

Cheers!

How To Increase Confidence and Reduce Stress in 2 Minutes Using Simple Power Poses

I just watched this video and thought it was remarkable.

Professor Amy Cuddy from the Harvard Business School conducted research on “Power Poses” and the impact they have on your confidence and stress levels.

Apparently, doing simple power poses (like standing with your hands on your hips or putting your feet up on a desk) for only 2 minutes before a meeting, presentation, or performance could give you a significant confidence boost that makes you perform at a much better level.

It’s incredible how simple changes in your body language could greatly affect how you behave or feel.

Watch the short 6 minute TIME video here:

The next time I’m getting on a call with an executive, I’m trying some of those  poses out on my desk!

In the meantime, let me know if they work out for you :)