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In this episode of the Smarter Business Podcast, Neil interviews Ginine Capozzi, owner of KnowledgeForce Consulting. Ginine talks about the effects of COVID-19 on her business, working from home and her many video firsts.
Here is a link to Ginine's site - https://knowledgeforceconsulting.com/
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(upbeat music) - Welcome to this episode of the Smarter Business podcast. On this episode, we have Ginine Capozzi of Knowledge Force Consulting. She's gonna talk with us a little bit about how consulting has changed and how she utilizes video. - So I'm Ginine Capozzi as you said. I am a small business owner of a talent development firm. We're gonna design and deliver organization specific training solutions that really connect people, concepts skills and real world experience. And by doing that in developing those training programs, our customers achieve greater productivity, improved efficiencies and enhanced performance for their teams and their business overall. So we help develop those solutions from strategy all the way out to execution. - Excellent. Well, overall how's life right now. How's business, you know, we're both in New York state, a lot of the restrictions have lifted. Have you... have you got back to work? Or are you doing a lot of things virtually still. - So I have to be honest. My business has been virtual for the majority of the time. I have worked remotely myself for over 20 years and Knowledge Force has been entirely virtual since we started in 2012. So the world of virtual work was similar. How it's changed is I haven't been on a plane since December and I'm going through withdrawals. So I haven't actually seen my customers in a physical way in person for meetings or training sessions. And that's how it's really shifted, day to day types of work, developing those solutions. Myself and the team have worked from home for years. And it's been an interesting time in training because we're finding that there are certain things that have moved entirely, you know, out of scope and people are not focusing on right now because of the shifts in industry. And then there's other things that the phone hasn't stopped ringing about. So of course you would imagine anything that was once gonna be a live training. People are asking for our expertise of like, "How can we turn that into E-learning? "And how do we get it done yesterday?" And the answer is you would have gotten it done yesterday if we did it yesterday, (laughs) Right. But I'm trying to get through as much of a rapid development conversion process. And I think that we're all had been hopeful, that things were gonna bounce back a bit quicker to new normal and are finding that most of my clients now have delayed any sort of in person, visits, meetings on sites, at least through Q two of 2021. So I'm looking at another six months. It'll probably be about a year out of the traditional field. - Oh yeah. That's, that's a longer, longer span than have heard a lot of folks. - Yeah, I think part of the we were saying that I think part of the reason is it's one thing you could always backtrack if we're able to do it but the constant one month, one month, one month, one month decision-making is leading to a lot of instability and inability for people to plan. And so by making that judgment call that says, we're saying no travel, no onsite till next you know to Q2 2021, then people can plan and then it will be great to do it sooner. - Excellent, yeah and I mean that, that's what it... Nobody's gonna get mad if you can deliver more than what they expect, right. - Exactly. - So that's, that works. So, you know, it sounds like a fair amount has changed. There's no travel, we deal with that in video production work as well. We've had to change a lot of things. Do you think there's a single kind of biggest change or is it really just this, you know, training has gone virtual and so on? - I think that it, for me, that it's training has gone virtual. I think it's the blending of work and personal life in a way that separation. So I think a lot of businesses just are, or a lot of employees aren't used to it, right. That idea of how do we keep work as work and life as life when we've really merged them together, our home lives, our dogs barking. But there's something that's also been really personal about it on relationship building with customers and, you know, things that we would have probably never shared with each other in the past, health concerns or aging parents or sick dogs, you know. There's just been this piece that it's okay to be human and be in business, run a business, work for a business. And I don't know, there's just something about that, that I found to be positive, is a positive shift, little more compassion that we're all just trying to do our best. - Yeah, yeah, yeah. I would agree with that. And we talk about that. I've talked about that with a number of people it's come up in some of our creator network meetings where it's really a lot more about authenticity at this point than it has been, it used to be about being as polished and professional as possible. But now, you know, yeah. The kids come in on the Zoom meeting, like I said, the dog's barking in the background, like that's, that's real and that stuff you would have gone to great lengths to edit out of the pre-COVID world, but right now, and hopefully going forward, that is, that's not, yeah, we don't have to sanitize our life. Actually, my kids are running around outside right now. And you may be able to hear that. (laughs) - That's so funny. Even things you might, you know, I