Music In Virtual Meetings Is The Way To Boost Engagement

It’s High Time You Played Music for More Engaging Virtual Meetings

Given the rise of virtual teams, it’s safe to say that virtual meetings are here to stay. Popularized during the lockdown, this form of meeting can be pretty effective with a growing number of remote workers, even though it certainly has some drawbacks. If online meetings are not going anywhere, maybe it’s time to start thinking about how to make them interactive and engaging by spicing them up a bit.

According to a study conducted by VPNoverview, employees deem virtual meetings emotionless, after which they feel kind of blue. Real life meetings naturally contain those subtle human emotions and energies that simply don’t come through the screen. One way to artificially re-introduce them is by using music in virtual meetings.

Although it could be a fantastic tool to fire up those virtual get-togethers, don’t overdo the magic with consistent background music. Remember, music is just a tool and not the main objective. It’s still a meeting with tasks to focus on, so save your DJ skills for another time.

While music can be great during face-to-face, fun activities like scavenger hunts and as ice breakers, during more focused, serious Zoom meetings, timing is important to make virtual meetings more engaging. Integrate the music into your meeting agenda when team members are talking, during breaks and screen shares, beginnings, endings and reflection periods, or even to break the ice.

Music In Virtual Meetings – What To Choose?

Music is a wonderful thing that can affect your emotions, something that has been known since the dawn of time. Even when you’re actively listening, a significant portion of music is only perceived by your sub-conscious, a fact known and exploited by many musicians. Even if you’re not actively listening, it still evokes feelings in you, and that’s exactly the thing you’re aiming for during remote meetings and among remote team members.

Fun fact, the late 19th century French composer Erik Satie invented a style called furniture music, which according to him was not meant to be listened to consciously. This is pretty similar to what you’re going to need when playing music in virtual meetings.

Firstly, you need to be clear about what mood you want your audience to get into. Is it calm and relaxed? Pumped up and energetic? Exploratory and curious? 

If your team is brainstorming, then you might want something experimental, something that helps new ideas pop out of your head more easily. If you already have a set of well-defined goals, and you’re basically revising them, something more energetic and motivating is the go-to choice. To answer the main question, metal could be one of these; however, it’s a pretty controversial genre, so be careful with it. Something more melodic could be the way to go.

Related: Agile QuickTip: A Minute of Fun

Pay Attention To The Details

Music in virtual meetings is definitely something to give a shot to if you want to bring teams some entertainment and get more engagement. There are many royalty free music options available online to use during online meetings. To ensure a smooth flow during the meeting, make sure to prepare your tracks beforehand, and also do a quick practice session with someone, to learn and test how to properly use computer audio without the music being played both from your computer and as an audio input from your mic simultaneously.

Tips For Building Consensus in Your Scrum Team

The WHYs and HOWs of Building Consensus in Your Scrum Team

As Scrum Master, your task is to lead a Team towards a common goal, assign and monitor the completion of tasks, facilitate progress, run the daily scrum, set milestones and ensure timely delivery. Not an easy task, even with Team members who fully agree on everything. Let alone if they don’t…

In this article, we give you a few tips on building consensus in your Scrum Team. But why even bother, when you could just tell everyone what and how to do? After all, you are their true leader, right? Well, let’s dive in then.

Why is Building Consensus In Your Scrum Team Is So Important Anyway?

On the surface, consensus among scrum team members might seem negligible, as technically speaking one does not need to agree with or like what they’re doing, in order for it to be done. Yet reaching consensus has some benefits you may not be aware of.

First, it helps strengthen and maintain inner cohesion. If Team members are not on the same page, they’re likely to start forming groups that will eventually lead to the disruption of integrity.

Besides that, building consensus in your Scrum Team requires discussions, through which hidden flaws in ideas might surface easier. If all teammates were given the opportunity to evaluate proposals, the final outcome might be a more viable solution. 

You might be also interested in: Increase Team Engagement with a Done Bell

So, here are a few quick tips on how to build consensus in among your Scrum Team members:

  • Improving consensus is best done through open discussion; therefore, being a scrum guide, you need to hold one. This allows each member to voice their concerns in a transparent manner, helping to minimize the chance of groups being formed.
  • Before discussing the issue, you might want to do a quick poll to see if there is any disagreement regarding the path forward. Who knows, there might not be any.
  • If there is disagreement, however, spare no effort to identify the root cause. In everyday life, a great portion of arguing happens because parties are talking past each other and taking things personal. We’re all humans, so these unfortunate practices infest our work as well, and as Scrum Master, part of your job is handling that effectively.
  • During the discussion, try to implement timeboxing to save yourselves from being stuck on non-essential matters.
  • Listen to clash of views, and if possible, incorporate them into the final decision. Think of it as political parties giving concessions to opposing parties in order to get their vote.
  • Be clear about the issues that need to be decided on. Transparency and honesty are values with immense long-term benefits, so don’t sacrifice them for a quick victory. Need further convincing? Well, according to an Employee Engagement Survey conducted by TINYpulse, employee happiness is closely linked to transparency. So, always be upfront and tell the Team the good, the bad and the ugly as well, so that everyone knows what needs to be solved.

