When the shutdowns started happening last year, we all had to take our “engagement game” up to another level. Suddenly, our meetings became virtual. Once we mastered the “unmute” and “turn on video” buttons, we had to also master keeping people engaged without the benefit of being in the same room. We could no longer read body language…or yawns.
Vernon Roberts started mastering virtual engagement before it was cool. He and I worked together in the 90’s, teaching accounting, banking, loan approvals and other dry topics. In that environment, Vernon brought life to the classroom. When he formed Evoke Virtual in 2003, he was ahead of his time.
Think about the people you have walked with through fire. Vernon is one of those people for me. And we went through some serious challenges when we worked together in banking. As he says in this conversation, in many ways we were ahead of our time. And neither of us would have it any other way. He’s still ahead of his time.
As it often does, this conversation took many interesting turns; not surprisingly, it was engaging start to finish. He has so many tips and tricks, from setting context, using open ended questions, understanding our own interests in a conversation, to hearing what really matters to those we are talking to.
Here’s what Vernon has to say about himself:
Vernon Roberts is an author, master instructor, coach and speaker. He is responsible for sales, finance, and HR operations for evoke virtual. Vernon founded Evoke Learning in 2003 after working 20 years in the banking and finance industry. His career, prior to evoke, concentrated on such areas as retail sales and operations, finance, learning and development, and client relationship management. Vernon founded evoke virtual to help address the challenges that his clients experience managing and training a dispersed global workforce. In the face-to face and virtual classrooms, Vernon creates a positive learning environment and provides masterful coaching that allows participants to achieve rapid and permanent growth in their skills as communicators and presenters. Vernon coaches and consults face-to-face and virtually in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Co-author of The Gift of Success and Happiness (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011), Vernon challenges readers to transform their lives by utilizing dynamic business process principles. He has also published in T+D magazine and client newsletters and delivered seminars on work-life balance to audiences in such institutions as the Wake Forest University Schools of Business. Vernon holds a B.A. in Economics/Business Administration from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) and an M.B.A. from Loyola University’s Sellinger School of Business and Management in Baltimore, Maryland.