Connecting Online and In-Person in 2020
Zoom is, in some ways, better for connecting these days because we are not limited by our geography, commuting, or time (to some extent). We are able to connect with people we might not have ever spoken to before and we’re able to meet on a moment’s notice, if possible. No more waiting for traffic, trains, or buses. We’re able to actually run and get coffee and snacks between or during meetings in a different and easier manner than before. (Some of us are even working out of our kitchens!)
However, what many people are feeling is that they’ve lost the human connection, that meaningful or emotional connection that you get from being one on one with people. Sure, it’s easy to see why. We are online with 10 or 12 people at once. We have to divide our attention and be on point, which makes it harder and more exhausting to be emotionally present. But this is worth the effort if we can do it, especially if we schedule one on one Zooms or small group online meetings.
I have to be honest, in my profession, with counselling and mortality issues, there’s a lot of human touch involved when the client wants a gentle reassuring hand on the shoulder or passing of a Kleenex to wipe the tears. But we can still make solid connections with people as long as we give them our full attention.
We need to be fully present with each other. A lot of us might think we are but think about it for a minute – how many of these are you doing while in meetings?
How Do You Attend and Be Present with Others?
❓ Really try to get to know the other person as a human being and not just as a client or business colleague?
❓ Turn off your notifications on your phone or desktop?
❓ Click around and check your email while in meetings?
❓ Let your eyes wander out the window or onto that notepad on your desk? (It’s different if you’re clearly taking notes and still meaningfully engaging with the other person.)
❓ Mute yourself so you can talk to someone else in the room, not just to not interrupt the meeting speaker?
❓ Turn off your video, again so you can talk to someone else or walk away, instead of just decreasing the bandwidth?
What Can You Do to Make Being Online More Meaningful?
I challenge you to think about how you are engaging with each other virtually these days. COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon, even if we get a vaccine in early 2021 as is being predicted. I imagine that, for many of us, working from home and taking online meetings will be a way of life for the foreseeable future. So be sure that you are engaging with your fellow Zoomers:
- be fully present,
- smile even when you’re just on the phone (it makes a difference in your voice and your caller will appreciate it!),
- be professional yet warm,
- embody caring and positivity,
- reach out with little messages of support and caring,
- and as always, be sure to deliver on your promises.
People can feel if you really care about them or if you’re treating them as ‘just another client,’ ‘just another call or meeting to get through,’ or ‘just a number.’ Don’t make your clients and colleagues feel like they are a hassle. Make them feel important. After all, isn’t that how we all want to be treated every day, anyway?
And always remember, in Zoom meetings, on the phone, and in everyday life, it’s not what you say but how you make others feel that they’ll always remember.