June 13, 2021

Learn More About Content Marketing for SEO on July 14, 2021

So, you think SEO is dead? Think again. According to a study by BrightEdge, SEO drives 1000% more traffic to a website than organic social media. Google and other search engines, like Bing are changing their algorithms constantly. SEO is changing rapidly. To keep pace and stay competitive, businesses need to adapt their digital strategies constantly or risk getting obsolete. Join us for this informative webinar to learn how to find keywords to create better content, increase organic traffic, and get more leads to your website.  

Join us on July 14, 2021 from 11am-12pm EST / 9-10am MST / 8:30-9:30pm IST join me as I have a discussion with Anandi Merchant from Anandi Merchant Digital Consultant about why content is vital to your SEO strategy. These strategies will help you to increase organic traffic, growing your online reach. 

Are you interested to know more?

Follow this link to engage on YouTube during our live stream (where you can leave your comments through our broadcast), or simply watch on this page itself.

If you like our YouTube page, you will be notified when we go live!

Or, you can click through the video below to click on the "Set Reminder" button.  

Content Marketing for SEO: Why Content is Vital to SEO 

If you'd like to know more about Anandi:

Read a blog she posted here on Authentic Journeys: SEO Guide for Small Business

See her website: Anandi Merchant Digital Consultant 

Connect with Anandi on LinkedIn 

Learn More About Content Marketing for SEO on July 14, 2021

June 9, 2021

Add Authentic Journeys Training to LinkedIn Profile

This post will show you how to add your Authentic Journeys' training to your LinkedIn profile.

I've taken some time to write out how to add your training to your LinkedIn profile through written instructions, screenshots and video tutorials. Though the platform updates and changes from time to time, hopefully, the process is pretty much the same now as it was then!

Are you one of the almost 4,000 professionals who have attended a workshop, training program or coaching session through Authentic Journeys? 

If yes, do you want to display this on your LinkedIn profile? 

It is simple and easy in 6 steps. You can also add your certificate to your profile. If you did not get a certificate or do not have a digital certificate, contact us, we can send one to you! 

Steps to Add Any Training or Education to your LinkedIn Profile (Screenshots)

Step 1: 
On your LinkedIn profile, go to the Education section > Click the plus sign to the right of the header to add something.

Add Professional Development to LinkedIn Profile

Step 2: 
Type in School Name as “Authentic Journeys” (Infopark should also display in small letters below it.)

Step 3 : 
In the “Degree” (or "Field of Study") field, type in the name of your program. (ie. Managing Client Expectations. The title will be on your certificate. If you do not have a certificate, feel free to ask us.) 

Display your career building classes on LinkedIn.

Step 4: 
Enter Year (optional)

Step 5: 
Course Description. This is optional. While there is a short description available to you in the Authentic Journeys online course, you can leave it blank or write your own description.

Display your corporate training certificates on LinkedIn.

Step 6: Media. Add your certificate PDF here. You may want to change the file name to the course name for easier readability. 

Display your corporate training certificates on LinkedIn.

Don't forget to click save!! You are done! A big thank you! 

Feel free to follow our School Page on LinkedIn for updates and to see alumni.  

After saving the changes to your profile, visit the Authentic Journeys’ Education Page to meet other alumni and also leave your feedback about Authentic Journeys’ programs.

Note, you will need to be logged in to LinkedIn to see the LinkedIn pages linked above. 

Video Instructions 
Please follow the video demo below to display your workforce development programs on your LinkedIn profile: 

Thank you for your support and hope to see you on the Authentic Journeys LinkedIn Educational Page

Jennifer Kumar, the Managing Director of Authentic Journeys, has trained or coached over 4,000 professionals just like you. Check out some of our popular programs: individual or team coaching, email writing, and Managing Client Expectations

More information about career planning:
Track your own performance and achievements 
Does an Impressive Title Make You a Good Manager? 

Updated May 2020/June 2021

May 19, 2021

Recalculating Opportunities for Clients in the New World Of Work

 I'm super excited to share a presentation entitled Recalculating Career Opportunities for Clients. This was a panel discussion that I took part in with Lisa Hecht and Stephanie Renk as part of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) International Coaching Week (ICW) 2020 through the ICF High Country Chapter. 

