How to build trust in the workplace

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How to build trust in the workplace by having better meetings

In business, the word ‘trust’ can easily be perceived as a hallow term. It can be difficult to grasp the real meaning of it. Trust might not be easy to quantify, but everyone will agree that it is worth spending time and resources on. British employee engagement specialist Susan Jacobs, known from the Jacobs Model, defined the following 8 drivers of trust on the work floor:

  1. A sense of belonging: the feeling of an employee being part of a team
  2. Voice and recognition: the possibility to speak up and have a say in decision making
  3. Significance and position: the extent to which an employee feels valued
  4. Equal treatment: the understanding that everyone is treated equally
  5. Learn and experiment: the experience of being able to experiment, make mistakes and learn
  6. Choice and autonomy: the empowerment to make individual choices for the organization
  7. Security and certainty: the sense of being save due to confidence in the team
  8. Purpose: the understanding of how an individual contributes to the whole

Creating Trust | How to organize business meetings?

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At Sendsteps we often relate to trust, since the audience interaction tool is used in settings where trust is such an important ingredient: during all kind of meetings. Think of team building exercises, strategic board room sessions or shareholder meetings. Clients often ask us questions on how to:

  • … encourage an open dialogue
  • … address anonymous feedback
  • … be certain of data security

Before answering these questions, it helps to get a better understanding of the different roles and characteristics of your individual team members. What is their influence on trust within the team? Obviously, there are many ways of looking into this. At Sendsteps there are a few perspectives that we believe give an interesting view on trust within your team. We cover three aspects;

  1. Karen Stephenson’s theory on trust within office networks. Her theory helps us understand how trust steers information flows within an organization.
  2. A second aspect is that of introvert and extravert team members and how both have different influences on the experience of trust within a team.
  3. And finally, the stage for trust, namely the actual work floor, is of influence for creating a safe and positive atmosphere. We’ll discuss the so-called “open workspace”.

Creating Trust | The roles team members play

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Karen Stephenson is an American professor and corporate anthropologist who does research into “the anatomy of networks”. Stephenson especially focusses on how information flows within a network. For instance, she helped U.S. Defense to identify the weak spots and key connections of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. But her research covers all kinds of networks: from family, to social, to office networks. With it she contributes to a better sense of community and even helps to monetize trust. In her theory, Stephenson defines three roles that are present within every team and that dictate how information flows [or not, with a lack of trust!]. Keep your own organization in mind, when reflecting on the following roles:

  • Hubs: The hubs are the social butterflies of your team. They know a lot of people, are talkative by nature and bring people together. Tell something to a hub and soon everyone will know.
  • Gatekeepers: The gatekeepers play an important role in passing on information to a next level or to block it. They can either use or abuse power.
  • Pulse takers: The pulse takers can be found on the edges of the network. They might not be the center of attention, yet they have sufficient overview, and enough relationships to get a good sense of the picture.
Karen Stephenson claims that innovative companies have a large sense of trust. There are many connections between the individual team members.

3 tips to make clever use of different team roles:

So what to do with this information in regard to your office meetings?

  1. Define the roles in your team: Take a minute and think of your colleagues: who is a typical hub? Could John be a pulse taker? Let it be clear that these roles are informal and not necessarily related to function levels [e.g. a receptionist can be more of gatekeeper than a CFO].When exploring these roles within your team, it might not come as a surprise that most of the speaking time is consumed by hubs. Now think of all the pulse takers among your meeting attendees; actively engage them by asking them questions, or by letting them pitch ideas.
  2. Spend a team session on roles: Why not spend a team session on defining these roles together with your team? It can be interesting to do so, because the knowledge of these three roles can be a strategic tool for controlling and building the communication within your team.With a clear team awareness about everyone’s role, you might find a new dynamic in your meetings and group interaction. Do gatekeepers speak up more easily? Can hubs count to 10 before replying? Make it a little challenge and see what happens. Experimenting is the first step towards innovation!
  3. Rethink your internal and external communication activities; communicating change traditionally is executed by the communication professionals within your team [hubs]. But in some occasions, there might be other colleagues in the office network that have a much stronger, strategic position within the network [pulse takers for instance]. Can you think of someone else to do the next communication job?

