Rethinking professionalism during WFH

It’s been a month since the schools closed down in Tokyo. It seems likely that this will be extended into early May. As an entrepreneur working from home is not new to me. If I’m not delivering corporate training, meeting clients or attending events, I work from home.

Working from home with my kids in tow, completely new experience.

Each day I’m learning and adapting as I’m sure you and your team are. Early in March I found myself getting super stressed when my kids would be around during a conference call. What if my clients don’t think I am professional?

I realised though that this tension was impacting my presence on the call. I was so anxious about possible distractions that I was not focused. I was listening out for any sign of an imminent yelp or too loud burst of laughter.

It was whilst recording the Small Business in Japan podcast that I decided to change my approach.

When my son decided to jump into the shot only in his pajama pants, I just gave up! The whole situation was too ridiculous that I had to laugh. Thank goodness it is an audio not video podcast!

When you listen to the podcast you can also hear that Josh Smith has applied some music to the recording. It’s there to drown out the indoor table tennis tournament and the sounds of my kids getting over excited during the making of the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall that I panic bought after the schools were closed.

So this is my rethink about professionalism when working from home with kids.

  • It is professional to be present.
  • It is professional to be accepting.
  • It is professional to be understanding.
  • It is professional to be human.

According to Google’s Project Aristotle Research :

The most significant element of team success is what’s known as psychological safety: a culture of trust where people feel safe to speak up, take risks, and know that they won’t be ridiculed for making mistakes or dissenting.

https://rework.withgoogle.com/print/guides/5721312655835136/

Whilst you and your team are adapting to new circumstances, allow people to make mistakes, to be less than “perfect” and apply a new perspective to what “professional” means.

You can listen to the Small Business Japan Podcast here Keep your ears peeled for the musical interludes!

Shiawase2020シンポジウム –  Online, Japanese, Co-facilitation!

Early in 2020 I decided to support the Points of You® Japan Tribe by volunteering to be a facilitator at the annual Shiawase2020シンポジウム. I was excited to co-facilitate and introduce Points of You® to a new audience of people and to talk about happiness. And to do all this with a monolingual Japanese team would be a new challenge for me as I often work in a bilingual environment.

Of course, in early March we got the announcement that the session would move online. Points of You® is very much about creating full body experiences. We use sight, sound, smell and touch (maybe taste in the snacks on a longer session?!) How would we bring that to 80 minutes online? It was time for rapid prototyping and innovation.

Analogue and Digital set up! Remember to raise your camera to show your whole face

I had already begun experimenting with online sessions using the Points of You Online tool running sessions about resilience so had some sense that the human connection could still be made and powerful coaching works online. Through open communication within the team of facilitators, a great idea emerged to really make a simple, clear and powerful workshop to work online. It was amazing to see the attention to detail, the commitment and devotion of the team

We surprised ourselves with 3 core ideas of Points of You®:
Breaking patterns with quick skill development
Open hearts for learning and sharing
Creating a sense of belonging in our virtual team and virtual workshop

Whilst I love the use of all the senses at a F2F workshop, we really created a powerful journey online to talk about happiness. Very refreshing in these challenging times! I could feel my ikigai reigniting as I connected with the people in the virtual room!

COVID-19: Flexibility, Resilience and Action for the BCCJ

This content originally appeared on the BCCJ Website – Written by Written by Sterling Content March 27, 2020

Leadership and executive coach Jennifer Shinkai has shared tips on coping with the COVID-19 crisis—both personally and professionally—in the second webinar hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ).

In a lively Q&A format chaired by Graham Davis, BCCJ senior adviser, the expert on change management and communications discussed the need for individuals and organisations to adopt flexibility, resilience and action in the face of the current global pandemic.

Shinkai explained that this approach is important because people are feeling the strain of the crisis, with immediate concerns relating to health, welfare and family as well as wider concerns about the economy and the future. Such stress can result in many different reactions and coping mechanisms, of which not all are healthy.

Acceptance and solution

Taking a moment to grieve the loss of business, professional opportunities or former work situations can be helpful, she said, but it’s important that the next step is forward-thinking; remaining stuck in a negative mindset is damaging.