I am excited to share that this is my first official ICF recorded presentation where I have presented. I feel so blessed to have had this first opportunity with Lisa and Stephanie. We were all supportive cheerleaders for each other throughout this process. It was indeed a pleasure and good learning experience to collaborate with them. 

Below you will find the recording of our presentation along with the transcript of my part of the presentation. Follow after the transcript for Lisa's and Stephanie's bios, including website links. 

See the video on YouTube

Don't forget to subscribe to ICF High Country's Channel!

Jennifer's Transcript

ICF presentation

Thanks, Stephanie. Welcome, everyone. I was on mute, I'm sorry about that. That happens nowadays. All right. So welcome, everyone. We are so happy that you had time to spend with us today, people from all over the world across time zones. That's another way that we're recalculating our opportunities in this new world of work.

So thank you so much, Lisa and Stephanie, for providing the groundwork for this entire discussion, which I'll be building on. Here we're talking about how to network, initiate, nourish, maintain our relationships once we actually land that job or if we've had a long time employment, how to do that now that we might be rethinking how to do that. So I think we can move to the first slide here. 

In my presentation, I'd like to have some interaction in the chatbox. We may or may not get to everyone's input. I would like to ask you to think about if you're a coach, what do our clients miss about going to the office or if you're not a coach, what do you miss about going to an actual office as you're thinking about some of these questions or answers, also think if you're a coach, how do we coach people about this? I'm going to ask you about coaching questions momentarily as well. So as people are putting.... awesome.. insight into the chat box, if we could move to the next slide, please. 

I have a list of the top 10 that I have gathered from my clients, coaching leaders and other professionals on global virtual teams, some of these would be what you have mentioned. Of course, I'm not going to have enough time to address all of these, but definitely the ones on the right side in red. So when we talk about shorter breaks, it's not that people actually miss shorter breaks. It's kind of a misnomer there. They miss breaks in general between meetings. If there's a term that has become commonplace in the last year, much more so than before, is "hard stop." I think people are actually getting sick of that term because it comes up right in the beginning of a meeting sometimes, which makes some people feel really anxious that they're not going to have enough time to share, they're not going to have enough time to analyze what's being said or participate properly. So a lot of the leaders I coach actually mentioned they feel working from home, especially since the pandemic feels a lot more rushed, sitting in the same chair, in the same room all day. We don't even have a chance to move to another room, even going to the restroom. You know, these practical things become a big challenge. Like some some people mentioned, they don't even want to have water because they feel like, "OK, I know I'm going to have meeting after meeting, and if I have water, we know what's going to happen after that. I can't move my chair all day, which means I can't also context with....."

Yes, Lisa, I also keep water here. We can't context switch as much or it's as easy to contact switch. So there's other solutions to that I'll be talking about momentarily as well as people don't really have the time to really just decompress or analyze or compartmentalize what they've just heard. And then they're going to a completely different topic, a different meeting with a different set of people. And it's just very overwhelming. And as I coach leaders and other professionals, they also mentioned the second point here. In fact, one leader actually was pretty loquacious in his story when he said one of the things he missed most was walking into his team's space in the office. And he gave a great visualization of the synergy, how some people, especially those who might not be as vocal, would still be able to brainstorm and analyze things with their colleagues because those same colleagues would be moving through the office throughout the day and then kind of realizing someone's stuck, stuck at whatever they're doing. So they would reach out and ask, do you want to have a discussion? Would you like to brainstorm? I can help you out. These things are missing and it's not as easy to understand when people need help. We have to really listen to their nonverbal signals during a meeting, which can be a little bit challenging, especially if we only have audio to rely on.

But because we are having all these meetings online, including this one, people do feel that they need to be online all day. They have this... they feel compelled that I must be online and I can't miss anything. And they have a zillion different platforms. Most of the professionals I coach have a minimum of ten to fifteen platforms they're using in a day. So there's Zoom fatigue, there's digital overload. It's a real thing.