Creating Trust | Introvert and extravert employees

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The next trust aspect we’d like to explore is the difference between extravert and introvert team members. Whereas extraverts can often be found in the role of “hub”, introverts are typical “pulse takers”. Let’s zoom in on our introvert employees – one out of two or three of our colleagues!

Introversion is easily mistaken by shyness. But be aware, “introversion is more about how you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation”, says Susan Cain [an American writer, speaker and former Wall Street lawyer]. Introverts are quietly listening and reflecting. They need time to answer. They like substance over chitchat. They’re often overlooked during a meeting or even on a broader scale; when a new management position needs to be fulfilled. Yet, introverts create brilliant work, are thoughtful leaders and only speak during meetings when things are overthought. But, also here; trust is essential in the communication between both groups. Extraverts trusting the work of introverts and vice versa.

4 tips to engage extravert and introverts during meetings:

When organizing a meeting, keep in mind both type of employees and create a setting where both experience trust;

  1. Don’t rush: Take time for your meeting, but stick to the point. Rather spread a longer meeting over two dates, rather than quickly skimming over agenda items in order to fit them in.
  2. Introduce think breaks: Let attendees have a think-break, so that everyone can process information before answering;
  3. Limit group work: “Stop the madness for constant group work” [as Susan Cain puts it] – quality can also come from solo time and activities. There isn’t always a “need to discuss in pairs”!
  4. Facilitate follow up: Organize a clear follow up; what will be discussed, will be further investigated and processed? Introverts, especially, appreciate their input being taken seriously.

Creating Trust | Open or closed workspaces?

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Did you know that 70% of all U.S. offices use open workspaces? Since the mid 2000’s the concept was introduced by many Silicon Valley companies. There are many advantages to having an open workspace. The most important being stronger collaboration. Yet, there are also critical remarks to be made.

In 2005 Jungsoo Kim and Richard de Dear from the University of Sydney conducted extensive research into differences in employee experiences between those working in an open workspace and those working in private offices. They compared 303 offices. Noise, disruption and sound privacy were the most frequent mentioned negative experiences in open workspaces. At the same time, the ease of interaction was valued most. Interestingly, that aspect was not experienced differently by private office workers.

In short and according to the researchers, the open workspaces are not necessarily the engines of collaboration. For extravert hubs it might work better than it does for introvert pulsetakers. Don’t forget also that the currency of friendship is sharing confidence. Funny enough, this is less easy to achieve in an open workspace. So, it seems there’s no one-size fits all and it comes down to finding what works best for your team.

4 tips to engage with your team in different office spaces

When you want to foster interaction in your team then an open workspace seems like the logical step. Yet, when keeping in mind all the different roles we discussed [introverts, extraverts, hubs, gatekeepers and pulsetakers], you’ll need to do some clever thinking of your floor plan so that everyone feels comfortable and experiences the trust to share or to work quietly;

  1. Spread seats for different roles: Seat your hubs in the middle, then your gatekeepers and let the relatively more quiet spaces belong to the pulsetakers.
  2. Create your quiet spaces: A place to focus, to maybe even re-charge; ready for more and better interaction! Solitude is a crucial ingredient for productivity.
  3. Go out! Studies show that business trips boast creativity, social cohesion and interaction in the team.

Conclusion | Meetings with trust

When there’s trust in the workplace, there’s trust to connect. Space for positive team member relationships from where innovative ideas are born. Keep in mind your team’s DNA and in what kind of setting they feel most trusted. Foster a culture where it is good to ask questions and keep it personal. To make it a bit more concrete:

  • Discuss statements [agree/disagree] in which the word “I” is used. E.g. “I believe our team communication style is effective”. Give your introvert team members a think break, let your gatekeepers speak up.
  • Facilitate anonymous feedback to get to the core. Sometimes it doesn’t matter who says what, but the fact that an issue is addressed by itself is positive. Don’t ask “who said that?”, but ask “who likes to elaborate on this issue”? Maybe initiate such a talk during a team field trip – in a relaxed setting.
  • In very strategic meetings it is helpful to know that anonymous is anonymous. Sendsteps technology is ISO compliant and used by Fortune500 companies because of its data security settings.

