In virtual meetings it’s easy to get tunnel-vision. To be hyper-focused on the task at hand, or the ideal result. And this can hinder conversation flow, interest of the other party, and ultimately the lack of rapport. Considering the basics of providing virtual nods of ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ to let the other person know you’re listening, common courtesy is always important. But what can you do to achieve the same professional relationship that would organically develop in a face-to-face meeting?
I recently held a workshop and decided to put three props in the background of my zoom set-up: an A1 poster of a map, a fishing rod stood up in the corner and a 3D globe that sported on the table. Throughout the duration of the workshop, not one person commented on any of these items.
Although we miss the professional air of meetings being held in an office environment, we have the power to see into people’s homes and working environments. Someone’s kitchen, living room or perhaps a home office. Picking up on these cues and incorporating it into your conversations can create a strong connection, quickly. By finding common ground, you are creating an environment of safety and belongingness, which have significance when it comes to building rapport.
So, it’s important to keep up with the standard practice of science, ask questions, pick up on cues. These conversations did not exist in the world of 2019, but now we can maximise the value of objects and convert them into rapport building opportunities. Reengage with clients in a different manner during meetings and successfully build new and existing professional relationships.
By now, we all know that having call after call can get tiresome, but don’t use that as an excuse. Own your opening line and impress with your expertise, whilst incorporating the subtlety of being aware of the family dog picture that may be in their background. I challenge you to try it out for yourself and see the value it adds to your meeting.