see your hair's a lot like mine, right. But, so, I mean, before I would shoot video with you in the past, it was like a thing, like go get my hair done, make sure my nails were done. Was my makeup ready? Like whatever it was. So on those first videos, it was like, everything was so... and I appreciated that. That's the feel I wanted to have. I still try to have that in the house here, but it's not quite, it just doesn't quite come off that way. I mean, you could see my little ear buds, you know, in the past that would have been like no way, Neil. Where's the boom mic. - Yeah, yeah, yeah. It works though. It works for sure. Yeah. So to bring it back to my notes here, I'm wondering where are we at here? Has anything really stayed the same, do you think? Has anything... Yeah, I don't know. Just hasn't changed that much. - Yeah, I mean I have found that the privilege from working from home for me that has been my privilege for 20 years kind of set me up for this. So what stayed the same? A lot of my customers who have similar environments in this type of field, the types of fields that I support, those HR representatives, they were able to transition to home and meeting still went off without a hitch. So I've actually been really proud of how much we have been able to maintain business continuity and, you know, hope in an optimistic for, you know, 2021 that things still stay that way. One of the things I've been very happy about is that oftentimes when there's a big contraction in the economy, training is one of the things that organizations think like, go trainings done. Like we're cutting that budget, no conferences, no training budget, no, right. Those types of things disappear. And it's amazing to me that in spite of the fact that all of that's had to shift, training has still maintained an essential role and being important where we're focusing our efforts are a bit different, but it's still there. There's this commitment to it. And I'm grateful for that because if someone has been a practitioner for like 20... What that tells me is, as a society we've shifted and we recognize that human capital, our talent, our people is not just this thing. It's what we need for business. And we see just how central it is in making things keep going. And I think that the part of that is because of everything that's happened with the pandemic in this worldwide environment, without adaptability of our team, these businesses would have just fallen on the ground. And I look around the world, I mean I'm inspired at the ingenuity and adaptability that we found. - Yeah, Yeah. And it's a, I think, nothing is gonna, I dunno. Nothing's gonna get folks to focus on training more than a shift like we've experienced in terms of like, you know, on site teams, all of a sudden being off site, everything being de-centralized, all of a sudden, yeah. The person that you trained perfectly to work in that cubicle over there and have everything on point is in, you know, is across town and you're trying to do things virtually and there's a lot more, there's a lot more to it. It's a little more complex, I think, right. - It adds complexity. It requires a lot more trust. It requires better communication skills. It requires flexibility and adaptability. So there's just some things and you know what? We have to be honest, it's not for everybody. I've been joking with my brother. He lives in California, works for a very large tech company. And so, you know, you would think that they can easily go and work home and he's like, "Please, dear God, "when will they let us back into the office?" (laughs) You know, he's got two little kids at home. His wife works from home. Not every house is set up to do this. It's not easy, but we're making it happen. And I'm so impressed by people. So that kind of answers your question, what stayed the same is this hodgepodge of what stayed the same and what's different. Like, I guess I feel like the building blocks for me are the same, the like ongoing, you know, the minutiae is a little bit of what's different, the coloring of those blocks. - Excellent. - Yeah. - Yeah, all right. Well, very well said. (laughs) - I try. (laughs) It's all your coaching and practice. - I don't know if it's my coaching, but I'll take it. So part of the reason that I wanted to have you on this podcast at this time is that we've rolled out and this has come up on a couple of previous episodes of this podcast, but we've rolled out something called the Vidwheel Creator Network, which is a product that sets up solopreneurs, small business owners with a video kit and coaching and a community to kind of support their creation. But the goal of it is to empower these small business owners to create their own video content. And the theme in the network this month is first videos. So that's why I thought it would be great to talk to you because we have had a ton of discussions about your first video and you already touched on kind of how things might be a little different now, you can't, or you don't have to go get your hair done every time before you're on video because you know, every Zoom meeting and so on, that's going on so regularly. But can you explain, I guess, what some of your, what kind of some of the things that were holding you back on that first video? Was there I think there was some fear of being in front of camera and so on. - So my first video in the studio and my first video on this set up-- - Oh yes right. - We're both fearful. So my very first in the studio was just that idea of like, how do I do this? You and I talked about riffing it where you just asked me a question and I'd respond, but I didn't like my, you know, bumbling