Erica Keswin is an expert in the business of working human. She helps top-of-the-class businesses, organizations, and individuals improve their performance by honoring relationships in every context, always with an eye toward high-tech for human touch. Her book, Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Design a Workplace That’s Good for People, Great for Business and Just Might Change the World (2018 McGraw-Hill), was an immediate Wall Street Journal bestseller.
Photo Courtesy: Alphonse Telymonde
In this conversation, Erica talks about her book, Bring Your Human to Work.
Geetesh: Erica, can you share with us what it means for you to be “human at work.” What motivated you to write, or in this case, create this book, Bring Your Human to Work?
Erica: To me, being “human at work” means to honor relationships, because it’s our relationships with people that makes us who we truly are. After studying the workplace for over twenty years, and especially companies who actually called themselves “human” I discovered that while there are many ways to be more human, for instance, in meetings, with our devices, as leaders, and as employees—the bottom line is that everything we do is in honor of relationships. It’s not rocket science, but that doesn’t make it easy! So that’s what inspired me to write this book—to offer a guidebook to companies on how to honor relationships at work.
Geetesh: Presentations are one area where everyone needs to become more human, especially when these happen to be webinars, where there is no conventional contact. How can a presenter capture the attention of the audience in a live presentation or in a webinar? Can you share some ideas about how the surefire ways in your book can help readers become better presenters?
Erica: You’re right that it’s especially important to bring our human to presentations because, of course, it’s all about the relationships! And when we’re standing in front of a crowd or sitting in front of a screen, we have to be very intentional about the ways we can bring our human to the situation.
I talk to a lot of groups about the Three P’s to Honoring Relationships, and I think these are especially helpful for presentations.
- Prioritize: Regardless of the context, always prioritize relationships. Be present both physically and psychologically, which means regardless of the context, your job is to connect with your listeners.
- Position: Position your technology to amplify relationships. Don’t rely on your slides to tell the human story. Your slides can offer strong visuals, but you (or your audience) are the protagonist.
- Protocols: Make it clear what is to be expected in the case of webinars and virtual meetings. Maybe begin each meeting with everyone going around and saying hello, or standing up and showing their face. Think ahead and present some protocols to help grease the wheel of connection.