She called on members to be strong and reminded them that anyone can be resilient, even those who think it is not their inherent trait. “Resilience is a muscle,” she said, and “having the ability to bounce back is a practice.”

Organisations can play a critical role in helping their people on this journey of grief to being constructive.

“As a leader, realize where you are—in terms of acceptance and solution—and accept that everyone is working through it at their own pace. Think about how you can shorten the time of that change curve and move people into action as soon as possible,” she said.

Embracing technology

Shinkai said businesses and individuals should make the most of online software-as-a-service solutions to help maintain productivity, motivation and engagement while working remotely.

Online conference provider Zoom, for example, features video webinars, online meetings, conference rooms and breakout rooms to suit all kinds of needs. There are also chat and comment functions so activities can be interactive.

While she admitted such meetings require more rigorous facilitation, to ensure input is balanced across participants, she said they can result in “really good engagement and interesting conversations.”

Technology can also be used to stay connected informally. Shinkai suggested anyone feeling isolated should consider inviting a colleague for a virtual coffee—and not feel guilty about it. These kinds of interactions play an important role in helping staff do their work well.

Additional benefits to working remotely include greater productivity and the opportunity to boost connections online.  As an entrepreneur, Shinkai has found using online tools to connect and talk to people has expanded her professional network over the years, helping her to have a “better global view.”

“When I was working in corporate, I was very mindful about how I was building my network within the organisation and local community,” she said. Now, she is mindful of building her network online and called on members to do the same, particularly at this time.

Disruption and opportunity

Noting the importance of innovation for business success, the BCCJ’s Davis asked if the COVID-19 crisis presented opportunities for organisations to be disruptive and stimulate new ideas.

Shinkai suggested that it was a good time to experiment, albeit with some caveats. Firms should “reduce the perception of risk and reduce the scale,” she said. For example, start something on a small scale and with a low budget, and use it as a learning activity.

“Applying a design-thinking mindset can also be great,” she added.

Staying structured, connected

For Shinkai, experimentation today is both an opportunity and a necessity. As her clients shifted their priorities from training to crisis management, her short- and medium-term sales pipeline dried up in late February, leaving her to look at other options.

Her passion was to continue helping people to integrate ikigai (life purpose) into their work, so she created Make March Matter, a free online community of professionals seeking to maintain productivity during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Piloting something new freed me from being a perfectionist,” she said, explaining that she created and launched the project in one day because she had no fear of failure. “Once I made the decision [to launch], I had an amazing change of energy and clarity to help me produce [the content],” she added.

Make March Matter aims to offer accountability, connection and inspiring action via three online sessions per week. Participants get regular check-ins and structure, which helps with their motivation, energy and mental health. The community also encourages and inspires each other, while evolving organically to adapt to user needs.

Shinkai will continue Make March Matter in April under the theme of “Action in April.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/makemarchmatter2020/

“I’m glad that I’m being useful at a time when I thought that I couldn’t be, and I encourage everyone to find a moment to think where they can find opportunity,” she said. “It’s a serious time, but also a time for play because everyone is changing, and the rules are changing. Start small and see what happens.”

Agile and open

Shinkai advocated flexibility, a “default-to-action mindset” and openness during this time of crisis. Entrepreneurs may be more agile and better equipped to adapt to new challenges, but corporate staff can also play their part in helping organisations be more agile.

When asked what lessons can be gleaned from the crisis, she said organisations should take time to realise the extent of what can be done online, celebrating what they were able to shift from in-person to online. “When forced to do it online, we’ve made it happen,” she said.

With many organisations also embracing change and disruption to keep their operations moving, it’s also a great opportunity to practice inclusiveness during troubleshooting, creation and decision-making. Engaging more staff not only improves morale, it also guarantees more ideas and therefore better results.

“It’s a great opportunity to hear different perspectives and different ways of doing things,” she said. “As each opportunity comes, we should be listening to different voices because they are seeing the world in a different way.”

#makemarchmatter

Found yourself with an empty book of business due to the Coronavirus? Join this free online community of entrepreneurs , freelancers, and professionals focused on accountability and action to make March 2020 meaningful to future success. Sessions are in English and based on Tokyo time – all are welcome!