Conclusion

Building consensus in your Scrum Team can be a real challenge sometimes, but as a true leader you cannot afford to neglect it. Differences among teammates should not be looked at as something inherently negative. Dissent can be leveraged and turned into an instrument that is not only useful for uncovering flaws during negotiation but is also great for monitoring task completion by providing a constant flow of constructive criticism.

Not Big On The Remote Business Idea? Give It a Second Thought

Running a Business Remotely – Embracing What Cannot be Conquered

When the pandemic hit two years ago, companies, stores and the whole business world were in shock. With lockdowns having been implemented in an instant, companies found themselves in deep waters, having had little to no time to switch to a new way of operating. This was not the dawn of remote work and remote companies, but it certainly was its moment of becoming mainstream.

Related: Survival of the Fittest: How Agile Organizations Thrived Through the Pandemic

Fast forward to the present, when employees are reluctant to go back to office work environments, demanding partial home office or fully remote options. Employers, on the other hand, are less than enthusiastic about it, some even threatening employees with layoffs, if they don’t show up in the office. Why? Because they think efficiency will inevitably plummet if their team members work from home.

However, statistics state the contrary. According to a Stanford study conducted with 16,000 employees over a 9-month period, productivity improved by 13% by the end of the research period. Therefore, you might actually benefit from running a remote business.

Here we give you a couple of reasons why embracing this concept rather than fighting it tooth-and-nail might turn out to be better for your business.

  1. The talent pool

When thinking of a brick-and –mortar kind of business, your options are quite limited in terms of workforce. Basically, you need to find employees with adequate qualifications, willingness to work for you (instead of other employers), and within a radius of a couple of miles. Not impossible, but certainly not easy. 

A business that fully embraces remote workers, however, has it way easier, as they have a talent pool the size of a planet. The remote employee has what it takes, speaks your language, is capable of doing the job, but happens to live on the other side of the world? Not a problem for a remote business.

  1. Saving costs

Another advantage of a fully remote business is that offices become completely useless for them. No utility costs, no rent, no renovation costs… The money otherwise spent on these could go to either product development, or alternatively it could be used to raise wages, as wages are crucial in getting and keeping talent. An ideal scenario for small businesses looking to save money or those looking to reduce startup costs.

  1. The environment

With no physical office spaces there’s no need to commute on a daily basis either. This decreases the carbon footprint of your company, which in the long run is much more than a simple marketing gimmick for you to boast in the present. Also, with gas prices skyrocketing, this leaves a lot of money in your employees’ pockets. Make no mistake, employees do appreciate forward-thinking employers, and a remote business model currently seems to be the path forward.

  1. Being futureproof

The pandemic hit a few businesses so hard they did not manage to recover. A lot of them went bankrupt. What if these businesses had been more open to remote work in the years prior? Nothing is certain, however, their chances of staying afloat would have been much higher if switching to remote work hadn’t come as a nasty surprise. You might dismiss this as a black swan event, but think again. Is it that unlikely for an event like this to happen again?

Final Thoughts on Running a Remote Business

A remote business is not some fringe phenomenon anymore. The question is, whether your company is ready to jump on the bandwagon and embrace the new norms, or keep walking the beaten path. No one can predict the future, however, one thing is certain. Remote work is on the rise, and employees – many talents among them – are choosing those that embrace it instead of fighting it.

Top 6 Tips For Growing Your Business Using Youtube

6 Ways To Use Youtube To Grow Your Business

Using social media platforms is a no-brainer when it comes to growing your business. It’s not that you are doomed without an online presence, but close to that. For this reason, you cannot afford to miss out on opportunities like YouTube to grow your business.

Chances are you’re already familiar with video formats one way or another due to online meetings; why not take this digital tool to another level, and use it to benefit your business growth?

Related: 11 Ways You Can Inject Some Joy into your Videoconferencing

Below we give you a couple of tips towards your growth strategy on YouTube channels.

  • Upload Awesome Content

Self-explanatory. People use YouTube to watch video content that is interesting and captivating in some way. If you don’t have a clue about what to do, just take a look at what your competitors are doing. What works for them could be a great starting point for you. On that note, however, don’t just blindly copy their ideas. Add some uniqueness to your videos to stand out from the crowd.

