How You Can Make a Stronger Impact During Virtual Meetings – Stuart Fedderson

Since the start of the pandemic and the mass pivot to virtual ways of conducting business, many managers have found it challenging to connect and lead remotely. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome Stuart Fedderson, public speaking coach and the Founder of The Fedderson Formula, who shares his strategies for successfully leading and managing remote clients and employees. Stuart has given over 400 Speeches, was the recipient of the Best Speaker Award with Toastmasters, and has over 11,000 followers on TikTok.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thank you so much, Stuart, for joining us on the show today.

Stuart Fedderson:
Of course, Jim, thank you for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. As I mentioned today before we got recording here today, we wanted to have you on because we get so many requests and people that are interested in having coaches on the show to talk to them about how to make a more impactful presentation, or how to even get up on the stage and talk to people. Now, today’s new stage is Zoom as we’re talking to you today.

Stuart Fedderson:
That’s right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And you may be speaking to a group of 10 or a group of 10,000 virtually. So thanks so much for taking the time with us. For those people that are not as familiar with the Fedderson Formula as we are here at the show, tell us a little bit about your company and what services you provide.

Stuart Fedderson:
Of course. So I actually started the Fedderson Formula clear back in high school when myself struggled with presentation and speech anxiety, believe it or not. And so when I was there in high school, I started keeping a public speaking research journal and that public research journal really carried me through high school, carried me through college, through Toastmasters and it eventually turned into what is now known an as the Fedderson Formula.

Stuart Fedderson:
And our mission at the Fedderson Formula is to help clients get the upper hand in their career and their social life. So we teach not only public speaking skills, but also virtual speaking skills. Because as you know, virtual speaking skills are the new norm in our post-COVID environment. So a lot of my clients, to your point, we are seeking that virtual speaking prowess to know what to do, how to connect with the audiences and their listeners as well.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So is that to say, Stuart, you could be a great public speaker, but not so good on the virtual side and vice versa?

Stuart Fedderson:
You know what? Honestly, Jim public speaking skills are virtual speaking skills and virtual speaking skills are public speaking skills. With the exception of a few modifications, there’s a webcam. We have microphones. We have volume that we have to deal with. But in essence, the application of these skills is the same. For example, eye contact, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Stuart Fedderson:
In public speaking, you want to maintain eye contact. In virtual speaking eye contact is looking at that webcam that’s but that’s just one example.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, for sure. So talk to us about the four biggest challenges facing remote managers today. Because so many people are trying to, if they’re not managing remotely, which many are trying to do effectively, they’re giving presentations remotely. I mean, people are nowadays are tuned in to Zoom and so no to fly out here, we’ll just put the group in the conference room, and listen to your pitch or make your presentation.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So it’s all about having the few minutes that companies give you or even that your staff may give you because as we know if a meeting goes beyond 15 minutes, you kind of lose the audience after a while, right?

Stuart Fedderson:
That’s absolutely right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So talk to us about some of the big challenges that face managers today.

Stuart Fedderson:
Of course. And to preface the answer to this question, Jim, I do want to share an interesting statistic that was actually found by the Undercover Recruiter. They’re an HR recruiting agency and they found that post-COVID, 52% of clients, as well as remote employees are feeling isolated and disengaged and unnoticed just because of the virtual environment. Because in the in-person environment, it was very easy to connect, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Stuart Fedderson:
You could walk up to person, you could set up a personal meeting, but there are four challenges that really cascade from that and the first one is this, lack of human connection. As human beings, Jim, we have this innate psychological need to connect with other human beings. And the virtual world has actually compromised that basic psychological need. And so the very first problem is a lack of human interaction is leading to a lot of isolation with a lot of the remote clients and employees in our world today.

Stuart Fedderson:
Number two is staff disengage during virtual meetings. You mentioned it, Jim. Virtual meetings they can be boring to say the least, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Stuart Fedderson:
And if they don’t have their webcam on, they’re multitasking. They’re over here multitasking working on another project. And they’re disengaged. The third is untapped staff potential. When we were in the in-person environment, we could more easily notice the potential, especially the communication potential of a lot of our staff. But because we are a little bit more isolated in the virtual world, we have staff out there that we don’t know have amazing potential. They’re just haven’t been noticed yet.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right.

Stuart Fedderson:
And the fourth is a lack of team unity. Why? Well, because in-person world you could go to a meeting, you can have small talk. You can connect human to human, but in the virtual world those connections have decreased substantially. And all of this, Jim, is leading to a sense of isolation, which leads to a decrease in staff and client engagement.

Stuart Fedderson:
So we think it’s just has to do with our staff, but in reality we also need to learn how to connect with our clients virtually too, if we want to retain them long-term, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Stuart Fedderson:
But those are the four biggest challenges we face today as managers.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. So what are some of the solutions? What are some of the things that people can do to address those four issues and win in this game?

Stuart Fedderson:
Of course. To win in this game, it’s very simple. These four things are things that our managers and our directors can apply today. And the very first one is more human touchpoints, more frequent human touchpoints. And when I’m talking with my clients about this, they say, “Well, what do you mean by that?” And I say, “The number one rule with these virtual human touchpoints is you don’t talk about work.”You talk about life. You talk about how their family is. You talk about how their dog is. You talk about how the house is coming along or what it is their kids do.

