How to Build Rapport in Virtual Conversations

Has your networking taken a hit due to work from home?

Do you find it hard to build rapport online especially since people choose to switch their videos off?

Are you looking at simple techniques to bond with clients and colleagues to make virtual communication more effectively?

Here are a few quick tips:

REMEMBER NAMES

Are you someone who can never remember names?

Do you think it’s alright to apologetically tell people that you have a bad memory and absolve yourself for not remembering their names?

If your answer to the first question is yes, you need to work on it.

The answer to the second question is – NO!

No matter what your excuse, when you forget someone’s name, he/she will not take it kindly. It’s human nature. You are bound to make people unhappy.

That’s because the sweetest sound in any language is that of your own name. And that’s the case with everyone else too.

So, even if you can’t see someone on a virtual call, you can always use their name a couple of times in your conversation. (You can see names of people on a virtual call)

Using someone’s name makes it personal and creates better bonds. Try and use this technique in most situations – with clients, colleagues – and on virtual calls or personal meetings.

USE THE RIGHT BODY LANGUAGE

With virtual meetings, the scope for non verbal cues is limited. However, we still some effective body language left make others comfortable.

Smile genuinely. Make eye contact through the lens of your device. Use hand gestures effectively.

These little things can go a long way in creating rapport just like you would in real meetings.

Here are more body language tips: How to feel confident in just 5 minutes

MAKE SMALL TALK

This is one of the best ways to get familiar with people. Small talk is anything apart from work. It’s what we’d generally call chit-chat – asking about people, the weather, their families and general things like that.

Here are a few suggestions to get small talk right:

– Learn about their family or their hobbies and interests

– Ask open ended questions to get more information

– Listen actively. Don’t multi task over a virtual call

– Remember their answers or you can’t build on the information the next time

Think of safe topics to talk about. For instance, ask about their family, their interests, the city they are from, how’s the weather, food favourites, hobbies.

EXPLORE SOCIAL MEDIA

Everyone is online in today’s times. So it’s a good idea to look up people – important clients or members of your network – and have a general idea about them.

This is isn’t stalking but general research and gaining knowledge about the people/client you’ll be talking to on a virtual call.

Getting to know about people’s backgrounds helps break ice faster and the extra intelligence will be edge that you have in the conversation.

Here are some tips on how to communicate better on social media 

CONNECT ONE ON ONE WITH TEAM MEMBERS

Working from doesn’t mean that your job is secure forever. It is still imperative to stay in touch with your team members and seniors.

This will be of great help during the lockdown and also once offices resume.

If you are a team leader, connect with your team members one on one. Call them and catch up with non-work topics. It’s important to be empathetic and understand how your team members are coping with the lockdown.

This applies to even senior managers and team members too. Staying in touch and supporting each other is a big part of online bonding and rapport building.

How are you connecting with your team members and other employees during the pandemic? Do share any tips you have in the comments and help others working from home.

You can also connect with me on Linkedin and say hello!

You can also watch videos on developing virtual skills on my YouTube channel.

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