Presenting Your Best Virtual Self – A Free, 45-minute Webinar [Video]

Join us for this free 45 minute seminar covering tips and tricks for presenting your best virtual self. You will learn ways to improve your communication effectiveness and online presence. Participants will gain an awareness of their physical environment, body language and non-verbal cues, as well as gaining helpful tips to engage your audience when presenting through an online platform such as #Skype, #Zoom or #MicrosoftTeams.

Recorded on August 19, 2020.

3 Ways to Respond to Difficult Behavior

Why do we argue? Why can’t everyone agree? Why are some people just… difficult? Challenging interactions have been with us since the dawn of humanity, they are a part of the fabric of the Human Experience. But boy are they hard! There is one pivotal concept that must be accepted before any one of us is going to be able to respond to these situations positively: We are faced not with difficult people, but with difficult behavior.

Ask yourself this: how does it feel to be labeled “difficult?” There is a great Seinfeld episode exploring this feeling, when Elaine receives much societal rejection for having this word written on her doctor’s reports. Doesn’t feel very good, does it? That’s because, as we all know, humans are capable of great things, and nothing is permanent. Labels help us identify things and their uses, purposes and intents. When we apply labels to people though, it dehumanizes them and implies permanence. Not good.

Behaviors, on the other hand, are actions occurring in moments of time. They need not be tied to the person committing such behavior’s identity, unless they choose to do so. Thus, applying labels to behaviors is a much more constructive means to approach the situation at hand.

From a very-wide-lens, we can identify all reactions and responses to difficult behavior under three primary categories:

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1.  Do Nothing

The easiest thing to do when faced with difficult behavior is to just ignore the problems you perceive and hope they go away. Remember that bully in middle school who wouldn’t leave you alone? Everyone told me to just ignore him, don’t give him what he wants. How did that work out? For me, as I would imagine for most of you as well, this tactic backfired spectacularly. It seemed to goad the bully on, and he just kept on messing with me.

Ignoring difficult behavior does nothing to make the person causing it to be aware of how you are perceiving it, how it is affecting you. It’s a non-starter, and many times the person may even consider your lack of response to be tacit approval. Yikes.

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2.  Change The Person

How many of you read this one and immediately thought “no, I would never want to CHANGE someone!” Well, this is a tricky one, because intention is very important. I lived in housing Co-ops in college, where a house of at least 20 people shared chores, meals and maintenance in a hyper-intense level of immediate proximity hard to imagine for most people. As you can imagine, difficult interactions were an everyday experience.

I remember one summer I was managing a Work Holiday where we all banded together to get some more major projects done. One member was being very lazy, disappearing to his room for hours at a time, much to the chagrin of those with whom he was assigned to work. In my naiveite, I thought I could go up there and motivate him to get to work, somehow giving him the energy I felt to make him want to go join in the collective experience.

But what was I really doing? As good intentioned as I felt I was, I was actually trying to change this person’s identity, make them into something they were not. I didn’t even consider what was going on with them, I just wanted them to buck up and conform. You can imagine how that worked out. Ultimately, my failures in communication as a leader that year led, in part, to a complete membership turnover. I had learned a very important lesson.

An individual’s personality is a result of that person’s unique life experience. Each person’s perception of reality is uniquely their own. Because of this, any change in their personality requires conscious effort by that very individual. When it comes to people, we can only change ourselves. Trying to force someone else to change their own personality is incredibly difficult, and when you think about it, incredibly selfish, too.

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3.  Modify Your Style For That Person

When realizing the failures of the above two methods of response, one of the most challenging relationships where difficult behaviors occur is in that of superior to subordinate. As a manager, you have a responsibility to the people you manage to make sure difficult behavior is not detrimental to co-workers or the organization. The style that you use to manage people may have to vary in order to meet the different challenges that different people present. To each their own.

This is the greatest challenge of all, but ultimately it is the only way that works. And it works because it takes the other person into account. You’re not just managing your way, you’re managing in a way that works for both of you, and not only does this make the interaction more comfortable, it empowers the other person and can even inspire them to change.

I know you’re all thinking, “Oh, great, more lofty platitudes about big-picture concepts. How does that help me today? How do I apply this to my own situation?” Well, the good news is, Vermont Panurgy has got you covered! We regularly host a plethora of virtual career development classes, several of which focus specifically on these types of interactions. Our virtual classrooms are small, highly personalized and live-led by one of our cohort of fabulous instructors. Our classes typically run for at least one full day, giving students and instructors plenty of time to dive into the topics and answer all questions. Our next class on this topic is called Managing Difficult People, and will occur from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Thursday, August 27th. If you are interested in attending, or if you want to learn more about our offerings, contact us today!

Office 365 and Backups, DON’T Lose Your Data!

Microsoft 365 is a great platform for connecting a team across wide distances. However, Microsoft only commits to providing you access to your data, they do not provide guarantees that it is backed up. What if you accidentally delete a file from OneDrive? What if an employee quits and you lose access to their Outlook Mailbox? Watch this video and contact us today to learn more about how protect your Office 365 data!

For those using Office 365 or are considering implementing Office 365 email, please read the following:

There are known attacks against Office 365 that can compromise associated email accounts. Basically, hackers take over someone else’s email account through Office 365.  Hackers may send out spam to directly to attack an individual or company. Another common attack is to contact a company’s customers while impersonating high-level employees to get the customer to reroute financial transactions or to confirm/send sensitive data to the hackers.

One of the main symptoms of a compromised email account in Office 365 may include server side rules that redirect email into a Deleted Items folder or other folders like the Junk folder or the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Feed folder. These emails often go unseen by the actual email account user and permit the hackers access to information in the incoming emails.


Fortunately, there are some preventative steps that can be taken to reduce the ability of hackers to compromise via Office 365. The main security implementation that we highly recommend is to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all Office 365 accounts. There are additional settings and configurations Vermont Panurgy can assist you with to log and audit account usage, which will better enable us to track any attempted hacks.


If you use Office 365, please contact us to make sure you are protected again such attacks. We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have.



Leadership Institute Class – Update

If your organization is like most, you promote from within.  Often employees are promoted to supervisory roles because they are good at their job, with little to no training.  Vermont Panurgy’s 3 day Leadership Institute was developed to address this need.

Our next sessions will be running on March 18-20 (only 1 seat available) and April 24-26.  Below are quotes from two of the participants from our Leadership Institute class in January:

  • “Lauri is a very dynamic teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed her class.  This is the 1st class in a long time that has kept me engaged where I have felt safe.
  • “This class really re-energized me and provided a breadth of knowledge and inspiration to take back and lead my team.”