In the industry of communication the value of in-person conversations to build relationships and grow business is undeniable. But as the world continues to change around us, we have to be flexible and able to communicate in new ways.
If you’re like us, you thrive on constant collaboration and human connection. We are in the industry of communication and believe the value of face-to-face, in-person conversations to build relationships and grow business is undeniable. But as the world continues to change around us, from working at home to supporting causes we believe in to learning new technology, we have to be flexible and able to communicate in new ways.
Fortunately, technology has enabled us to continue this through various video conferencing platforms: WebEx, GoTo Meeting, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams – the list goes on. So, what could go wrong?
Here are just a few examples of the struggles we have faced:
- “Can you hear me?”
- Video doesn’t work.
- Slow Wi-Fi? Audio cuts out. Platform restarts mid-meeting.
- “You’re on mute.”
- Why can I hear myself talk?
- “No, you go ahead. Sorry.”
- “Who is eating chips? Can you please mute?”
- Cat got your tongue? No, the cat is walking on my keyboard...
- Screaming children and barking dogs?
Not to mention, many IT departments have enforced regulations that inhibit employees. Many of our clients can’t host or participate in specific video conferencing platforms or they can’t access certain file sharing sources due to increased security measures.
With all the issues that could come into play, how do you keep the conversations smooth and work progressing when face-to-face meetings aren’t an option? Here are a few of our suggestions:
- Use platforms built for online collaboration and communication to share ideas and documents such as Microsoft Teams, Box, Slack and Asana
- Know what platforms will and will not work based on security measures and test these ahead of time
- Set up weekly video conference status calls with clients to encourage ongoing engagement and face time
- Be patient and flexible – understand everyone’s circumstances, timeframes and tech-savviness is going to vary
- Understand the meeting might not go exactly as planned – roll with the punches and find a new path to the finish line
- Schedule video lunch calls or drop-in happy hours
- When all else fails, go old fashioned and pick up the phone and call
Finding new ways to communicate can lead to very positive outcomes. As an agency, we’ve found our virtual meetings are extremely productive. It has produced stronger engagement with fewer interruptions and strengthened time allocation with our team which lessens the need to reschedule.
On a personal note, there’s humor to be found in trials and errors and you gain an understanding for what everyone else is going through – you’ve likely been there too. We learn more about the person on the other end of the call, where they live and what they’re like at home. At times, you both actually feel more relaxed and comfortable.
We all have to remember that no matter what obstacles we face, we simply need to keep communicating beautifully. We’re all in the same boat – and will continue to navigate new waters together.
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