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Nicki Denholm, Founder & Chair

With so much uncertainty, it's easy to get overwhelmed by your worries and concerns and lose sight of the long game and what we can actually achieve in this situation.

As the ancient Zen parable says, “Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our current condition”.

So, in Tip 1 and Tip 2, we’ve covered holding up the microscope on your current working life and then taking time to really uncover your strengths, skills and what you love to do.

Tip 3 takes us a step further and asks what we can practically do to prepare for the new world and opportunity that lies ahead. But where to start…

 

Tip No. 3  |  Futureproof your skills

 
First off – a bit of a personal mantra - if you want to be successful in whatever you choose to do, you need to provide more value to your customers than anyone else does in your space.  So be constantly upskilling no matter where you are on the curve of your career.  Do the research. Become an expert in your chosen field through a consistent approach to self-learning. 
But first, make sure you’re comfortable with the basics of how to adapt to this new online world.
From how we once managed our time at the office, to how we communicate with our teams, much has changed – probably forever.  So, whether you're working remotely or preparing for a new role, certain skills are essential for the changing face of work.
1 - Technical (I don't mean coding!) 
At the moment, most businesses we have spoken to have online conferencing facilities embedded into their teams, whether it's Zoom, Skype or even Google Hangouts - you may be asked to pick up brand new tools like Slack, FreedCamp or Miro (for the early-adopter). 
So how do you navigate all this new stuff?
Dive in. Sign up with your personal email address and create a free account so you can play with the features and work through any video tutorials they will offer you when you log in for the first time. Don't skip them, no matter how simple they seem.  
Play! Did you know Zoom has a filter to soften features on camera and the option to change your backdrop to the Golden Gate bridge or any photo you want to upload?
The more you play with features on these platforms, the better you will be at navigating and troubleshooting when technical issues arise.
(And for those of you actually are looking for courses on coding, The Google Digital Garage has a 46 Data and Tech courses to choose from.)
2 - Communication
Online conferencing comes with a new set of challenges that requires us all to advance our communication and netiquette skills. Some are obvious, like instead of leaving your phone at your desk before you go into a meeting, now you should turn off your notifications so you're not constantly 'pinging' in someone's headphones! Phones, kids, cats, dogs, even setting your coffee cup down on your desk can be picked up by a mic, so mute yours when others are speaking, to avoid any background noise distracting your team. 
It's unlikely you had to check the lighting when you were catching up with your colleagues in a centralised office or have a set agenda or PowerPoint presentation at every meeting.
However, presentation skills and meeting management are going to be key to getting things done when you're working in distributed teams. 
The principles of an effective presentation haven't changed.
They are more valuable than ever in our strictly online environment to promote engagement.
Meetings will be more reliant on effective presentations that enhance communication and help generate ideas among all members of the group. 
Udemy, for example, has a variety of courses designed to help people improve their presentation design and communication skills.
3 - Time Management
This is by far the biggest change in a lot of people’s lives at the moment, whether you’re trying to pack your day with a new fitness regime, online courses and calls to family and friends or your schedule is now packed with work normally spread amongst a team of people. Time management is not just the key to getting things done but also creating space for everything else.  Shutting down, logging off and putting away our devices is more important than ever.
But I would be lying if I said that part is easy in the current situation!
Finally, learnability (the ability to learn at speed) is said to become the most sought after skill over the next 10 years. So, start the habit now. And for the immediate future bringing creativity and emotional intelligence to an increasingly online world are essential.  These are the human traits that machines can’t replace.  So worth checking out MindTools on building Emotional Intelligence and there are so many good TED Talks on this subject too.
There is so much you can be doing right now to prepare for a new working life and so many fantastic resources from which to learn, but please feel free to contact us if you need any further guidance.
Nicki Denholm at nicki@denholmassociates.com