So as we think about this and thank you for sharing in the chat box, I hope most of what I mentioned was either on the slide or referred to what you had said. I think we can move to the next slide.

Now it's time to think about the coaching questions. What kind of coaching questions can we ask our clients who are trying to build relationships within their team or organization? And as we think about some of these questions and maybe how they might how that conversation might unfold, we can even look at the next slide to see some of the top questions that I've kind of used.

Obviously, this list is not exhaustive, but some of these questions are a good starting point to really building a conversation around how people would like to see themself in the new world of work as they're recalculating how to build relationships or encourage relationship building in their own environment.

And I know as listening to someone talk, it might not be so easy to think of some of these questions so you can pop them in the chatbox any time from now to the end of the session. So I think we can move to the next slide.

Some here are some points that come from, say, the culmination or conclusion of the conversations that were initiated by some of those questions. Now, since some leaders and some professionals mentioned they only have meetings, they don't have time for anything else during the day, they need to fit socialization, networking, casual talk, small talk, whatever you want to call it, into the actual meeting. So it's an intentional process here. They might try to use Zoom if they're not using Zoom. Zoom seems to be the best one for breakout rooms. So kind of have a breakout room session either in the beginning or the middle of the session. Have people go in, in pairs and just they don't have to talk about anything business. They could talk about whatever they want or nothing. They just want to be quiet for a minute and take a load off, that's great, too. Now, one of the leaders I was coaching as we were discussing it said, "What if I do it at the middle- middle in the middle of the meeting? What will happen? Will people lose their focus?" He was worried about that, but he tried it out and he was surprised to find out that actually people just got to relax for a minute in the middle of the meeting, kind of download what they were in the middle of discussing. And they had time to kind of process that. So when they came back into the meeting, they were kind of refreshed. So in some cases, it tends to work out really well. And because of that, it's important to set the culture in the meetings itself whenever possible. I think we can move to the next, which is how to actually encourage the socialization, within the larger company. 

Point number one, is similar to the previous, but it's different in the sense that I mostly coach leaders and professionals in startup companies. Some of this may not work in larger companies. So let's say they decided we will have a log-in time between nine a.m. and five p.m. So they'll kind of keep one platform open for people to kind of come in and say hi or I need help with something or how is your day going or someone want to meet for virtual coffee break or something like that. Like when we go to an actual office, what hap what happens? We don't start work immediately. Who does that? Right. They go to the restroom, go to the coffee... coffee machine, do a whole bunch of things, talk to people, sit at their desk, take time to turn on the computer. So they're kind of trying to use that... that same buffer zone, but in a virtual setting. And it has worked for some teams in some companies I've coached.

Point number two, again, a four-day work week has been implemented with some of the clients I coach. They justify this by saying since people are working longer hours during the week, they can have one day off and it's kind of on a rotational basis, like some people might have Monday, some people might have Wednesday, etc., or rotational weeks off. So let's say there's a team of six or seven people every six or seven weeks one person takes an entire week off. No logging in, no digital, anything for work, anyway, for that whole week. And I've actually worked with companies that have that implemented and it worked well for them. 

To build off of what Stephanie mentioned, LinkedIn. Some of my clients have created courses which they've opened to the public to teach about certain concepts that they use in their office or they partnered with universities, or as Stephanie mentioned, people shared their accomplishments and then others from the same company coming in kind of wish them good luck. So in larger companies, this tends to be a really nice way for people to show their support to each other and be visible.

And lastly, if we can go to the last slide, the culture shifts. Whenever possible, try to set up all the processes in advance. We weren't able to do this last year, obviously, when we were suddenly thrusted into, stay at home, work from home. But now as we're evolving through the process, new ideas come up, new ways of doing things as we recalculate these opportunities. So as something is kind of set up or thought about, try to onboard people to that. So that's folding into point number three here on board some of your or all of your teams into what is the new expected normal and how they can actually do it.

And best practice would say don't have this as an announcement where people sit there and fall asleep and listen to one person talk for one hour. They won't do it. They'll hate it. Try to make that onboarding similar to what you're expecting in an actual culture shift. It takes a creative approach, but we've seen some great results from this.

