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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Meetings

In Forge. More on Medium.

📌 Today’s tip: Pin the friendliest face on Zoom.

It’s been more than a year since many of us started working remotely and big Zoom meetings are still as awkward as ever. When it’s your turn to speak, you scan the grid of faces: Some look bored, others look way too intense. Hey, is that guy in the lower-right corner slurping soup?! Here’s a trick for easing the anxiety, shared by Laquesha Bailey on Medium: Pin the friendliest-looking meeting participant. “That way,” she explains, “it feels like you’re just having a casual conversation with that one person and not a…


How to always come with something meaningful to say

Photo: Michael Yarish/AMC

Most workers intuitively get the concept of professional idea management (or PIM, as no one refers to it). We know not to unleash all of our brilliance in one supreme moment during a meeting.

“Instead of parallel-pathing it, let’s perpendicular-path it! And add additional customer support. And Jayden should manage all of it… and be given a title change and modest increase in salary!”

And we know not to keep everything to ourselves.

“Jayden, I’ll let you take this one.”

And we know timing is important: We try to wait for the right moment to make an assertion.

“Sorry to…


🎨 Today’s tip: Level up your meeting doodling game with this fun tool.

Video calls are a great way to become acquainted with the unique contours of your own Resting Bored Face, i.e. the face you make, apparently, while spacing out in meetings. Video calls also reveal just how much you tend to squirm around at your desk.

The answer: doodling, a great way to keep yourself lightly busy during meetings. You’re engaged just enough that you don’t squirm and grimace, but not so much that you can’t focus on what’s being said. And Elizabeth Funk, a software engineer here…


📆 Today’s tip: Start meetings at 5 after, to give everyone a minute to breathe.

In a recent Zoom meeting here at Medium, Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, deputy editor at ZORA, casually mentioned a potentially life-changing schedule hack: start meetings at an odd time, like five minutes after the hour. In the remote-work era, it’s easy to wind up with a stacked calendar in which one meeting ends at 2:00 and the next begins at 2:00 and even though you’re just on your computer at your kitchen table, being in two meetings at the same time remains impossible. …


Photo: Constantine Johnny/Getty Images

In ways both in and out of our control, this is an era of less: Our worlds are smaller. Our functioning brain cells are fewer. But we can enter the new year resolving to do less, to grind less — and to spend a lot less time in meetings.

My colleague Damon Beres, editor-in-chief of OneZero, recently tweeted out this piece of inspiration:

Whether or not you manage a team, right now, today is a great time to follow suit. Summon whatever take-charge January energy hasn’t already been sapped by recent existential threats to American democracy. …


🎙️ Today’s Tip: Your holiday Zoom needs hosts.

At this point, we’ve Zoomed enough to know that not all video chats are created equal. And if you don’t want your family virtual get-together to devolve into a dumpster fire of confusion and/or resentment, you’re going to want to lay down some ground rules.

As Forge editor (and virtual event veteran) Amy Shearn writes, it’s important to have at least one host — ideally two, for the banter — to keep things moving along like emcees at a live event. With any luck, they’ll have an agenda full of fun activities…


Photo: Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

As I type this, I’m staring at the faces of four of my colleagues (hi, guys!), each of whom looks lost in their own thoughts. Someone briefly un-mutes to make a joke about forgetting they’re on a video call and accidentally doing something weird. Someone else laughs and says, It’s okay, we’re not, like, watching each other.

Whoops. It’s the Forge team’s first remote work session, and what can I say? It’s nice to have the company.

Plenty has been written (including a Daily Tip on this very website) about the productivity benefits of silent video co-working: how the virtual…


There are few better uses of your time than a fully focused conversation

Illustration: Justin Cassano

Every new manager learns this rule: Meet with your direct reports, one-on-one, every week or so. Every new manager also soon encounters this truth: These meetings can often feel meandering or awkward, and are easy to skip when everyone gets busy.

Similarly, outside of work, it’s easy to go days or weeks without making time for focused conversation with your friends and family. Many of us have seen our hours clipped and chopped up between homeschooling, housework, and anxiety about the state of the world. Who has time to chat?

But I’d argue that the 15-minute one-on-one — at work…


Time is valuable, and meetings don’t have to waste it

Illustration: Justin Cassano

Everyone loves to hate meetings. For good reason.

For one thing, they’re expensive: Organizations devote copious quantities of well-compensated employee time to meetings. One management consulting firm’s survey found that about 15% of an organization’s total collective time is spent in meetings, a proportion that has been rising.

Meetings can also feel like an obstacle to productivity and creativity: People higher up the ladder tend to spend even more time in meetings, yet a survey published in the Harvard Business Review found that 71% of senior executives said meetings are unproductive and inefficient, and 64% said they come at the…


Science-backed, Mafia-approved

Two young businesspeople discussing a document during a walking meeting.
Two young businesspeople discussing a document during a walking meeting.
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Something magical seems to happen to our minds when we walk.

J. K. Rowling said, “There’s nothing like a nighttime stroll to give you ideas.” Charles Dickens worked in intense five-hour blocks before his daily 10- to 12-mile constitutional. “I could not keep my health otherwise,” he insisted. But perhaps the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard put it best: “I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”

A 2014 study from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education suggests hard science behind the magic. In their experiments…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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