Everything we do right now — from sending emails to making calls to sending texts — is more important than ever. How we make people feel now is going to linger longer than these turbulent times.—Barbara Palmer
No doubt about it, work relationships are essential. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business or work for a large corporation, are self-employed, or work in the service industry. All require that we stay connected and show genuine interest in those we interact with.
Networking and building relationships have changed in our current world. We still need to consider and connect with customers/clients, suppliers/buyers, shareholders/stakeholders, and maybe public figures, vendors, and government agencies. Regardless of your line of work, you can’t let relationships go cold.
It’s not a good time to invite others to lunch or jointly attend a conference, but you can use email, social media, or zoom/webex, etc to have casual check-ins. Simply asking how they are doing and sharing wishes that their co-workers and family members are well opens doors and creates a connection. You can also ask about their line of work; many are suffering and a friendly ear that simply listens is valuable. Listen more than you talk!
For those that you have less frequent contact with, keep track of when you’ve last reached out to them. Jot down notes about your last connection and personalize the follow up for future touch points. (There are many tools available to use and even excel can be helpful to track names, dates and topics).
And, you can’t forget about those you work with on a daily basis: direct reports, colleagues, co-workers, bosses, outsource partners, etc. What are you doing to stay connected and show you care about them? Most all are getting weary with “isolation”, and in the past vacation time was used to refresh and have a change of scenery. This is no longer the case; a friend pointed out that very few are taking time off as how that time is spent is limited. Most want fun, travel, or rest and relaxation in a desirable setting and those options are mostly on hold.
If you’re a leader, make your connection more than just about work assignments and quality reviews. There are many jokes, comics, and images that can be shared to make each day brighter and create a chuckle. Who wouldn’t appreciate something to smile about?
Relationships are the basis for all of life’s rewards and struggles.