Some say the pandemic has created an evolutionary marker in time where all things before have transitioned into something new. Certainly, when it comes to human interactions and how we view communication, we can agree.

Highlighted throughout the pandemic is the significant importance of connection.

In this, we have recognized how words, both written and oral, matter in order to create and sustain a meaningful rapport.

Whatever means of communication is being utilized—phone—virtual—it can be agreed, we simply need to start where we are. For ease of simplicity, let’s imagine zoom replacing the in-person as it has been for the past year and how it is expected to remain as the future of connection unfurls.

  1. If I were “in person”, I wouldn’t approach a meeting with a bag on my head. I would show up, dressed, and prepared, which translates into camera on and in the best environment I am capable of creating. Deals have been lost because, despite the great product, the person on the other end couldn’t trust the facilitation because they couldn’t “see” the person.

In an informal poll, participants leading pet peeves with virtual meetings are not being able to “see” one another.

  1. Remember how we were and apply it to the present. When we meet “in person”, seldom do we jump right into the purpose of the meeting. That’s too intense for many to have a positive response. In person, we would take the time, after the handshake to make small talk and chit-chat to transition into the purpose of the meeting. Find the synergy, the mutual likes and dislikes, take a breath and be yourself. To engage in a deep, virtual conversation with meaning, the experts agree there needs to be an atmosphere of comfort and trust.
  2. Take a moment prior to starting the meeting to step away from preconceptions and be open to actively listening and engage. The virtual environment requires some push on the non-verbal cues, so use your hands, move your head and “show” the person on the other end you are present. It may seem unnatural at first, but it will create that “in-person” feeling of collaboration.
  3. The words used in virtual conversation matter and can have a significant impact on the outcome of the conversation. If you ask someone if there is anything else you can do to help, be sure that you actually “helped” and that you are not using this as a means of ending the interaction. This could be the difference between a business close or failure.
  4. Know and plan your calendar time according to whether it is an actual meeting with an agenda, or simply an engagement for conversation and social connection.
  5. Slow down and remember to breathe. Don’t be in a hurry to close out the interaction. Use your imagination to picture that you are actually in the same room and how you would naturally act and react to the stimulus because these are real times with real people.

Conversation is an art form and done well, can impact many, making them empowered and less lonely. A well-done conversation will impact business, teams, management, even friends and family.

Special thanks to “Eye on Culture” for a wonderful February of daily learning from the very best of culture leaders.

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