through answers. I wanted to come off more polished and more scripted. And so we went through the process of like reading a teleprompter and learning how to read the teleprompter and do all of that. So it was intimidating, you know, I just thought like, what are people gonna think? Or do I really have anything special to share? Like, what am I sharing that's so unique? I think was, and who's gonna want to listen to me, there's a lot of questions about that and you really were able to talk me through, you know, what the conversation would look like, what are types of things that people do wanna hear. What do they want to talk about? And so I don't know that coaching at the beginning was helpful. And then just the trial by, you know, trial by fire, just do it and keep doing it. I remember my first session with you. I think we booked like 30 minutes and I think I was in there an hour, but what I loved about it was, is you just went with it. You're like whatever we're gonna make it be great. And that was really cool because I didn't feel the pressure. You were very generous with your time and expertise in that sense of saying like, "No, we want it to be great." "So if you have to be in here longer, "you have to be in here longer." And then doing it in my office here. I mean, we had some practice sessions of where's the camera height the right way? And how do we do this? And do you use a microphone? And do I use these earbuds? Do I use the computer earbuds, right? And then just, I had to come to terms with, it wasn't gonna be perfect, right. It wasn't gonna be studio quality. I can see the light, you know, flickering. And every time a cloud moves by the lighting changes, it was just wasn't gonna be the same. And it was a struggling of having to adapt to that. And so those were kind of my big fears. - Well, that just loops right back around to the whole authenticity thing, at least during the COVID lockdowns, right? Like people are, wear the ear buds, nobody's gonna think any less of the video and truly and this is where I think, you know, a lot of it just shines past all the kind of the surface stuff, but it's all about content anyway, right? So you're saying if you have great messaging, great content for people, there's a lot of instances where videos don't look very good at all and they still do well but it's helpful. That's all right. - Right now I'm watching the lighting change, I'm like now there another cloud. - Yeah just proven the point. - Now I'm in the shadows. Now I'm in the shadows. (laughs) So, yeah overcoming and I'm gonna do a little plug for you and me, I mean I've got a blooper reel that we pulled together that you know, once I got more comfortable in front of the camera, here I am going out to training sessions and teaching people about the value and importance of authenticity, the value and importance of practice till you get better and you get more comfortable, say the words do it. And I wasn't even showing off what I have to do in order to come off and feel that way. So we ended up, you know, pulling together a blooper reel, Vidwheel helped me do that with a bunch of my sessions. And you see my real personality come out, being more comfortable behind the camera. So-- - Yeah and that actually that's worth two points, right? Like the first one I would say is like, the more you do it, the easier it gets, I'm sure you would agree with that right. That first one is the scariest video, but the more you do it and the more you go through those blooper moments, like the better it gets. And then as you've told me, people have loved that blooper reel, right? - They love it. So you went both ways, just record your bloopers and you'll have a blooper reel show. - I know so we'll just have to do all the outtakes of our sessions today too. So no, I do. I think it's fun and you do get over it and you learn. I think what I've learned is almost everyone feels like a first one, but for a different reason, you know, now it's like, okay, first one where I scripted lesser, first one where I'm, you know, sitting down versus standing up. Let me tell you that's a difference. That's a really big difference. - Which is your preference. - I'd stand up all day long. So I've got to get to it... Once I go to the next round of setup for office camera and recording in here, I have to be in a setup standing situation. - Ending desk. We have somebody from the creator network who just made that adjustment and she likes it a lot more. She feels like she can express herself a little more fully standing. And it's interesting right? 'Cause it's person to person. That was the other thing. Another thing you touched on that actually I was gonna loop back to is you're used to standing up in front of large groups of people and that doesn't necessarily make you nervous. But when you got in front of the camera, it made you nervous. And I personally am the total opposite, right? Like I stammer all over myself when I'm in front a room of, you know, even 20 people. But when I'm in front of the camera, I'm usually significantly more comfortable. Though it wasn't always that way either, right? Like that took a few years to kind of get put together. But this whole COVID lockdowns had me doing interviews like this, you know, on Zoom, talking to big groups on Zoom and it's been, I've had to go even deeper on that. And it works for me for whatever that's worth. - Yeah, I think some of it is just, and being very honest here, it's just getting comfortable with seeing yourself on camera, right. And that idea, it's not even just the recording. It's just like, "Oh wow, I always tilt my head to a side." Like I do that in real life. People