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Dale Carnegie Online Professional Development Blog

Virtual meetings: Relationship Is Still the Most Important Element

Posted by Charlie Walker

Jun 24, 2014 4:48:00 PM

The rules of running meetings have changed! Organizations and teams are spread out more than ever. Online, or virtual meetings, save costs; help bring busy, dispersed employees together, and are convenient for everyone.

One thing that hasn’t changed: The relationships managers establish, bonds they build, and bridges they create still form the foundation for productive engagement. Relationships are necessary for success – no matter where meeting participants are located or how they’re reached.

With that in mind, there are 5 of sensible steps that make virtual meetings extremely beneficial for everyone – including the manager.


  • Create the meeting room (link), confirm the room is ready
  • Email attendees with purpose in subject line; provide link, duration and technical details
  • Rehearse; learn the tools and click on everything!
  • Show attendees their tools and how to participate
  • Keep it lively: a web site share, a poll, or whiteboard activity

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  • Promise to start and end on time
  • Open with the purpose and time frame
  • Clarify the key issues and goals
  • Encourage an open environment and participation


  • Frequently summarize discussion
  • Remind yourself digital messages are still received on an individual level.
  • Resist telling others what you want; instead express a genuine interest in what they want
  • Work to attract others to your point of view rather than push them. As Dale Carnegie puts it: Show you’re genuinely interested in other people
  • Examine the purpose of communications. People are more likely to embrace messages that offer mutual benefit
  • Show respect for the opinions of others and disagree in an agreeable way
  • People will detect your smile, even on social networks. Your voice is your smile. Attend to your words, tone and display of emotion
  • Know and remember other peoples’ names as a key to your success. Hearing their name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language, Dale Carnegies points out
  • When you hear a name, fix it in your mind with the person you have met. Write it down, concentrate and focus on its visual impression


  • Make digital messages meaningful by removing a personal agenda; do this by talking in terms of other people’s interests
  • Resist agreeing with someone else’s critical message. The object of that criticism could someday be linked to your success
  • Remember people feel that written words are permanent. Avoid writing reactionary emails, tweets, texts or posts. If you feel upset or frustrated, calm yourself before communicating to anyone. Digital media creates a permanent record

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  • Give people what they want most —to be heard and understood. Listen effectively and consistently to build your personal power to change the hearts and minds of others
  • Listening builds a solid bridge for lasting connections; let the others do most of the talking
  • Remember it’s not about you – it’s about them. One way: Let someone else feel an idea or solution is theirs
  • Action springs from what we fundamentally desire. When we understand the core desires of others, we have the heart to influence them to action


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Topics: Virtual Training, Personal Influence, leadership, Effective Meetings

Learning When There’s No Time to Learn

Posted by Charlie Walker

Mar 17, 2014 9:18:00 AM

Charlie_Walker_HeadshotResearchers tell us we remember 10% percent of what we read, apply 50% of what we see and hear – and retain 90% of what we learn by doing. Today, reading how to do something first is a luxury. Far better and more efficient is training by doing.

“Doing” or experiential learning requires employees or students to think on their feet (even if they’re sitting down). In this situation, people need to analyze information or a given situation they’ve been presented with, then solve problems with the newly-applied knowledge. A coach and peers are crucial for this to be effective, since instruction and collaboration are still necessary for learning the right method.

> Request a Training Assessment for Your Sales Team Consult with us to find the right solution. This is true for on the job learning, and it’s true for virtual learning as well. According to Personnel Today (www.personneltoday.com), online courses still need to relate to the reality of the workplace, provide hands-on activities in order to succeed, and give opportunities to share and collaborate.

Virtual instruction should include two valuable applications:

  • Reinforce and remind people of the knowledge and skills they need to apply on the job every day, and
  • Expand employees’ knowledge base through the introduction of new expectations for existing jobs.

Training employees to grow their knowledge base or introduce new concepts to the workplace can be a costly, frustrating endeavor though. Companies spend on average nearly $1,200 per employee annually for in-person and class training – about $130 billion when you add it all up.