In short, cultivate an atmosphere where employees’ questions come from a desire to grow and learn. As employer, you can create a perfect setting with proper insight in factors that build trust and with the intention to grow and innovate as a team. Meetings that express trust!


 

Interactive workspaces | Discover these 3 examples!

Interactive workspaces | 3 examples
Interactive workspaces. How do they look like? And what does it take to realize them? Clients who once used Sendsteps during a one-off event experienced the power of interaction. Many of them decided to proceed with the use of Sendsteps: in-house and via year license of the software. Our Customer Success Manager interviewed 4 professionals who represent diverse industries and who all use Sendsteps within their company. Meet Fedde, Karlijn [VodafoneZiggo], António [BCG] and Ferry [KLM] and hear how they create interactive workspaces: with passion and success!

Why these interactive workspaces value engagement?

Basically every gathering of stakeholders or employees gives an opportunity for interaction. And with it an opportunity to create value. A vision that is shared and carried by all three interviewed companies. It offers great chances to:

  • … collect data from everyone
  • … increase response rates on questions, surveys
  • … get to the core by allowing anonymous participation
  • … cut travel costs by facilitating online participation
  • … safe time by handy stored data on individual and group level
  • … create content to be used for new actions

How these interactive workspaces apply engagement?

There’s many forms to think of in which you can apply audience interaction. VodafoneZiggo uses Sendsteps to facilitate interaction during employee meetings, whereas BCG collects valuable data during client sessions. Other meetings to which you can apply audience engagement are:

  • Training sessions
  • Townhall meetings
  • Quarterly / Yearly Results
  • Recruitment events
  • Boardroom meetings
  • Shareholder meetings
  • Webinars & Hybrid events
  • Playing a quiz

Each meeting requires its own approach if it concerns the type and timing of these questions and how to deal with the outcome of the questions. The better prepared, the more valuable the outcome of your interactive session will be.

nandi2Inspired by Fedde, Karlijn, António and Ferry? At Sendsteps we’re here to assist and we’re excited to get you going with [more] interaction at your workspace too!

Contact us and book a demo. Our Customer Success Manager Nandi will share some best practises with you! Explore with her how Sendsteps can boost the interaction at your workspace too!

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Interaction moments with your audience | 5 key moments!

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A powerful presentation is fueled by audience interaction moments. Many of us will agree. Yet most of us struggle with the actual implementation of these interaction moments. An event professional will ask: “When during my event do I engage with my crowd?”. A speaker will ask: “When during my presentation do I ask a question to the attendees?”. Prevent over asking, but cover all your information needs. We identified 5 key interaction moments that will result in a balanced scheme of speaking ánd interacting!

1. Opening | An entertaining multiple question

Ask a simple and light opening question upon the opening of your session. This will get everyone in the mood for interaction and on the moment suprême you can be sure of high response rates. People will remember how they can participate. As an example let attendees respond to a multiple question and with it let them rate their neighbour for “their degree of innovativity”.

2. Presentation intro | A clarifying multiple choice question

When starting a presentation you can choose an icebreaker in the form of a multiple choice question. This sets the context for the rest of your story line. You’ll know if you’ll need to convince your crowd or whether you’re surounded by like minded souls. “Sustainability needs more attention on individual level, rather then on a corporate level” A] Agree B] Disagree – is a great introduction to a presentation on corporate social responsibility!

3. Presentation body | An in between energizer

Regardless of how interesting your story is – the attention span will start to decrease after 15-20 minutes. Built in a multiple choice question, just to shake up your audience and put them into a pro-active mindset. Check how a theme is alive [or not] within ones organization e.g. “I’m proud of the small ecological footprint that my company leaves” A] Agree B] Disagree.

4. Presentation closing | Inspiring Q&A interaction moments

Allow your audience to send in questions throughout your presentation. Either pause and schedule interaction moments after every 5-10 minutes or save all the input to deal with after your presentation. Show all questions or only publish a selection on the screen. Let the chairman ask the questions or have a professional sidekick take on this role as “voice of the audience”.