Join the Mailing List or the Facebook Group

Accountability

Commit to delivering one of those “to-dos” you have been putting off. Make March 2020 the month that you update your website, write that book or streamline your processes

Connection

Regular Zoom calls support community. Gathering diverse professionals gives a chance for innovation, collaboration and new ideas for your business

Inspiring Action

Support each other to make things happen and get a regular dose of inspiration to support your resilient mindset in these uncertain times.

Join the Mailing List or the Facebook Group

How will we connect?

Accountability Kick Off

Monday mornings means Accountability Kick Off!

How will you #makemarchmatter?

What do you need from the group this week?
What do you bring to the group this week?

Monday Morning Accountability Kick Off Schedule

Monday March 2nd, 2020 8:30am to 9:30am JST
Monday March 9th, 2020 8:30am to 9:30am JST
Monday March 16th, 2020 8:30am to 9:30am JST
Monday March 23rd, 2020 8:30am to 9:30am JST
Monday March 30th, 2020 8:30am to 9:30am JST

Mid-Week Power Hour

Wednesday Afternoons means Mid-week Power Hour
We will use appreciative inquiry as a way to get new perspectives on our challenges and fire up through hump day!
We hold this early afternoon as 2:07pm is the sleepiest time of the day. Brainstorming in our community will leave us energised and ready for action!

How will you #makemarchmatter?

Bring a specific challenge or opportunity to discuss and get insight for the group to move you forward!

Wednesday Mid-Week Power Hour Schedule

Wednesday March 4th, 2020 13:30 to 14:30 JST
Wednesday March 11th, 2020 13:30 to 14:30 JST
Wednesday March 18th, 2020 13:30 to 14:30 JST
Wednesday March 25th 2020 13:30 to 14:30 JST

TGIF (Or Thursday!) Week in Review

We made it!
Wrap up the week with a review – brags, failures, new ideas and inspiration.
TGIF! (although sometimes this will happen on a Thursday due to my schedule and the National Holiday!)

How will you #makemarchmatter?

TGIF (or TH) Week in Review Schedule

Here are where things get a little complicated and subject to possible change!

Friday, March 6th, 2020 17:00 to 18:00 JST
Friday, March 13th, 2020 11:00 to 12:00 JST (Schedule may change )
Thursday, March 19th, 2020, 17:00 to 18:00 JST (Friday is a National Holiday)
Thursday, March 26th, 2020 17:00 to 18:00 JST (Schedule may change)

Find out more?

Join the Mailing List or the Facebook Group

Great investment of budget and time – Client Testimonial

When did you work with Jennifer Shinkai (event, date, her role, areas of expertise)? How did she add value to your organisation?

Bosch Corporation Aftermarket Japan, Gasshuku – Management Bootcamp Nov. 2019: She provided facilitator role with concepts as Points of You®, 4 Tendencies and Appreciative Inquiry in Japanese and English. Focus on Self Awareness as the source of change that needs to enable the whole organization for the transformation in the Automotive industry.

Create creative ideas and sample process to MVP with out-of-box-thinking and Design Thinking Methods, customer centricity and fun in mind.

We all left the day of facilitation exhausted, but happy with a smile for the different perspectives we had a chance to enter.

What were her strengths as a facilitator/moderator/coach? How would you describe her style? What was it like to work with her?

Empathetic and strong in group management, Jennifer always knew what the group needed (we started with a meditation! :-)) and set the tone with different tools throughout the day.

Her bilingual language skills were highly appreciated and were one of the main reasons for many managers to actively participate throughout the whole day.

Why would you recommend her to facilitate workshops/ offer coaching for other organisations?

Great input from various different sources, I met Jennifer due to a Ikigai workshop, which I thought we could do with our management group, but in the course of preparation, we realized it wasn’t the right thing. She has a huge toolset of different methods to unveil more potential in your group.

Any other comments? Questions or Ideas?

Highly recommend Jennifer, great investment of budget and time into a more inclusive and empathetic team !

