The Dog Days of Summer - Has Nothing to do with Dogs

Published 08/16/2021
 
It’s the dog days of summer, that period of time between mid-July and late August. Surprisingly, the term “dog days” has nothing to do with dogs. According to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days we experience this time of year. They were historically the period following the rise of the star system Sirius (known colloquially as the "Dog Star"), which ancient astrology connected with heatdrought, sudden thunderstormslethargyfevermad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
 
Why is this important right now.? First, this is the time of year to acknowledge that our spirits and efforts seem to be flagging a bit. Of course, it’s not just the “dog days”. It’s also the COVID 19 Delta surge that has most of us a little down. Just when we thought we were out of the woods, the pandemic forest seems to be closing in on us.
 
If this topic brings you down a bit, I have good news. It’s only temporary. The clouds will part, and the sun will shine again.
 
But there is something different that is here to stay. Virtual meetings and work are not going away. The business world has discovered that employees like working from home, and without the need to finance expensive office complexes, companies save money.
 
With that in mind, businesses need to double-down on their efforts to make the most of the time their employees spend in virtual world. Just because zoom allows us more contact, doesn’t mean we are making more real connections.
 
So, courtesy of the Think Fast, Talk Smart podcasts, here are some practices we need to work on.
 
Attention if the most valuable commodity in today's marketplace
 
1. Whether it’s in company meetings or other virtual client engagements, we need to keep our discussions relevant and engaging. Attention is the most valuable commodity in today’s marketplace. Keeping the attention of your audience is key.
 
2. Especially in virtual groups, we need to focus on the speaker. If your co-workers, supervisor, or client see you looking to the side or down at your keyboard, it’s going to be obvious that you’re not engaged and not listening. Keep your eyes focused on the camera. One tip is to keep a photo of someone you like taped next to camera.
 
3. Graphic designers will like this next one. If you’re going to be sharing slides, make sure they’re visually appealing and uncluttered.
 
4. Lastly, be aware of the advantages and limitations of the virtual media. When using hand gestures, keep your hands about shoulder height. Vary your voice and use emotive words that better express what you’re saying. Make sure you are well lit. Facial expressions are critical in communication and if you’re not well lit, they won’t come through.
 
Remember, when in any meeting, virtual or in-person, your audience is giving you their time and attention. Be respectful of it and use it to the best of your ability.
 
It's not enough to provide employees with a screen and a keyboard and tell them to have at it. Time tracking and reporting may be appropriate for some jobs. Training is important for everyone working virtually, including instruction on the technology as well as "zoom" comportment, and the company's virtual rules. It is essential that they make the most of the technology and understand the nuances that come with the cybernetic environment.
 
Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine said “The only factor becoming scarce in the world of abundance is human attention.”
 
If you would like to know more about how to get the most out of your employee's on-screen time, as well as what type of training may be best for your organization, our professionals at ASN would love to have that conversation with you. Give us a call.