At these challenging times, maintaining and building your professional relationships is more important that ever. You have to think differently though about how to approach it, especially as the natural, more informal ways we come across people are not currently possible and every interaction needs to be more intentional.

This article summarises the key points from my short video series Professional Relationships when you can’t meet in person, to help you to build virtual professional relationships, if you’d like to watch them, you can do so here.

Video 1 – Aligning expectations and communicating with your line or project manager

The current situation is likely to put more strain on professional relationships, even if you have a good one with your manager.

Here are my top 3 tips for maintaining and building the relationship at this time:

  1. Make sure the priorities of what you are spending your time on are clear; it is very easy to assume so it is worth checking the relative importance of any new requests versus what you are already working on.
  1. Understand the pressures on one another from both a work and home perspective. This is important as it will affect individual behaviour and potentially when you are each working.
  1. Agree how you will communicate – the frequently and the preferred method of communication between you as well.

Video 2 – Continuing to build your exposure with more senior colleagues

Exposure is key to career success, so avoid taking a break from building relationships with more senior people.

Here are my top 3 tips for continuing this at this time:

  1. Continue to arrange virtual conversations or coffees with those you already meet with.
  1. Consider who else you have been meaning to connect with. If you feel you can contact them directly then do. Make sure you are clear there is no set agenda, you are just wanting to understand more about their perspective on a topic or find out about their career path. If it is difficult to contact them directly then consider who could introduce you.
  1. If you don’t already have one, make a plan so that building strategic relationships with more senior people becomes part of each week. Contact me to find out more on how to do this.

Video 3 – Keeping your team motivated and developing their skills

 An effective team who are engaged with their work (yet not stressed) is essential at this time.

Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Agree how you will communicate – the frequency and the preferred method – at a one-to-one and team level. Make sure at least some communication is by video call, so you can visibly connect with each other.
  1. Remember to be human, ask how they are getting on from a general perspective. There is a lot of necessary adjustment at this time.
  1. Make sure they have enough work to do, that they can see the point of the tasks and the priorities. Also, introduce the idea of individuals working on their development areas if there is time, and spend time with each discussing their potential focus topics.

Video 4 – Impactful virtual meetings 

 We are all going to be on a lot of these in the coming weeks and in many ways they take more energy than in person meetings.

Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. If you are leading a meeting, make sure only the people who really need to be there are and ensure they are clear why. People need to feel their time is used well so they can be fully engaged.
  1. Switch off other distractions such as social media and email. It is very tempting to distract yourself with these and it is obvious, especially if you are on a video call!
  1. Consider your personal impact, if it is a voice only call, make sure you speak clearly and at the right pace and volume. If it is a video call you also need to think about what you look like and anything distracting in the background.

Video 5 – Using LinkedIn effectively

 This is an extremely useful professional tool and even more so at this time.

Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Update your profile so that it is relevant and engaging. There are 8 key elements to focus on, contact me to find out more.
  1. Engage with your news feed more frequently to raise your visibility. Even if you don’t want to post, liking, commenting and sharing helps others be more aware of you.
  1. Use it to message external contacts such as those you have met at networking to see how they are getting on.

This article summarises the key points from my short video series Professional Relationships when you can’t meet in person, to help you to build virtual professional relationships, if you’d like to watch them, you can do so here.

 

If you would like to spend some time on your career development, the below email series and Booklet will help you. Feel free to contact me with any questions or to talk about your situation.

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