Joo-Seuk Maing
AA/SMS-JP, Marketing Director, BOSCH Japan

Lonely old men and ikigai

In November I attended the Mashing Up Conference again. I really love this event because it’s “cool”. It has a casual vibe and is just a bit edgier than your average D&I “empowerment” conference. The team do try to bring some different ideas to the stage as well as some local legends.

I was happy to join two discussions where I could listen to the wry and laser sharp insights of one of those legends, Chizuko Ueno, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo who used her entrance ceremony speech as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the reality of institutional gender discrimination in Japan. Ueno sensei has an amazing delivery style where she challenges with the sweetest, most innocent question that just stops other panelists in their tracks. It is magic to watch!

In the first session, Ueno sensei talked about the family structure – here is the info from the Mashing Up website.

家族のカタチ2019 – 家族 is the bestという呪縛Family Diversity – Time to Reshape the Family Structure「家族末永く仲良く=素晴らしい」。そんな価値観が強い日本社会で、家族とのつながりに苦しんでいる人がいるのも事実。おひとりさま問題、介護問題、夫婦別姓問題も含めて、家族とはどうあるべきか。そのあり方を問い直します。

“Families that get along forever = wonderful.” This value is strong in Japanese society, but it is also true there are people who are suffering due to their family relationships. What should families be like, including people who are alone, people caring for family members, and husbands and wives having different family names? Those things will be reconsidered.

One idea in particular struck me in relation to my work on Ikigai and creating long and healthy lives worth living.

Talking on the subject of 介護 (elder care), Ueno sensei mentioned that she is hearing many adult children say

“I will look after my mother because I love her. But my father?! No way! I can’t stand him.”

It struck me as such a sad and terrible view. I thought about all the fathers who have been focused on their companies with no time for their families. The result is fathers who are so focused on financially supporting the family that they become alienated from the lack of relationship.

Men’s ikigai and their role in the family

A few weeks ago as part of my Ikigai research, I met with Dr. Akihiro Hasegawa, Associate Professor at Toyo Eiwa University and an ikigai researcher. He told me a similar story. Japanese men who live in multi-generational households with their sons after retirement report a decrease in their ikigai. Dr. Hasegawa explains that this is because their ikigai was so tied up in their self identity as the breadwinner, the head of the household, that when the generational roles shift, they lose their sense of self and purpose. Dr. Hasegawa’s research shows a strong link between having an ikigai and better health, slower onset of dementia and so on.

(As a side note, I asked if there was any impact to living with adult daughters and the answer was no. It seems that the father’s ego can survive that relationship into old age!)

Again, this idea of isolated fathers struck me as so sad and yet also so avoidable if we can change the working style and support people living different types of partnerships at home with an emphasis on family first. Glen Wood is doing a lot to raise awareness on パパハラ(Papa Hara – paternity harassment). It isn’t easy for men to ask for permission to break from the サラリマン salariman stereotype and spend time with their families. But the social and personal costs of isolation in old age for these types of people are no longer sustainable.

What do you think?

How can we start to address this problem? Some efforts are being made at the policy level but what can private enterprises and individuals do to support a healthier and happier second life and what might be the positive impact on society from that.

Integrating my Ikigai in Year 4

Seems like only yesterday that I was writing this post about the start of my third year in business and in 2 weeks on June 29th, I’ll be kicking off Year 4.

Taking this time to reflect fills me with gratitude for my family, my customers and my community. Thank you so much for your support, feedback and inspiration!

One of the most important mantras for me are these three magic words:

“trust the process”

As an entrepreneur, there are times when you are not quite sure where your next opportunity will come from. However, I’ve found it is really important to keep making offers, following the ideas and work that really interests you. By having this focus on integrating my ikigai – to help create inclusive workplaces where teams can flourish doing meaningful work – I’ve been able to say “hell yes!” and “no way!” to certain projects. All in the knowledge that doing the work, getting feedback and learning along the way is all part of the evolutionary process.

With this in mind, I thought I’d use the 4 Questions of Ikigai to review my third year in business. In case you need a reminder, here is the Ikigai model:

What do I love?

I love creating aha moments, when I get goosebumps from client’s insight. I love seeing the energy and support in a room when colleagues are connecting diverse opinions.