has never said that to me. - I go this way a lot when I talk, but yes. - I noticed that or I would notice, you know, that hair flips that I constantly, that I'm constantly like moving my bangs on the way. I think I do all those rigidy things all the time in front of people. It doesn't feel, I don't know. It doesn't feel bad in the context of an environment, nobody's ever said to me, "Wow, she's really got some quirks. "Let me talk to you about those." But you notice them, they show up differently on camera and we are as human beings. I can... I remember sharing a video with a family member and said, "Oh, can you see, I stumbled on my words here." And I looked totally tied at that point, but we couldn't edit it out. It was the silliest thing. And they were like, are you kidding me? I didn't notice any of that at all. - Until you pointed it out to me, right. - Yeah did you notice that awful hair that was like hanging in my face. No, I did not, right. So we're just always our worst, our own worst enemies when it comes to certain things and being on camera is one of them, I think. - Yeah and the... The other thing that comes with that is that I think people develop some other weird ticks and so on when they're on camera, right? Like maybe you don't flip your hair when you're talking in a meeting, but when you're on camera, you do, or like, and this actually, I'm kind of doing it on purpose now, but like I want at one point, like kind of taught myself that if you wanna feel a little more animated on camera, you talk with your hands. I don't talk with my hands if there's not a camera in front of me, like I don't lift them up off the table. But when I'm like trying to make a point on video, then I like do it, you know? So that's, you can train yourself to do some of those things too. - I definitely noticed that about you. And I noticed that when I'm on camera, I tend to like, kind of like shift my weight and rock when I'm standing. I don't do that in real life. (laughs) So it's just, you know, it's just kind of funny, but all of those things I learned and can also be unlearned. And the value for me, a video has been great. I mean, so as a consultant, I know that you're probably sharing this with a bunch of consultants, but my game is all about trust, right? I can share with you all day long that I've worked with these great, fantastic, well known household, brand name companies, and developed training programs. And, you know, average client relationships is five and a half years or whatever my stats are. That's great, I can put that all in an email to you. I can do whatever. But when you see me and engage with me, that's the trust building piece. And I think in today's business environment, we scope people out before we give them a call, we can do a lot of the research that we would have never done before, we would have had that first in person conversation. You know, joke and say, "It's like online dating, right?" You're just doing it with businesses. Like you can swipe past some pictures and see what you wanna see. And you think it all looks great, but then you like meet a person like no chemistry, right? And that's what video helps you figure out. - Well, that's and I've used that line quite a bit. It's like you get a chance to meet someone before you meet someone, which is especially important as a consultant or anyone who kind of is selling their own personality as much as anything, right. Because even if the knowledge is similar between consultant A and consultant B, you're gonna hire one because they fit your personality, the way you like to teach, you know, whatever it might be. There's gonna be that little differentiation. That's going to be the, the deciding factor. - Absolutely, absolutely. When all things are equal, right? - Yes, yeah. And alright, I'm gonna bring us back to this script before we go along here. And it is when you did put out that first video, what was the reaction? - My reaction or other people's? - Other people's reaction? (laughs) - Good question. - I think we covered my reaction. I think we covered mine. So it is, that's funny. It was great. It was actually really positive. I do have to say my mom has a very large social media following, so she really helps plug and play. You have never met a 72 year old who has a bigger network, but so anyways, I hope that's her age, I shouldn't have told the world. So, anyways, yes, it was really positive. I got great feedback, good comments. A lot of people just saying, just positive words of encouragement, like great job, or I could have never gotten on video, you know, people, and then there's that encouragement. That's like, no, really trust me I did it. You can too, you know, and I think that the most important thing I've shared with some of my friends who have started to do videos is there isn't a right way. Like, they're just kind of, isn't a right way. And we all go about this thinking like there has to be this this is what it is. But as we said, Covid let us all be a bit more authentic. So do what's authentic to you? Yeah, you know and one last thought on that, it's helped to give me courage too, and it's always hard to find the time, but I've been pulling together some ways to do a little bit of my own recording so that I can just put together my own thoughts and it doesn't have to just be all the super high polish. No I want my arms, I still want my arms edited and I still want, you know, some nice finishing touches and still gonna need a Vidwheel to help me. But it's different. It's just a little different. And for that, it makes it more accessible. And I like that. - Well that's, and that's something we talked to a lot of