How is most of this money spent?

  • Hiring instructors
  • Sending people to conferences or off-site training
  • Purchasing do-it-yourself materials and training their own staff to administer the material

Do companies feel they’re getting their money’s worth? Depends who you ask – the people who pay for it (“Yes!” – fingers crossed with hope) or the people being trained (“Huh? Oh we were multitasking…”).

When your employees are strapped for time and in need of training, what to do? Have you integrated online training into your program, and to what result? We’d love to hear from you!

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Topics: Virtual Training, Corporate Training

To Webcam or Not to Webcam: Using Webcams in Meetings, Presentations and Training

Posted by Kassy LaBorie

Jan 17, 2014 5:14:00 PM

kassy2011_(2)Over the 15 years I've trained and presented online, I've seen and learned some very interesting things when it comes to communicating and engaging a group of participants while using a webcam. I’m also a member of a dispersed team that meets virtually far more often than not. While I've seen webcams work, I've mostly seen them underwhelm and be an unnecessary use of bandwidth – but not always. Read on for 4 things you need to know about using webcams.

1. Engagement is in the eye (and ear!) of the beholder.

Each participant will have their own opinion on what will engage them, related to that topic, on that day, in that platform or space, and with that trainer/presenter. Online training industry experts speak of participants having a moment of excitement when they realize a webcam is being used, but the interest often fades. Turning it on at key points can add context and interaction, without taking up bandwith or using a tool just because you can.

My unofficial webcam tests as an online trainer: Every time I present a webinar, I ask participants who come early if they would like to say hello on their webcams. In the last year, I delivered 3-6 webinars a month. I can recall exactly two times when online learning participants agreed to it. Most people did not have webcams and those who did, preferred to not be seen in a training with other people they did not know.

Additionally, I conducted a test where I planned to stay on the webcam the entire duration of a one hour webinar. I memorized my one hour talk's key points and interactive moments, worked hard to look directly into the camera, warned participants I'd be looking at the chat at certain times instead of directly into the camera, and did my best to "pretend" I was looking at them, since I could not see them, when they were responding to questions and comments made during the session. After 20 minutes they unanimously agreed that although they loved seeing me introduce myself on camera, and that they thought I was nice looking (!!), they respectfully asked me to turn it off as it was distracting them from the topic of the program. I couldn't have been more pleased to turn it off so I could finally get to focus on them and their responses to the content and interaction rather than whether or not I was looking into the camera properly.


2. Use the right tool for the job. In training design this means we need to use the best feature to meet the meeting objective.

Does the webcam support and drive the objective of the meeting and help the participant better understand what is being communicated? If the answer is yes, then use it. If the answer is I don't know, then don't use it until you find out. The important thing is to be honest about this. If a person needs to receive critical information from the presenter’s face as the speaker looks into a webcam, then it can work. In these cases, the trainer or presenter needs to be a great performer, modeling themselves after those who work in broadcasting. The ability to replicate "looking" at others can only occur if everyone is on a webcam together. See my point next on why meetings are different from online learning events.

Great Webcam Training Example: A perfect example of the webcam being used properly to meet a learning objective was when the IT director taught my team how to use our new VOIP phones. He used the webcam to zoom in on the buttons on the actual phone. It was useful and more engaging and clear than a screen shot could have ever been. It was like he was at our desks, all of us at the same time. A brilliant use of the platform's tool!

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3. Meetings with people who already know each other are different than public learning or client/prospect events.

The simple fact that the participants know each other, or at least know the "culture" of a company and work together already, even if they don't know each other personally, is a game changer. People are not as nervous to be seen on camera when a relationship or common experience already exists. In these “familial” cases, the novelty of the webcam feature takes over, and the pleasantness of seeing a colleague one hasn't seen in a while translates into a "nice feeling." Also important to note is that ALL participants usually come on webcam together in this case, thus taking the focus off any one person as each person looks and responds to each other instead.