Interaction moments with your audience - use a closing wordcloud!

The use of a closing wordcloud.

5. The End | An evaluating wordcloud

Time to check in for one more last time. Ask the audience how they evaluate today’s event. Either with a live wordcloud or otherwhise with a short online survey. Why wait till tomorrow? Built an evaluation moment into your program and get a high response rate. And better scoring evaluations. You can choose to share outcomes or simply keep them to yourself and use it internally within your team. It’s up to you!


Inspired? Time to turn your inspiration into exciting questions and add them to your PowerPoint presentation with help of the Sendsteps solution!

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Ice-breakers for your presentation | 5 proven suggestions!

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Haven’t we all been there? That moment when you sit down to prepare the first few lines of your presentation. The core of your story isn’t that difficult – you’re an expert on the matter. Yet, you want the beginning to be smashing too! We’re here to help: pick any of these ice-breakers and melt your crowd!
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You’ll surprise an audience with something unexpected. Choose a picture of your travels, your pets or childhood. Anything personal will do. This not only helps to introduce yourself, but people can have a laugh too. That’s what we call an ice-breaker: A charming and light start of your story!
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Take the focus of yourself and let attendees first briefly speak to one another. Think of a question they can discuss, like “How innovative do you consider yourself?”, “What’s your best experience with today’s theme?”. Do you notice how the atmosphere has become so much more relaxt?
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Recently Sendsteps facilitated a large event of a hotel booking platform. The CEO asked the audience with which story he should kick off: A] My trend predictions for the upcoming travel season B] My reflection on last year’s performance C] My last holiday to Greece. The audience voted for C.
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Instead of telling your story, let the audience share theirs with you. Come up with a few fun and personal questions: “If you would own a time machine, to what moment would you travel back?”, “What will you do on your first day of retirement?” or “What did you find difficult to share as a kid?”.
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Imagine yourself in front of a group that is predominantly represented by one type of profession e.g. lawyers, marketeers or nurse practitioners. You’ll find plenty of image studies online that describe how people see a specific profession. Check with your crowd if indeed “Lawyers are smooth talkers” or if “Event planners are well-organized in their private live too”.

The trick to these ice-breakers is to make people feel more relaxt. To create more interaction. To tear down some walls that can easily be pulled up in a professional context. A lighter energy will reflect on your story too. For any of the above ice-breakers it helps to publish outcomes onto the presentation screen. You can do so for your poll, your open question or wordcloud! Ready? Now melt some ice!

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Anonymous audience feedback? 3 Ways to enrich meetings!

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In an era of tranparent company cultures, anonymity isn’t always considered an asset. Still, it can facilitate trust and with it a starting point of a more open way of communicating. At Sendsteps we’re regularly involved in the setup of meetings in which anonymous feedback is considered: a must.

3 Reasons to welcome anonymous feedback

There’s multiple occassions in which it is whise to allow your audience to contribute anonymous:

1. Strategic discussions | Measure sentiment:
Decisions with a great social impact need proper change management. Imagine a reorganization in which multiple employees will lose their job. Prepare your management (the carriers of the difficult message to the rest of the team) by measuring the sentiment and to reply to anonymous feedback. This makes it easier to steer expectations during the more complicated phases that your organization can go through at times.

2. Co-creation sessions | Erase hierarchy:
In co-creation sessions you’ll need trust to share ideas. An idea can easily be judged on its feasibility or on its sender. Especially within organizations with a strong hierarchy it is more challenging to share ideas. Especially the crazy ones! By allowing anonymous input during your brainstorm,  all ideas make an equal chance. No matter if the idea is coming from the CEO or from the receptionist!

3. Team coaching | Stay objective:
Foster an open conversation around themes like work satisfaction, effective collaboration or leadership by allowing anonymous feedback. Challenges between two departments can much easier be discussed if issues are clearly formulated on the presentation screen; No need to ask ‘who said this?’, rather ask ‘who want to elaborate on this comment?’. Or first ask your team to rate their job live. And then via Sendsteps. There can be a discrepancy between the live and the anonymous digital input: a great starting point for a dialogue with your team!