Stuart Fedderson:
You connect human to human. Why? Because it battles that sense of isolation that we all feel within the virtual environment. And now keep in mind, these, these virtual touchpoints don’t need to be an hour long. They could be a DM. They could be a five-minute call. It’s very simple to do. And what you’ll notice, staff engagement levels will increase. That’s the first.

Stuart Fedderson:
The second thing that you could do to address is start each virtual meeting with an icebreaker. And what I’m talking about is a five-minute game. Some ideas that I do with my staff are a virtual scavenger hunt where you can put something up on the screen that says the person that finds the first paperclip gets bragging rights or what have you. And they run around the house looking for the first paper clip.

Stuart Fedderson:
And what this does, Jim, as it gets the endorphins and the serotonin going, which therefore increases engagement levels during the virtual meeting. The third thing is set a ground rule to have your webcam on.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, yeah. I agree.

Stuart Fedderson:
For the love of all that’s good and decent in our virtual world, the majority of people don’t have their webcam on. And the reason why that’s such a big problem is because 80% of our communication is nonverbal. So if we have our camera off, we’re compromising at least 80% of our communication potential because of our facial expressions, our body language, our gesturing, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Stuart Fedderson:
So make it a ground rule for your managers listening in, turn that webcam on and engage levels will increase.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I agree. And when you allow one to have a camera off, it kind of then all of a sudden the next meeting there’s three cameras off out of 10 people.

Stuart Fedderson:
That’s right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And then the next meeting, there’s six cameras off out of 10 people. And where do you draw the line? Well, to your point, you draw the line right up front to go, “All webcams must be on,” right?

Stuart Fedderson:
That’s right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Yeah. Exactly and I agree. There’s no problem with it. I don’t think people are going to quit over it. You didn’t have a very strong relationship with your employee. If in the event they say, “If my camera’s got to be on, then I’m out of here.” I agree with you. That’s a great request for sure.

Stuart Fedderson:
Yep. And it’s funny, Jim, because a lot of times they say, “What if I’m not camera-ready, Stuart?” I get a lot of clients saying that. “Well, what if I’m not camera-ready?” Well, it’s pretty easy to get camera-ready, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Stuart Fedderson:
I mean, you could wear since your legs aren’t in the picture, you can wear sweats for all that matters, but just as long as you’re looking professional up top. And make sure that camera’s on because you’ll notice during those meetings there’s a cadence of engagement when everybody can see each other’s faces. And we’re able to make that virtual eye contact. It’s very cool to watch if you’ve got up your entire team’s camera on.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I agree.

Stuart Fedderson:
And then the fourth thing, Jim, that I tell all my clients is be more deliberate in giving your employees, staff and clients praise and compliments.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Among the whole team, right?

Stuart Fedderson:
Absolutely. You need to make sure you are being as equal as you can with your praise. Because again, in the virtual world, we don’t get that as much because we’re isolated. And so if we have managers, virtual managers out there who are more deliberate in providing that praise, endorphins, serotonin, all the happiness hormones that engage us increase. And then that therefore increases staff engagement, which in the long-term increases staff productivity and client engagement.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. You’re probably a pretty busy young man these days with regard to everyone going back now into conferences and shows and things where people are now getting back up on the stage. Not maybe getting away from the camera per se, but speakers such as yourself I’m sure find yourself being requested to come back out to conferences and conventions, right?

Stuart Fedderson:
Absolutely. Since COVID started slowing down, Jim, yes. The requests for in-person sessions and webinars, keynotes has substantially increased. However, it’s about 50-50. So 50% of my webinars are virtual now. And 50% are and have been in-person for probably the past two months.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow. Okay. So at least it’s growing, I mean from probably a year ago where it was probably 90 or 100% were virtual.

Stuart Fedderson:
Oh yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Stuart Fedderson:
Oh 100%. Yeah, I was 100% virtual for about a year and a half.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh my God. That’s crazy.

Stuart Fedderson:
And so I quickly had to learn a virtual presence and how to speak and establish a confident presence virtually. And it’s actually cascaded to some great training sessions for my clients.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. You know, for people that are watching us have this discussion today, this is a very, very important step in your profession and running your business. So many people are promoted from a salesperson to maybe the sales manager and now they’re over a team of sales people, or maybe they left their company as I said and they opened up a business, but they’ve never really been taught how to speak to a group of individuals or professionally learned public speaking.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Stuart Fedderson, the reason we wanted to bring him in is he’s got a great reputation in doing just that. So maybe for some of you out there that want to learn more, you can go to his website. We’ll show all the information here on the screen. Stuart does a great job of working with companies large and small to do just that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So Stuart Fedderson of the Fedderson Formula. Thank you so much are joining us on the show today. We very much appreciate it. I’d love to have you back to talk more about this because this is something that is not going to be going away anytime soon. Everyone’s fear of public speaking is alive and well. And I think you bring down the anxiety in it with your clients. So thanks so much for joining us.

Stuart Fedderson:
Thank you, Jim, for having me. It was a pleasure speaking with you today.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Great. Thanks.


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