In recent online sales presentations, we have used the webcam to "lighten up" the tone of the call. We have literally seen people become more at ease (via their non-verbal body language) when talking to each other as soon as they see each other on camera. People smile and then seem to really "open up." But every time, after we have all said our hellos on the webcams, people quickly want to "get back to business" and turn off the cameras so they can focus. For these calls, the cameras become distracting once the introductions have been conducted.  

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Tips for managers and employees negotiating the virtual workplace.  Make your dispersed teams your greatest asset.

4. A learning event or sales call is not supposed to be about the presenter, it is supposed to about the participant.

Seeing a presenter on a webcam during a live online training event or webinar tends to make it about the person delivering it and not about me, the attendee. I then expect a performance that entertains or inspires me. I get to "see" that person, that personality, to be engaged by that performance. I don't necessarily learn something that I myself will do, like use new software, or implement a new process, or try a new technique. And this goes back to Point #1 above: use the right tool for the right job. If I'm in need of learning something that I need to do, use, implement or try (a new skill) then I need to be the one doing, using, implementing and trying while I am on the call or web event.

The Muppet "Beaker" conducted the following webcam experiment. His audience response was "With any luck, I'll never see anything like it again!"

May we all learn from Beaker!  Enjoy!


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Topics: Virtual Training, Training Technology, Sales Development, Public Speaking

How to "Do" Social Learning: Think Outside Social Media!

Posted by Tom Stone

Nov 25, 2013 2:38:00 PM

sos_digital_icon1_coverI recently presented with Kassy LaBorie at Training Magazine’s Online Learning conference held in Chicago. I opened the presentation by giving a top-10 list of trending topics in the Learning and Development industry. The audience agreed that the list seemed more-or-less accurate – only to learn it was copied from a presentation I gave in 2010! Certain topics, such as gamification, mobile learning, social learning, and others continue to be much written and talked about in the training field. One of these topics however, Social Learning, has I think been considered too narrowly – in at least in one respect – by writers, speakers, and other industry thought leaders.

First, let’s get clear that by “social learning” I don’t mean something that is new, a fad, or – strictly speaking – even a trend really. Social learning itself has been around for millennia – simply put, it is learning through your interactions with others and through the knowledge and expertise of others. What myself and many others in the learning and development field have been rightly stressing as a trend is how new technologies can better enable more frequent, more convenient, and more efficient social learning.

What technologies do most think of when they think social learning? Social Media. Originally referred to as “Web 2.0” technologies, this term refers to everything from popular websites and services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube, and more – even Amazon.com’s ratings and reviews. Then there are the similar technologies often used internally in organizations – Yammer, Skype, Chatter, and various social media technologies such as wikis, blogs, forums, video sharing and more that are now built into enterprise platforms such as Microsoft Sharepoint and many Learning Management Systems. All of these technologies can be very valuable – both in our personal lives, but also for increasing collaboration, sharing knowledge, and indeed enabling greater social learning in our workplaces.

Ben Betts, in a recent eLearning Guild research report, summed this up well: "Social learning isn’t new. It is a fundamental part of how we all learn from our experiences. The emergence of social media, as enabled by the Internet, is allowing us to interact socially while physically removed from each other. This has profound implications for how we facilitate learning at distance.”

And yet, when organizations look to technologies to enable greater social learning, is social media the only game in town? Hardly!

Virtual Classroom technology can also play a critical role in your social learning strategy. Used for 15 years for Live Online formal training, tools such as WebEx, Adobe Connect, and others also provide a great opportunity for collaborative, often informal learning from peers as well as the facilitator or trainer.  There are many features of these tools that with a little fore-thought and design can accomplish social learning:

  • Text Chat – Some people don’t feel that a conversation is happening in a Live Online learning environment if people aren’t talking through audio (not to mention full webcam video). But I’ve seen countless strong online learning experiences take place in the text chat area of the environment – in fact, this can often be better than audio given the time lag that can sometimes arise due to bandwidth or other issues. Experience a robust “chatversation” and I think you will agree!
  • Whiteboard – Allowing participants to write on a whitespace area in the tool can be a great way to brainstorm, collaborate on a question or problem, or chime in with their unique perspective. Even better, start to think of “whiteboard” as a verb! Don’t just let them whiteboard on the official whiteboard feature of the tool, but on any PowerPoint slides where it is appropriate.