I love creating “unexpected but precise” experiences through Points of You®. I love colour, creativity, making things, exploring, getting messy in order to grow.

I love freedom to grow my business at my pace in a way that works for my family.

I love meeting people from different industries, countries, professions and then realising in all that beautiful diversity that the common themes of humanity are universal.

We all want to belong, to be valued and to achieve mastery in something.

What am I good at?

I’m good at working in a variety of situations. I can flex to the clients needs and facilitate custom programmes to achieve their goals.

In the last year I’ve worked on executive coaching and 80 person workshops, one-off team building events, multi-day leadership programmes and 6 month journeys. I’ve facilitated programmes in English, Japanese and bilingually. I’ve worked alone and co-facilitated with talented partners. I’ve co-created workshops with clients and delivered localised global programmes through training companies.

Each programme requires a different approach and a thorough understanding of client’s requirements. Whilst creating custom programmes might not be the most sustainable business model, it certainly brings me a lot of joy and professional development.

What can I be paid for?

From client feedback, I’m coming to learn much more about the value of a third party as a change agent. As a trusted yet external partner, I can come in and challenge participants to break patterns. However, I also understand corporate life enough that I can empathise with the blockers and coach around possible solutions.

In a recent interview I was asked “how do you create a comfortable learning environment?” I was flummoxed by the question and said “I don’t really know…but I always get positive comments that I created an inclusive space where it was safe to fail.”

After the demo session, the interviewer said “you are right! we are not quite sure how you did it either but that was one of the most engaging sessions we’ve joined!”.

I’ve also learned that answering this question is one of the trickiest for many participants in Ikigai workshops!

I love seeing this card in Points of You® Punctum – this lady is my inspiration. I want to be wise with experience, pop with colour and eat ice-cream on a cold summer day!

What does the world need?

The world needs more enthusiastic geeks, people who are resilient in the face of obstacles, more people who live a life of purpose and joy and fun at work. I hope that through my workshops, coaching and facilitation, I can have positive impact in those areas. I think we all deserve to be heard, to feel like we belong and that the work we do matters.

I look forward to continuing to evolve my programmes to support this vision of my Ikigai. Can’t wait to see what this post looks like at the start of Year 5! Just before the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 – Unity in Diversity.

Increase collaboration with a Points of You® Experience in your workplace

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend for in-house collaboration spaces. With open space, coffee bars and modern designs, these co-working spaces encourage a different energy in the workplace. The goal of the space is to bring together diverse perspectives and communication across silos. I love visiting clients offices to see how they are making inclusive work environments that motivate and inspire.

However, one thing struck me on recent office tours. They are often empty. These beautiful, expensive and expansive spaces are either empty or quiet as a library. As the spaces are still new, many companies are still running into an unexpected stumbling block when it comes to increasing collaboration. People don’t know how or when to use the space.

“If you build, it they will come”

Might work for Field of Dreams but not for collaborative spaces!

Getting people to collaborate in the space takes more than an opening event and Friday night drinks. One way is to get people to experience communication and collaboration in the space at an open event. This is where holding a corporate Points of You® Experience event with Jennifer Shinkai comes in.

What is Points of You®?

Points of You® is a creative coaching tool, originally from Israel. It is has been used globally in corporations as diverse as Google, NASA, Ikea, L’Oreal and Circque de Soleil. Personally as a Points of You® Master Trainer, I’ve facilitated group workshops in Japan around strategy, team building, inclusion, innovation and change management for luxury, manufacturing, IT, and professional services firms. With participants ranging from new grads to global leaders, from engineering to sales, Points of You® workshops encourage communication and sharing diverse perspectives. You can see more case studies at my facebook page.

What are Jennifer Shinkai’s Corporate Points of You® Experiences like?

These 90 minute workshops can be held as an 朝活 (breakfast meeting)、lunch and learn, or even as an evening workshop. They can support the activities of your ERGs, a specific team or as a way to gather diverse employees into your collaborative space.

Choose from one of the following processes and watch as your employees break patterns, open their hearts and develop a sense of belonging:

The Potential Me

Meet yourself and others from a new perspective. See how you’ve changed over the years.