Your next anonymous feedback session?

Sendsteps allows you to setup an interactive PowerPoint session. Simply add multiple choice and open questions in your slideshow. Questions that address the subject that you like to discuss and on which you’d like to receive anonymous feedback. By default all the input received is anonymous [but this can be changed via your dashboard settings]. Do you dare to start the experiment?


 

Your 20-minute speaking slot | 3 interaction moments

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You are a speaker. Often invited to share expert views. Over time you developed a presentation style that fits like your favorite jacket. Yet, how to answer that voice that keeps challenging you to improve your story? For all these 20-minutes speaking slot invitations; here’s three tips on how Sendsteps could charge your message. With concrete audience interaction. By the minute;

Minute 01/20 | Opening multiple choice question | Building rapport
Allow a short moment of reflection on your theme. Throw in a statement [agree/disagree] in which the word “I” is formulated. Attendees can briefly discuss their answer with their neighbor.

“I consider sustainability to be a stronger responsibility for companies, than for myself”

Use the vote results on the screen, as an introduction to your own story. Your attendees are now checked-in on your theme. Time to take them on your journey.

Minute 10/20: Middle open question | Foster the attention span
Allow attendees to send in questions from the very first minute. Halfway through your presentation, you present the Sendsteps slide with an open ended question titled “Your question to Mary Johnson?”. Either handpick three questions from the message filter on the spot [via your smartphone or tablet] and assign them nonchalantly to your presentation screen. Oofff, you’re so cool! Or simply let questions pass by automatically and pick a few to reflect on. Sense the vibe within your crowd when they hear you answering their questions. Indeed, on the edge of their seat!

Minute 18/20: Final wordcloud | Underline your message
A wordcloud is a playful way of ending your story. Keep it light and ask your attendees to formulate just one word in which they capture their feeling of today’s story.

“In one word: What sticks with you most after today’s presentation?”

Leave the image of the wordcloud on the screen as you leave the stage. The wordcloud speaks for itself. Your story and their reflections. Congratulations – you just left a lasting impression!

Ok – roll up your sleeves now. Here are a few short tutorial videos to get you going with the above. Signup for your free account and simply try this experiment during your next presentation!

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What is Japanese sake made from? The Almost-Weekend-Quiz!

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Now let’s be honest: how productive are you on a Friday afternoon? By that we mean at work. Not in the bar. No offense, but we reckon there’s other days of the week on which you’re more productive. We don’t blame you. Still, what to do with these moments where you feel the weekend should start, but it’s not fully there yet? Indeed – play a quiz with your team!

A quiz? Yes, did you know you can easily create one with Sendsteps? The free version of the Sendsteps PowerPoint software allows you to invite 20 of your team members. So there you go! Spend 15 minutes or so on formulating the silliest and most intriguing questions and then open your PowerPoint;

1. Download Sendsteps PowerPoint tool
2. Add your questions and answer options
3. Switch on the non-anonymous functionality via your Sendsteps Dashboard
4. Let your team respond to the questions via smartphone
5. Follow the individual results via your Sendsteps Dashboard

You’re about to let your friendly competition begin! Not productive? Then you clearly haven’t played a team quiz before! You’ll notice it will spark the team spirit. Now, let us help you with the first question:

What is Japanese Sake made from? A] Grain B] Rice C] Flower D] Potatoes

Need more inspiration for quiz questions? Have a look here: a website with hundreds of questions about nature, film, culture, food and so on. Be aware you can easily lose yourself here. Enough inspiration? Time to get the beer cold, the volume up and to start setting up your Friday afternoon quiz!

PS: Sake is made of rice – cheers!

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From Roosevelt to Obama: how tech innovations renewed political communication

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Political communication in the 20th century has been drastically changed because of technological innovations. Our timeline shows how these innovations transformed the way politicians talk to us.

This timeline is created by Szandra Karacsony.

Sendsteps makes free PPT software that allows your audience to vote and send messages live on your slides using their phone. Do you want to give it a try?

Sign up for free - try Sendsteps today!