  • Breakouts – Sometimes being able to work together in a sub-group is a great way to consider a case study, practice a new skill and get coaching, work through a thorny process change, or brainstorm ideas efficiently. This is similar to splitting up a traditional classroom into groups at their circular tables or the like, and then coming back together to discuss what each group came up with as ideas or solutions.

  • Feedback – You can use formal polls at any time, but also available is a more subtle, informal use of feedback in virtual classroom environments. Features such as “raise hand”, yes/no, checkmark, and others can be used to gauge attitudes, opinions, and the wisdom of the crowd gathered together.

These software features and others can all be used to enable greater social learning in your organization, as part of formal training events or independently. And of course social media platforms can be used in conjunction with virtual training events, to even further enable social learning. Consider the case where the above synchronous features are used in 2-hour training sessions held each week for 8 weeks, and an asynchronous social media platform with discussion forums, activity stream updates, blog posts, and more is used to keep the learning going between the formal learning events. No need for it to end there either – keep the social media platform live and let the cohort of learners continue to learn from each as they continue to apply their new skills and knowledge on the job.

So as you continue to consider how to use technology to enable more social learning in your organization – don’t only think of social media, think of virtual classroom technologies too!

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Topics: Virtual Training

Emotional Leadership Influence

Posted by Dan Heffernan

Nov 4, 2013 4:43:21 PM

Any self-made billionaire can teach a few lessons. Here's one you can’t afford to pass up!
A home-town entrepreneur used his credit card to build his idea into a hugely successful payroll and HR outsourcing enterprise, Paychex. I’d been hired to lead the e-learning team and the first task was to build a new online course whose goal was to teach sales reps how to sell retirement plans through the use of typical client scenarios.
We were asked to present a demo of the course beta to our founder and CEO, Tom Golisano. It was my first interaction with him and was anxious to know his thoughts as he watched the laptop images we were projecting on the otherwise sterile conference room wall.
I didn’t have to wait long. Tom quickly asked to see how we intended to present the benefits of retirement plans to business owners. We displayed the part of the course that covered features and benefits, where he saw the phrase "maximize your retirement income." He then asked a question that my team later told me had them shaking in their boots.
"Where did you get the information you included in the course?" We told him we had interviewed top performing sales reps and managers. He asked for names, which we provided. He nodded his approval as he heard names of people who had helped build the business. He pondered a moment. Then he asked another question, "Do you really think people buy retirement plans to maximize their retirement income?"
At this point I had to take one for the team. "Yes, Tom, I do think so, but what are we missing here?" His response will stay with me always. "I think people invest in retirement plans so they can buy gifts for their grandchildren."
He had instantly humanized our environment and our purpose, and the room grew silent. "Makes sense, Tom, so you’re saying we should appeal to emotion rather than logic here?" He answered with another question, "Don’t you think that’s how we make most of our buying decisions?"
I got to know quite a bit about Tom that day. I found him patient, considerate, thoughtful, and, as usual, demanding of a high standard. It was a fine example of the principled leadership that had contributed to his success.
Dale Carnegie said influence is about "arousing in the other person an eager want." If doing that well eludes you most of the time, remember to make an authentic appeal to emotion. We tend to rely on logical considerations in our effort to persuade, but the decision to buy is propelled by emotion. So it’s my turn to ask you a question. When was the last time something you said made a group of grown men and women in a conference room choke back misty eyes? 
Dale Carnegie Digital brings the time-tested Dale Carnegie training method right to your desk, with Live Online events so engaging you'll forget you're not in a classroom! Sign up for virtual events when it's most convenient for you, and start building your personal influence, one relationship at a time.
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Topics: Emotional Intelligence, Virtual Training, Personal Influence, leadership

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The Dale Carnegie Digital blog explores all topics related to online learning, dispersed workforces, virtual presentations, sales training and leadership in the digital age.

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