Virtual Meetings and Hybrid Spaces: How can we stay connected in a genuine and HUMAN way?
This last two years has taught us a lot. It has taught us resilience, bravery, patience, and to accept inevitable change, even in the face of sheer uncertainty.
That said, change is hard. But, it is also a good thing.
While we are all still mourning the loss of the regularity of hugs and handshakes, we are slowly returning to some of those things, and learning to adapt in a “new normal” that is evolving yet again, ever changing like the tide.
As humans, we crave connection through speech, touch, and acknowledgement of presence. 2020 until now has taught us to adapt. The virtual meeting space, while not new, seemed so to most as the largest percentage of us were forced to go remote and onscreen in order to function in a new era while working, learning, and being.
Workspaces, learning spaces, and even family visits for a time had to go online and onscreen in order to happen. But, happen it all did! It took some growing pains, and every one of us, young and old learned to navigate the waters of reading the virtual room.
Teachers, Students, Coaches, CEO’s, Realtors, Doctors, Attorneys… We all learned new skills and put them to the test. And we have survived, even THRIVED in a new world.
However, while technology has been a blessing it has also been a curse as it too, evolved over time. The disconnect between humans and a cavernous distance in ability to create healthy relationships has caused the interpersonal relationship building skills of many to wither slowly, but thankfully they are not dead!
Through gaining an awareness of this, and learning to find new ways to connect genuinely, even through a screen, we can regain that connection. Of course, it is not the same as being in someone’s space, or feeling the touch of a handshake, hug, or even the the tangible energy of another person in a room. Yet there are so many ways we can reconnect and rebuild.
The things I hear most often from clients, ” Their camera was off, and I couldn’t connect to a little black square”, “I can’t read their body language or feel the energy in the room”, and “They were more interested in their cell phones and eating than listening to the meeting”, are really happening, even 2 years in, and these are just a few!
By simply being human beings being HUMAN, and allowing for more vulnerable, honest, and empathic communication with one another and CLEARLY making our needs known to potential virtual meeting participants, we stand a far better chance at building genuine relationships, even virtually. We need to remember that we are all in the same ship on the same sea.
Trust me,,, you are NOT alone in having had a naked five year old, save for his towel tied around his neck, yelling ” I’m Superman!” come running through your home office (or, in today’s world, your kitchen-now-turned-office) in clear view of the camera as you engage in a virtual meeting with 10 colleagues!
The virtual meetings are here to stay, in whatever capacity they best benefit the users. There have been so many benefits. Families can actually be together more, companies and organizations are saving thousands, even millions of dollars on former travel expenses, we can now do business and communicate globally, and we are all learning to evolve in a new era.
By implementing some simple tips, we can be the change!
*Request that cameras remain ON so that you can see and hear each other which shows respect and value, and learn to change the way we read body language by shifting it to a more nuanced observation. Believe it or not, even the way someone holds their jaw or sits in a chair can be telling… Not to mention that having your camera on says to the person in the little square next to yours that THEY matter, you value their time and offering, and that you are present and engaged.
*Dress for the day, no matter where you are meeting. It truly matters, and it has been scientifically proven that how we dress up and show up directly affects our productivity.
*Recognize that we are all in this together. Whether you are back in office on a hybrid schedule and still meeting virtually 70% of the time, or still completely remote and calling in to join.
By training individuals and sales teams to learn new skills regarding virtual human connection, (and by the way, these skills translate to in person as well! ) we can definitely level up the genuine connections we are all craving to regain.
*If you would like further information regarding Connective Engagement and leveling up your genuine connections, even through a screen, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org