So I hope these ideas have given you some food for thought, and I think this concludes our presentation, and I know there's some questions on the deck so we can turn that over to Stacy. Oh, you might be. Thank you, Jennifer.

For a more detailed discussion on improving your visibility while working from home, jump on over to this post where you can listen to a webinar by Jinesh Narayanankutty, Brent Edwards and I back in May 2020.

ICF ICW 2021 Panel Discussion

Stephanie's Bio and Website Link

Stephanie is the founder and co-owner of Idaho Next Steps Coaching, helping job seekers define their career goals, build career marketing portfolios, and prepare for interviews to land the job they want with confidence. Since the beginning of her career, she has supported veterans, professionals, students, and colleagues to obtain their goals by providing guidance and resources through every step of their journey. Stephanie is a certified professional career coach and resume writer through the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC).

Lisa's Bio and Website Link

Lisa Hecht is an ICF-Credentialed Career Coach who helps young professionals and those in transition to find their best-fit, next-step jobs, careers or callings. She combines learning from her 32-year career at Hewlett Packard with Positive Psychology, career/calling assessments and tools, and the science of goals and motivation, to help clients discover their unique advantages and apply them to move into their next careers, all with a good dose of humor and warmth!

Of course, if you are looking to build your remote/work from home culture with your distributed, virtual teams between the US and India, contact Jennifer here.

Please excuse grammatical errors in the transcript of the spoken video script.

May 15, 2021

Client Calls, Small Talk, Clearing Requirements Doubts: Words from Our Clients

Outcomes from Our Sessions Noted By Participants Just Like You! 

See the video on Vimeo

Video Transcript:

It was nice to interact with Jennifer on the Q&A session. The session deals with how we can handle the clients during the business call. She's having a bundle of practical tips and suggestions which we can adopt during a call with the clients, especially US clients, which is difficult to find through online searches. It improved our overall confidence a lot. I think she's a person we can depend on for consulting or mentoring while working with US clients for general business communication or to know more about US business culture. I'm really grateful to Jennifer for the valuable tips and suggestions she provided during that session.

See Programs:

Hi everyone. I'm Lallu. I had attended the sessions conducted by Jennifer Kumar. These sessions were really helpful. She gave us a deep insight into how to work with American clients. Some of the valuable points which I learned from the sessions were the importance of arriving early to a meeting and how the small talks can actually become the icebreakers. Jennifer encouraged all of us to put into use whatever we learned from the sessions. We had followed her suggestions and we got benefited. I would encourage all of you to attend the sessions and get benefited just like me. Thank you, Jennifer, for your wonderful sessions. I'm looking forward for more sessions from you.

See Programs:

I had a lot of doubts regarding how to politely ask the doubts of new requirements and some late extension for the delivery date to some blockers. Jennifer helped me to sort out these type of issues and she shared a lot of blogs related to these types of doubt, and it really helped me to sort out these type of issues. Yeah. Thanks, Jennifer. Thanks for your great session. Thanks.

See Programs:

Note: Please excuse any grammatical mistakes in the spoken or written English transcripts.

May 13, 2021

US Culture for Remote Work: Coaching for Corporate Success

Working from offshore with North American clients and colleagues presents many challenges, one of them being how to build that cultural context, especially due to travel restrictions and corporate budgetary restrictions when it comes to traveling. We are here to help you fill that gap, to build that cultural context and really gain some insider information that you might not be able to get because of the travel restrictions. I'm Jennifer Kumar from Authentic Journeys. Under the program header of U.S. Culture for Remote Work, we have four programs. 

US Culture for Remote Work - Training and Coaching

See the video on Vimeo.

Building Trust and Good Relations with U.S. Clients

The first program in this category is building trust and Good Relations with U.S. clients. This seminar-type program has no cap on attendance. We could have one person from your company 10, 50, 100 or a couple hundred. In this seminar, we focus our discussion around how to build trust and good relations by using the three types of small talk to do that. You might be thinking, "Well, I only use small talk in the beginning or the end of my meeting to ask questions like, how was your day? How was your weekend or what will you be doing on your vacation?" Yes, that is one of the three types we will be talking about. The other two, well, you'll have to sign up to find out more. 

