This week, let’s focus on SOCIALLY DISTANT COMMUNICATIONWe’re working at home, school’s being taught online, and events are postponed until further notice.  As in:

  • working from home
  • effective video-conferencing
  • thriving in a socially distant world
  • being POSITIVE… (think Lori Ryerson, Italian balcony singers, and Zion Williamson!)

We could use some POSITIVE, yes?
Let’s do this!


Some of us have been working from home for years.  Regardless, it’s very different to not have a choice, isn’t it?

Here are a few tips to help us when we’re working from home: 

⏰ Determine your working hours, particularly those hours when you will be readily accessible. Then share your hours with your colleagues.  This will optimize communication – and you will be more likely to keep regular work hours.

?Proactively set up shared documents with your colleagues.  Try Dropbox, Google Drive, OneHub, MS OnDrive or more (see descriptions for various platforms here or here)

?‍♂️Try a “walking meeting.” Lots of people do this from their office right ? Why not from home? If your colleague is local, then suggest you meet your colleague half way and go for a walking-meeting.

Pick up the phone and make the phone call. Sure, it’s easier to email or text. But that’s what everyone else is doing, right?

Even better: video-conference! 



Whether you’re using Facetime, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or another platform, here are some helpful video-conference tips.

Preparing for the Call

Start by taking a selfie of yourself at your desk. Then look at the image critically, particularly the background. Get rid of distracting objects. Keep it clean and professional.


  • seek natural and indirect light
  • the light should be focused on your face, not on the background

Dress well – from the waist up(!):

  • wear solids, not patterns
  • the color blue looks great on camera

Reduce background noise:

  • Close all other apps and windows on your computer or phone.
  • Close doors and windows, turn off fans and noisy refrigerators. But don’t forget to turn them back on! (I always forget…!)
  • Set up your videoconference workspace to absorb sound by incorporating FABRIC -curtains, carpet, blankets, pillows (That’s why I record my host-on-mic podcasts in my closet!)

Practice video conferencing. Call your bestie or a family member before you call your client or your boss.

Do’s & Don’ts for During the Call

Unsplash @ brett_jordan

Keep your camera at eye level. Not up, not down. Eye level. (This drives me crazy! Next time you’re watching the news and they do a remote interview, check out whether the camera is at eye level…)

Look at the camera (not the screen) whenever you can, especially when you’re talking.

Everything you know about body language prevails on a videoconference call: 

  • posture (sit up straight)
  • eye contact (again, look at the camera)
  • be open (no crossed arms)
  • use hand gestures purposefully (and no touching your face!)

Mute when you aren’t talking.

Don’t interrupt. Nod and smile to convey agreeance without interrupting. Never speak at the same time as someone else (especially your boss or your client!)

Stay on task. Don’t be tempted to multi-task. No social media or texting while you’re on a call (Yes, we can tell!) 


There’s plenty of research that demonstrates how social isolation negatively impacts our health and well-being.

unsplash @noahsilliman

Here are some tips to help you thrive in this socially distant world:

➡️ Take a step back and ask yourself: What STORY do you want to tell about your experience in 2020 with Covid-19? Then reverse-engineer this story and make it happen!

  • Identify some goals, create a customized tracking calendar, and TRACK your progress. What will you do daily? And your medium-term (2-3 week) goals? (What gets measured gets done!)
  • BATCH your news and social media time.  Limit the time you spend consuming news and social media. Watch out for information overload. (And please people – consider your sources!)
  • Focus on Tosca Reno’s 3Es of Wellness: Eating clean, Exercising & Emotional well-being.  (Sounds about right, doesn’t it? Thank you, Tosca!)
Tosca Reno

➡️ Leverage your COMMUNICATION SKILLS – now more than ever!

  • Monitor your family and friends’ mental health. Reach out. Watch for signs of anxiety and depression.
  • Listen!
  • Be positive



Last week we were ?podcasting about NETWORKING with executive recruiter Sharon Mah-Gin.

SHaron Mah-Gin & Dr. Andrea Wojnicki

Executive recruiter Sharon Mah-Gin with Andrea Wojnicki

A few of my favorite NETWORKING INSIGHTS from Sharon:

  • Going to an event?  It’s the hour BEFORE the main attraction that all the networking happens! (Of course!)
  • Faced with a room full of strangers? Approach a group with an ODD number of people – 3,5,…  (Someone will be grateful!)
  • When ordering at a restaurant, ask the waiter what the most POPULAR dishes are on the menu (OK – not exactly a networking tip, but still, great advice!)

Thank you, Sharon! 

I leave you with this. 

We control the tone of our communication.  Let’s keep it positive.

3 examples of real people being really positive despite really challenging times:

1️⃣ Do you remember Lori Ryerson, the professional photographer whom I interviewed for 2 ?podcast episodes (“Expressing your Creativity” and “Communicating with Color“)? Several days ago, Lori posted a challenge on FB to her artistic colleagues “to start posting some of their most favourite images. Images that calm, that uplift, that bring joy, that give hope, that make people laugh. You get the idea.” Something like this:

Lori Ryerson – FOCALOCITY
(beautiful, right?)

2️⃣ You’ve probably seen this?  The videos of Italians singing from their balconies whilst in quarantine:

(more here)
I could watch and listen all day!

3️⃣ Zion Williamson.  Does the name ring a bell? 6’6″ 284lb basketball player. In February 2019, 36 seconds into a big college game, his foot ripped through his Nike shoe. The next day, Nike stock dropped by $1.1 billion. Now one year later, Zion is an NBA player for the New Orleans Pelicans.  And he just announced that he will personally pay Pelican employees’ salaries for 30 days during the suspension of the 2019-20 NBA season because of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

These are amazing humans.

Lori RyersonItalian balcony singersZion Williamson

These are stories worth communicating.

Stay healthy! 

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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