clients about, right? Like it doesn't... All the content you put out doesn't have to be super polished. Like it makes sense to if you're putting out like a real strategic polished cadence of videos, but in between you just do like day in the life, kind of, "Hey, this happened to me today. "And I wanted to let you all know." Like that... Especially those smaller bits don't necessarily need to be super polished. So yeah, there's so many ways to attack it and it's whatever works for your business, your personality, the amount of time and effort and money you have to throw at it. And you just, I don't know. I encourage everyone just go for it, right. You know, first one's not gonna be your best one, just get over it and go. - Well, and it's funny. I don't know if there's any Brene Brown fans out there or people who know who she is, but Brene Brown is very well known business coach these days and lots and lots of things. And she calls them your FFTs we'll bleep out the first F, but you can imagine what it is F times right. And so those first times, the first times are hard because it's the first time. And then it's a little easier. And then a different portion of the first time gets kind of weaved in there. And that's why I was joking saying like, "Okay, what first time in front of the studio, "or first time with one camera man "versus a different camera man. "Or first time in my office doing it myself." Like they're all kind of a little bit different, but you get through them. - Yeah, absolutely. And that's, you're spot on there, right? Like the, the first one, I always tell people, "Yeah, ship it right." Just go for it. Don't be afraid of putting it out there. There's another guy in the creator network who's always like, "Video's great 'cause if you put one out there "and it's junk, nobody will ever see it right." (laughs) Like the reality is there needs to be some kind of, you know, people need to interact and people need to share in everything if that's really gonna reach. So if it's not great, not that many people are gonna see it. - It's not gonna go out there. That's true, I like it. That's a good attitude. - Yeah, so just do it. Okay, so what we do to tie all of these episodes together is that we ask the same question. This is the smarter business podcast. And the question that we ask is what is one thing that you have done to make your business or client's business smarter. And it's gotta be one thing. That's what makes it hard. - Wow. Okay, stump me. Can we... - Yeah we can cut this out. (laughs) - I'm trying to think one of the things that in business. - I only sent you the notes, you know, 10 minutes before the recordings so it's okay. - Okay, I was like, I'm struggling here a little bit. Let me think about what that would be. I would say that my, in general, for clients, it is developing a strategic learning plan that ties to the broader business strategy. - Excellent. - Customers don't do it or people don't do it when it relates to training. And that's what makes businesses better, tying the two together. - Yeah, absolutely. If you're not tying everything to your strategic plan going forward, you're, I don't know, running zigzag, I guess, right. You know, it's not as straight a line. - And to believe they are not people. People think that, well, they have a training problem. So they just went off to get training done, but they don't necessarily connect it to that and they don't have a strategy with it. And so then, like you said, we're like chasing, chasing things and then it doesn't, it's not as efficient and it's not as cohesive and it's not as scalable or reusable. So those are the reasons why, but that's it creating strategic, you know, a strategic plan, that's very specific to learning and talent development. - Excellent, all right. So that's the end of our kind of formal questions and so on. I do always end every interview with an open ended. Just, is there anything else you wanna say, some people have used this spot to push a book, talk about software, mentality in business. Just, you know, if you have any last words you are... the floor is yours I'll say. - The floor is mine. So I would just say that I think that it's incredibly important to continue to maintain and develop your people over time. And the training is essential, especially in downturns of economy, because it's what keeps people engaged and moving and driving your business forward. So as easy and as natural as it may seem to think, like we've got a great team in place, we can pull back on that. It is actually something you don't wanna pull back on. And now everything has to be formal training in order to continue to be a development. And, you know, that can just include cross training or special projects, things of that nature. And it always hurts my heart when people think like, "We could just get rid of training "or that's not that important." Because it really is the glue that keeps things going. And I think like many systemic things that have bubbled up during all of this, COVID crazy. It's that when you had, when you've got really great people in place a lot can still, you can have a lot of business continuity still happening. And if you don't have good business processes and practices in place and cross-training and a good group of people, a lot of things fall through the cracks and the time to build that up and maintain it is now. - Excellent. That's a great last thing. I like it. So Ginine, thank you for taking the time to be on. Typically when we're back in studio we would shake hands, but.. - High five, virtual high five. - Just wave goodbye and yeah. Thanks again. - All right, thanks a lot. (upbeat music)