Icebreaker:

A unique and fun way to introduce participants in the group using Points of You® Tools.

Why What How:

Learn the power of presence as a coach through powerful questions. Gain insight into deeper barriers to personal progress

My Life’s Wishlist:

Focus on action to drive personal goals. Share your big dreams for your life and walk the talk to action!

From July to November 2019, I’ll be offering the first 5 corporate clients to register, in-house workshops for groups of minimum 8 people at a very special rate. Contact me to find out more today.

These processes can only be offered as stand alone offerings. If you want to bring Points of You® Tools to your organisation in other workshop, please contact me.

How to be a great panel moderator

Recently, I have attended a lot of events with panel discussions. At one event, I watched 8 panel discussions in a day. As the day wore on I tried to analyse what separated the good, the bad and the ugly!

Moderating the panel at the Spotlight on Japan International Women's Day event Photo Credit: LIFE14
Moderating the panel at the Spotlight on Japan International Women’s Day event Photo Credit: LIFE14

Based on my own experience as a moderator, I’ve created 9 things you need to do as a successful moderator of a panel. What have I missed?

1. You need to have a plan

What is this panel for?

An entertaining way to spend 1 hour?

Killing time before the final keynote – probably you have bigger dreams that that!

Just as with a presentation, you should think in advance of the key takeaways that you want for the audience. You might not get them all as you will always have an element of spontaneity in there with different conversations on the day.

Think about:

What are the key takeaways you expect from this session? How does it fit into the overall flow of the event or the panel series you are part of ? How do you expect your session to run? How will you allocate time on each topic. You need to share this plan with the panelists and event organizers ahead of time to make sure expectations are aligned

2. You need to think about the audience needs

As the panelist, you are the representative of the audience on the stage. It is your job to think about the demographics and what would be the most useful takeaways and discussion points. How much do people know about the topic at hand?

For me, a great moderator will help to break the fourth wall.
They can engage the audience needs either through a Q&A or directing comments to the room. They have gathered information about what the audience wants to know rather than what their personal interests are.

Personally, if I know the panelists well, it can be interesting to build them up by saying why they were chosen to participate, what you expect them to bring to the panel 

Reading out the bio is generally a waste of time as most conferences have a literate audience who can check it out if they are interested.
Opening with a few minutes of general comments around the theme can be useful but it is easy for this to become a static talking heads round robin so be sure to watch out for that.

Connect and engage with the panelists – Listen and Enjoy

3. You need to connect with the panelists

Ideally meet the panelists before the event – face to face is great, virtually is also fine! And this meeting should not be 10 minutes before the panel. Find out if they have been on a panel before? What are their expectations and how are they aligned with yours?

It is great to go through questions or themes with them. Pick up on interesting stories that show diversity of thought and experience.

As an audience member, it can feel wonderful to be a fly on the wall in a high-level conversation that flows naturally. As a moderator you need to work to develop that camaraderie with panelists before the event.

Be careful not to take the camaraderie too far though. At a recent event, I felt like a voyeur as the conversation was too intimate, too many in jokes. It almost felt like the two speakers had forgotten we were there!

4. You need to build a connection between the panelists

Can you get the panelists together beforehand? Can they collaborate on a call or a shared document? The litmus test of a great panel is when the panelists are bouncing ideas off each other, listening and building on the previous persons statements.

I’ve seen panel discussions which were a series of 10 minute PPT presentations with no interaction between the speakers and no building on the ideas raised. It’s fine to have that format for speaker presentations with lots of short speeches but don’t advertise it as a panel discussion!

5. You need to be inclusive

Is everyone speaking? How much airtime are they getting? the bigger the panel, the less people speak. Melissa Thomas-Hunt did interesting research on who speaks in meetings. With 5 people in the room, 2 people will speak for 70% of the time. When 8 people are in the room, 3 people will speak for 67% of the time. As an inclusive moderator you need to manage this. At a recent conference, I saw one speaker so completely dominate that one of the other panelists was staring at the ceiling, totally disengaged!

