A Guide to Building Relationships in the Digital Age

The new year has begun, and as we look back at 2020, it is clear that it taught us valuable lessons. These past few months have changed our lives fundamentally, and there are consequences of the global pandemic that we are not yet aware of. Our everyday lives have been affected and the ways that we move, work and meet have changed, not least in the business scene.

The importance of connecting

Most professions, one way or another, include an element of building personal connections to others. Because of the pandemic, business people around the world have suffered a great loss of human contact. The connection between people helps build trust. Verbal expressions, shaking hands when meeting new people and even the subtle, non-verbal communication helps us understand each other and bond. With a sense of trust, it is easier to come together and create enthusiasm for common projects and goals. It motivates as well as builds engagement. Personal connections create a great possibility for us to learn from each other. Gaining from other knowledge will help you grow as an individual.

Sharing knowledge and information with each other is something that humans have done for thousands of years and might be one of the most 41 common ways to connect. In order to create a sense of trust and bond with the people you work with, there are a few tips and tricks to make it easier for you. 

Be human

Everyone that you work with, colleagues, employees and customers all have their own lives and things going on outside of work. Greet people wholeheartedly, ask how they are and be an active listener. Ask questions about their family, friends, pets and how they are holding up in these times.

Simply start a conversation with someone about something other than work and hear their reflections. Of course, you should not waste time talking about non-work related things, but casual conversations have a positive impact and help people connect socially.

When you show that you really and truly care, people can’t help but like you. Sharing a personal experience and how the pandemic has affected you is another way to bond with others today. Show new sides of yourself and be open to new people and their ideas. Admit that you don’t know everything since the people who have all the answers usually push their own agenda; show that you are not one of them. 

Be prepared

A big difference between physical and online meetings is the level of preparation. Most people prepare thoroughly before a physical meeting. Powerpoint presentations are perfected in the slightest detail, notes are written down, agendas are emailed and pencils sharpened.

Video conferences used to be equally important, but today, the attitude has changed, and they are no longer the engaging tools they used to be. People can be forgetful and show up unprepared to a physical meeting, but the difference is that some become too comfortable out of the office setting. Start treating your Zoom-call like a physical meeting and prepare yourself the same way. Do not forget about the fact that work performance spikes when you are comfortable in your right element.

Put on your work clothes, get a cup of coffee and try to be five minutes early. If there is something wrong with your computer or other electronic equipment, this is the time to adjust it. Be prepared, ask questions, stay engaged and talk to people the same way you would in real life. Everyone appreciates feeling seen and heard, and this will help build a strong bond with your coworkers. You truly become the best professional version of yourself when you manage to pay more attention to the people around you.

Engage in activities

Water cooler conversations are no longer on the map, but there are loads of fun activities you can throw online together with other people. Zoom, Skype and Google meet are some of the most commonly used tools for video conferences.

Try out different team-building activities, and as you grow closer with the people around you, it will affect your work performance positively. Throw a virtual after-work or why not create your own Kahoot quiz for everyone to play? Grab a coffee and a snack while chatting about work, life and everything in between. Other activities to try out can be starting an online book club or putting together a group yoga session.

There are no limits to what we can do using technology and imagination. We all feel a bit lonely sometimes, especially when locked up inside of our homes. Connecting to people is so much more than just meeting in person. Sending mails, emails, chatting or video chatting; the possibilities are endless. Start your journey on building valuable connections today.