WMA Headlines October 2020July 27th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
Staying Connected: A Critical Component to Effective Communications
By Rosalie Leone
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought monumental changes to the ways we live, our personal and professional priorities, our work environments, and the way we manage our employees and businesses. The pandemic continues to send powerful shockwaves while raising a long list of questions about what’s next and what we need to do to be prepared.
There is a new normal evolving, especially in the ways we communicate with our customers, colleagues, employers and staff. The halting effect of COVID-19 on face-to-face networking at conventions, trade shows and conferences speaks volumes about the virus’s far-reaching implications on businesses. What we may have taken for granted in meeting face-to-face with our business partners is now replaced with virtual events which have become the standard for professional networking and customer relationship-building. Is this new “virtual reality” here to stay, and what effects will it have on building long-term business relationships?
We cannot control the pandemic, nor its impact on the economy, housing, employment or industry supply and demand. However, there are things we can control within our own sphere of influence when it comes to managing our businesses ethically and transparently, and keeping the lines of communication open even if it means having to do so from a distance. John M. Barry stated in “Pandemics: Avoiding the Mistakes of 1918” that the most important weapon against the disease, second to a vaccine in the next pandemic, will be communication. This is so true. It is paramount to problem-solving, sharing pertinent information, and even forming a stronger bond with your customers.
Yet, there is a critical component to communication that is needed for matters to move forward cohesively, and that fosters and builds lasting relationships: trust. According to a recent article from Deloitte Insights, “Trust is the connective tissue that binds together everything we do: our relationships, our actions, our expectations of others.” And being trustworthy in this new virtual reality that the pandemic has imposed on us requires communicating in our business relationships with competence and intent—competence meaning communicating effectively, meaningfully, and impactfully, and intent meaning communicating decisively in a caring and transparent way. Mean what you say and say what you mean with honesty and transparency. “These actions not only fulfill a company’s promise—they also strengthen relationships,” Deloitte says.
We do not know what the future holds—nor do we know when or if things will even get back to “normal” or the way they used to be. It may be easier to simply throw our hands up in the air and take the path of least resistance, while hiding behind a virtual veil, using the blame game strategy to justify the injustice of these new set of restrictions. But that is not what makes business and business relationships thrive.
Resiliency and the ability to adapt in difficult times with care, integrity and transparency develops trust and trust builds ongoing relationships. Staying connected in all aspects of our business is imperative, be it face-to-face or virtually, along with the knowledge that effective communications start with successful business practices. If company practices prove to be successful then businesses have the foundation for stability, recovery and ingenuity.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.