Airtime in meetings

In terms of inclusion, are different opinions and approaches being given airtime? Having controversial and diverse approaches supports audience learning and brings some zest to your panel.

Make sure the staging is so that you can make eye contact with everyone. Is there someone who you suspect will dominate the conversation?
One idea comes from the old adage “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer”

This can allow you to give them a nudge if they are going on too long. If you must share a microphone, you can even hold it so they have to ask for it! Beware though if they are sitting next to you, it can be easy for them to turn their back to you and not read your non-verbals. Be ready and willing to politely interrupt and give space to other people.

6. You need to be passionate about the subject

As the moderator, you need to drum up excitement and set the tone for the discussion. Bringing your own ideas to the panel is fine but “know your place” – you are not there as the only expert. You are there to bring the expert ideas to light!

However, keep your questions precise. Big lead ups where you show your passion and knowledge and then ask multiple questions, only complicate issues for panelists. KISS!

7. You need to be able to think on your feet

If you are going through the motions and sticking slavishly to your plan, you panel will feel formulaic. Listening and building on themes that become important makes a naturally engaging panel.

It is also important to know if there are any taboo topics that panelists or the event organizers want you to steer clear of. How will you handle them if they come up in discussion or in the Q&A?

8. You need to wrap up the key points

The moderators role is to make sense of the different ideas raised. You can do this after each theme or just in your concluding comments. What were the new pieces of information that were shared? What should the audience remember.

9. You need to finish on time

Make sure you have someone watching the clock for you and giving you time countdowns. It is absolutely fine to cut speakers, to guide when people go off topic.

You also need to keep your Q&A under control – reminders for single questions so more people can get involved is usually helpful. You may want to source questions before hand and plant people in the audience to get things started depending on your demographic. Remember to take questions from around the space and to be mindful of sourcing questions from a broad array of audience members.

I hope this has been a useful guide if you have a moderator role coming up!

Looking for a moderator or panelist for your next event in Japan? Feel free to contact me to discuss how we might collaborate.

Saying thanks and amplifying what’s good

Summer is over and thoughts are turning to annual budgeting, year-end parties and performance appraisals. Whilst these assessments/ appraisals/ reviews/ or whatever you call them are usually designed to motivate, many people find them a complete waste of time. However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater! The feedback element of reviews is essential for motivation, communication, relationships, inclusion and innovation. In this post, I share 2 useful Management 3.0 practices that help to build intrinsic motivation, deepen relationship and improve communication.

Give credit where credit is due!

Recently I was reminded of the power of peer praise through the Management 3.0 Kudo Box. Let me state here I won’t get into another argument about whether it should be “kudo” or “kudos” grammatically!

All you need to focus on is that giving and receiving recognition between peers is an amazing amplifier of behaviour.

I’ve been using the Kudos Wall tool in communication and management workshops.  Simple to set up, easy to explain and participants quickly engage. It’s been interesting to see what and how people recognize the contributions of others inside and outside of the training room.

At the end of the workshop, participants self-organize and choose a “kudos star”. I won’t give away the prize totally but it does allow them to bring home the ideas of giving kudos to their team!

All members get to take home their kudos cards as お土産 , a souvenir to remind them of what they were recognized for. It can be very moving to see the reactions of some participants who have spent their career only receiving “improvement points”. They experience the impact of “catch them doing something right”.

The people I work with are senior managers, experienced professionals who bring so much to the training room. The biggest takeaway from most training is sharing stories and experiences with their peers in a safe and supportive environment. The Kudos Wall has been a useful tool to share appreciation for those activities.

Real Time Feedback

A second element that you can work on is the time lag between the action and the feedback.

I’ve been using The Happiness Door during workshops to get real-time feedback from participants at lunchtime that I can then try to build into the afternoon session.

It’s a great communication tool that allows the facilitator of any meeting to get a read of the room. You can then shift the process, focus or energy as required to get the best outcomes.

Happiness Door

In the speed of the business cycle, we often lose sight of the power of immediate feedback and miss the chance to amplify great behaviour by recognizing it. The Kudos Wall and The Happiness Door are simple ways to bring more of the good parts of performance reviews into your daily operations.