How to connect despite social distancing

Life has just jumped tracks. 

 

One minute we were heading into a recession…but we kind of knew how to handle that…and we could prepare ourselves for less spending by less individuals and businesses…It would hurt, but it was something we could handle.

Coronavirus is a whole other ball game.  With giants falling fast and hard through imposed protocols implemented to protect the population, thousands of jobs being lost and less industries and businesses to pivot into, it’s uncertainty plus plus plus!

If the new normal for the time being is people not meeting in person as the norm, what do we need to develop instead to ensure we remain connected with our teams, our prospects and our clients?  A new set of skills and practices must be added to our toolkits.

 

ONE: Technology is our friend – use it wisely and use it well

We live in a time when we’re used to using technology to connect with others via social media, face time and cloud based video conferencing services.  It’s now about leveraging those tools effectively and appropriately in a way that will foster and develop a business relationship.

Using face time to speak with those you’d see and speak with on a daily basis makes sense: colleagues, team members and suppliers.  But, don’t be distracted when doing this.  Sit or stand and focus on the other person.  Take time to let them know they matter to you by giving them your attention – even for 5 minutes

Social media platforms are good for messages to many but remember that LinkedIn is a business platform and while Facebook and Instagram can be too, ensure your brand is consistent.  For example, if you’ve traditionally used Facebook and Instagram for your personal posts, don’t suddenly start posting business information.  Set up a separate account to do that.

 

TWO: Use visual cues like you would in person to connect when using Facetime, Zoom, Skype or webex

You can only do this when you give the other person your full attention.  Take time to check in with the other person: read the room – how are they feeling?  What is going on for them right now?  What is their greatest priority?  How can you support them to make their lives a little bit easier?  Matching and mirroring still applies here: the major difference is it’s primarily top half of the body so take note.  Pay particular attention to facial expresssions and hand gestures.  Language patterns are important too: pace of speech, breathing, pitch, volume and words will help you to connect faster.

Depending on the quality of your internet connection, there may be delays in communication from one person to the other.  Practice is the key.  Wait until the person has clearly finished and if you’ve finished, make it clear you have so the other person knows it’s their turn to speak.  Having said that, the awkwardness of stumbling over one another can be a way of connecting if there is a shared sense of humour about it.  Just remember, this is someone you value: treat them that way.

 

THREE: Build your auditory communication skills

And then there’s the phone.  Avoided by many for actual phone calls, it’s one of the most direct communication tools we have available to us.  Trouble is, it’s rarely used well.  Here are a couple of tips to help you build better connections using your mobile:

If you’re on a joint call with many others, mute your microphone while others are speaking so that background noise doesn’t interfere with their message and sound quality

Match the tone of the call: is it professional, serious, factual, friendly, direct, story-based, detailed….read the room quickly and respond in kind to demonstrate respect

Listen for the pace, volume, pitch, breathing patterns and language patterns to match and mirror

Listen for the emotion underneath the call. Close your eyes to help you “tune in” better to your speaker

 

FOUR: ake a conscious effort to schedule calls and meetings the same way you would in person

We schedule face to face meetings so if we’re meeting virtually instead, make sure we schedule them in the same way.  It’s important that the same degree of planning, focus and time is given.  Do you know the outcome you want by the end of that conversation?  Do you have a structure to achieve that?  How well can you execute that?

 

FIVE: Email is not a replacement for an actual person to person conversation: merely a confirmation of it or interim communication tool

Period.  In a time when we’re less able to meet in person, go to the next best tools: phone to speak with someone or video conferencing to see and speak with someone.  Email is flat, open to misinterpretation and never a replacement for person to person actual conversation.

 

Skill up people!  Relationships matter more than ever.  Stay connected and build your capacity with technology so that they become the facilitators of deeper connections with the people we support and who support us.

 

 

View our other posts

9 restorative ways to tackle the confidence crisis

Salespeople...heck, any one of us, loses our mojo every now and then.    It’s part of the human condition. While it can signify introspection which is important as we make meaning and hopefully build greater self-awareness it can also signal a more permanent...

Quantity or quality?

Once upon a time in a land far far away sales managers everywhere were perplexed by the dichotomy they faced: sales teams who were hitting targets by having high activity rates at the expense of poor customer experience or leaving opportunity on the table.  Their...

Have you reached your limit yet?

Many of us have.  There is so much going on right now, it feels like “The Quickening” with life taking on a roller coaster type quality and speed....without the good thrills though.    If the last 2 years wasn’t enough for us, the torrential rain and floods in...

Curiosity is king

When we think of being curious, it’s easy to link that with questions...discovery.  But did you know that curiosity also dissolves tension, and ensures that an already fraught situation is more easily neutralised?  As a relationship building tool – customers,...

Inner strength

This morning I heard someone say that extreme self-reliance is actually a trauma response that prevents us asking for help.  It’s linked to early life trauma that tells the sufferer that asking anyone else for anything is dangerous: emotionally, physically,...

Purpose led teams

When it comes to elevating sales performance, it’s understandable why organisations look to the most cost-efficient methods that will deliver the greatest bang for buck.     Most organisations opt for initiatives like: Identifying new customer groups that...

Make 2022 Your Year

Regardless of what happens “out there”, 2022 is in your hands.    Success or failure.  Lessons or a loop.  Growth or stagnation.  Joy or suffering. Hit or miss.  It’s the way we approach the year that will make all of the difference, because when we’re aligned to...

Embracing Change

There’s a meme going around social media about 2022...something about this year being like the boyfriend who lets you down but you keep taking back because they promise to change?   I admit I had a bit of a chuckle to myself, not only because I’ve been there, but...

Take Time to Recharge

Well it’s been quite the 2 years, hasn’t it?    For many Australians, they’re more than eager for a decent break....a time to recuperate mentally, emotionally, physically even spiritually.  The toll of lockdowns, constant disruption to routines, home schooling...

Be the light that others run to

My cousin said this in our weekly Zoom chat.  She was referring to a friend who was that for her.    When we’re in the midst of darkness, we need direction.  We need a light to run to, don’t we?   Light of the soul, of the spirit.   Are we opening...