Deliver Impressive Status Updates

The next program in this series is Deliver Impressive Status Updates. We strive to provide a platform for you to learn how to enhance your status updates, to give the best impression not only of you and your work and your team's work, but your company's good work that you do on a day-to-day basis. How do we go about this, helping you learn to tie what you're talking about, what you did yesterday, today, tomorrow, your blockers to the bigger picture, whether that's the bigger picture of the timeline of the current iteration of the project you're working on or the entire project duration or how it impacts how others on the team will be able to do their work because of something getting delayed or something getting done sooner than we expect.

We help you to learn how to articulate, to tie all of what you're doing together up into how it impacts the client, the end user, their business, as well as, of course, you still have to look at the technical side, but we try to put all these together in one package for you to be able to communicate more effectively. This not only gives a better impression of what you're doing and that you have a really good grasp and a really good hold on what you're doing technically, but that you understand the business behind it and that your team works together well. A really well-crafted status update not only gives a good impression of what you're doing, but it gives an impression of how the team communicates, how the company is working as a well-oiled engine, so to speak, as well as other impressions behind that communication, even if you're only communicating your status updates internally, this still applies to helping you and your team communicate with more impact and more effectiveness. 

Cross-Cultural Acumen For India-US Teams

Get Ready for the Presentation -  Demo  - Virtual Meeting

The next program in this series is Get Ready for the Presentation or Demo. 

Did you know how you structure your presentation would help or hinder building trusting long-lasting business relationships across cultures? 

Well, it's true, especially when we don't think about preparing our presentations, this could be the downfall. Regardless if it's that first sales presentation where we're just making that first impression without having signed on a client to the first presentation that you have to give after the client signs on to any other presentation, demo or communication interaction that happens during the normal course of the project. It's true, especially when working with North Americans. It's critically important to structure your communication in a linear fashion. Yes, people in North America tend to be very, very direct or definitely more direct than those from other cultures. Giving a presentation in a roundabout way to get to the point would not work. But maybe you're not sure if your presentation communication style, demo meeting style is in a linear or in a circular format. That's where we step in here a Authentic Journeys. You would come into your sessions bringing in mock sessions of your presentations, demos, meetings, etc., or allow us to be a part of your meetings, your live meetings or your recorded meetings to consult where it's going well and where you need to think about enhancing and changing something to improve that presentation flow. This is a really great program for anyone who might be trying to figure out how to improve their presentations, their demos and their meeting structure.

Onboarding for Working from Home 

This is the last program in this series. Regardless if you have many seasoned employees or many new joinees since the pandemic hit, many of us are craving that interaction, that relationship building that we are missing from just those soft interactions, such as walking by someone's desk where we don't even have to speak, all of those are gone more in favor of very formal, almost seemingly contrived communication interactions that revolve mostly around only business discussions.

This program helps all team members to not only break the ice and learn about each other and get to know each other on a personal level, which everyone loves to do actually, but also helps to provide some foundations and best practices for teleworking, teamwork and communication while working remotely, such as email, best practices and etiquettes, teamwork when working remotely in distributed teams, as well as other etiquettes as defined by your specific company and or roles. This program tends to last around eight to nine hours with four two-hour sessions. They're highly interactive. Even though we're delivering this online in a Zoom classroom about every 10 15 minutes, there are lively group discussions, breakout rooms, mocks, role plays, etc.. In fact, the last session is a culmination of all that we have discussed where the team members will deliver a mock meeting, keeping in mind all the etiquettes that we try to touch on throughout the entire program. There is not only facilitator feedback, but peer feedback as to whom on the team is working as a team player while working remotely. If you find any of these programs will be helpful for you or your team to get in touch with us here at Authentic Journeys, were happy to help you and take you and your team to the next level while working remotely. Thanks so much and hope to be in touch.

Please excuse grammatical errors in the transcript of the spoken video script.

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.