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How to Build Rapport in a Remote World  

Since the pandemic struck in early 2020, a significant number of people entering the workforce, changing jobs, or engaging in sales and business development activities, found themselves needing to take an entirely different approach to establishing rapport and relationships.

Making connections with people in person is definitely different than attempting to make connections remotely or in a hybrid work world. Communicating via text, email, phone, or even video conference, just isn’t the same as communicating face to face. While technology certainly was a trusted aid during the pandemic—and continues to be for those still working in hybrid or remote environments—building rapport in a remote world requires a different approach and different tactics to make those relationships meaningful.

Here we share some best practice tips for establishing and maintaining those connections.

Don’t Be Too Shy to Share

Building relationships in the physical work environment happens over time based on shared experiences and the little things that help us get to know each other, like sharing information about what goes on in our personal lives and families.

Those same kinds of connections can occur in the remote world, but need to be more deliberate. Sharing something personal when you’re connecting with someone remotely can be a good way of building a personal relationship. To the extent you feel comfortable doing so, breaking the ice by sharing information about the weather where you’re located; what you love to eat for lunch; or stories about your children, pets, or significant others can help build connections.

Watch Your Cadence

It’s easy to be in too much of a hurry as we connect with others via text, phone, email—or even videoconference. In a remote world, though, it’s important to watch your cadence and slow it down a bit. Don’t be in too big of a rush to “get to business.” Build in a little time for casual conversations to help build better connections.

Understand Others’ Communication Preferences

We all have different preferences when it comes to communicating with others. Some prefer to pick up the phone. Others, to send a quick text. Paying attention to, and accommodating, the preferences of others can help you build better connections. That doesn’t mean you have to use text every time you connect with someone, because that’s what they prefer. It does mean, though, that paying attention and using their preferred method most of the time can help you make an impact and boost your relationship.

Don’t Be a Ghost!

One of the challenges of the virtual world is that it’s so easy for our connections to become “out of sight and out of mind.” We forget to follow up simply because we don’t have a visual reminder of those we interact with regularly.

Ghosting in the virtual world is common—especially so during the talent acquisition process, and it can be a huge pet peeve for employees and employers alike. Make sure that you’re taking steps to follow up with others; it’s a very simple way to stand out in the virtual world.

Do Your Homework—Know Who You’re Calling

Taking the time to understand a little bit about who you’re calling can help you stand out and help to make quick connections. If you’re calling a technical candidate, know a few  things about their background—refer to some specifics from their resume. That’s an easy and effective way to make a positive connection.

Take Steps to Understand

As you connect with candidates, take the time to thoroughly understand their needs and preferences related not only to pay and benefits, but also to how and where they prefer to work, the importance of flexibility, etc. Gaining a solid understanding of what’s important to them can help you be a better advocate. That’s an important way to build relationships for the long term.

Pick Up the Phone!

In a remote world, it can be easy to default to communications primarily via text and email. Picking up the phone is a simple way to stand out and build strong relationships.

Building rapport in a remote world is different than in face-to-face settings. But it can be done, and done effectively. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference. Following the tips here can help you stand out in a world where relationships can be harder to build.

Photo Credit: Canva

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