  • Generate Potential Customers

Since the range of products and services one can market on YouTube is endless, it’s hard to give a personalized strategy. In general, however, a great way to grow your business on YouTube is by shooting videos that fit your product and customer base. You could do videos on youtube that explain how it works as well as buyers trying it out. You could also share customers’ stories through your videos, how the item or service helped or worked for them. Another type of content could be webinars educating your audience on certain topics.

  • Invite Relevant Guests

Staying at webinars, a great way to grow your business on YouTube is by featuring industry veterans and experts on your show. Think about it. If your average garage band made a song featuring Guns N’ Roses or any big name, wouldn’t it drive some traffic their way? Inviting credible and/or popular figures who are relevant to a certain topic is certainly a great way not only to give your business some exposure but also a good customer service action to help customers trust you..

  • Build Trust

This simple, yet powerful thing can be a make-or-break when it comes to purchases. People have a tendency to stick to well-known and tested items, and are afraid of the unknown, which in this case happens to be your product. Building that trust is way easier when people have a couple of videos to watch not only about your goods but your team as well. It helps customers to see the human factor behind your wares, which is key to establishing trustfulness.

  • Recycle Existing Materials

Recycling is becoming more and more prevalent, not only in case of tangible items but also in terms of intangible things. Or if you compare works of the giants of literature with modern movie storylines, you realize it always has been. Anyway, if you have a blog with engaging posts, why don’t you give them a video format as well? Could be in the form of an informative, easy-to-understand presentation or a soothing voice reading it aloud.

  • THE Ultimate Weapon For Growing Your Business on YouTube: Influencers

Last but not least, another great way to grow your business on YouTube is by influencers. These popular and well-known individuals are pretty sought after by companies; some earning a hefty sum for featuring certain products in their videos. You can hire one or alternatively, you yourself can become one. For this, you must have a thorough understanding of your potential customers. 

Take their age for example. Gen Z is more likely to watch your content if it has memes in it, or at least is catering to their sense of humor which is vastly different from that of older generations. Actually, according to research conducted by Channel Factory, 93% of Gen Z adults (18-29 year olds) prefer using YouTube over any other video sharing platform. 

However, if your new or existing customers are middle-aged or elderly people, you must stick to their taste. Whatever the case is, you need to make sure that your content is optimized for your target audience. This way it has better chances of generating leads for your business.

Closing Words

So, these are our tips on using YouTube to grow your business and eventually impact your bottom line. They may require a lot of preparation and studying, but they are definitely worth the effort. What are your thoughts on the topic? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

The Scrum Master Salary in Actual Numbers

Let’s Talk Numbers – How Much Is A Scrum Master’s Salary?

When it comes to job opportunities, many points are to be considered. Proximity (if it’s not remote), home office availability, how fulfilling or meaningful it is, future colleagues, etc. However, it would be quite hypocritical to leave out another crucial aspect. Many companies like beating around the bush as long as possible, leaving you with a mere ’competitive’ when it comes to your salary. 

For this reason, we bring you some actual data on Scrum Master salary, so that you can have a more realistic picture, in case you were fancying a role as a Scrum Master or wish to start your scrum master certification.

Some Concrete Data

According to Glassdoor statistics, salary for a Scrum Master ranges from about $95,000 to $109,000 per year. These numbers are not carved into stone. Additional bonuses, commissions, number of years experience, etc. can give you a decent boost, and so can experience or expertise in a given field.

BuiltIn data gives a higher estimate, roughly between $97,000 and $167,000 per year. As per their estimates, these professionals’ average income in the US is about $103,000 per year.

Payscale determines that the average wage for scrum roles in the US is approximately $90,000. Note that this figure is the base salary without any additional bonuses. 

Additional Thoughts On The Scrum Master Salary

It’s a question only you can answer. Being a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) comes with a more than reasonable salary, especially compared to non-qualified peers. Truth be told, if you have some well sought-after skills in project management and IT, there are more and better opportunities waiting for you.

Related: Boost your Career with a CSM Certification

Thoughts For Takeaway

Becoming a Scrum Master requires determination, discipline, transparency, great communication and problem-solving skills, and confidence. It’s definitely great if you have all the technical know-how of scrum frameworks and scrum methodology down, but it’s those indispensable interpersonal skills that will get you far in a scrum master role. If you have what it takes to master both or have the ability for cross functionality, you can expect great demand on the labor market along with a decent Scrum Master salary.

Are you interested in becoming a Certified Scrum Master? Or you just wish to update your existing knowledge? Great! Check out our available courses and pick whichever option is the most comfortable for you.