Yes, I know this sounds quite contradictory, but let us look into this in more detail and you will see it is not. Thanks to all the communication possibilities we have available nowadays, we are actually able to have better interactions than ever before. How come?
Many people across the globe have been asked to stay at home, and as a result, many of us are now working from home. So how do you interact with your customers and suppliers, but also with your friends and family today? In the pre-COVID-era, we were already active users of email, Whatsapp, mobile telephones, and we were travelling a lot and meeting each other in real life. At the same time this costs a lot of time, so we were always very busy and often in a hurry to go to the next appointment. Therefore, many interactions were actually quite superficial, and discussions were limited to the topics that were on the agenda.
Distance separates the bodies, not the minds
The world around us has now changed dramatically. We are completely dependent on online communication. Video conferencing has seen an incredible increase in its usage. People are having virtual meetings with their family or friends, and we do a lot of video conferencing for business meetings. But this time it’s different. We all have a common enemy: COVID-19. We are all in this together, and as ‘Omdenken’ quotes this beautifully: distance separates the bodies, not the minds.
More personal interactions
So, where before your interaction with a customer or supplier was purely business oriented, we now have a common topic to discuss. What are your experiences in regards to the measures that your country has put in place because of COVID-19? We see people in their private setting during those video conferences. And more importantly, we notice that people take more time to talk and listen to each other, something our sales team also experiences in practice. Interactions have become more personal, and we learn things from others that we did not know before. Just the fact that we make more time for each other and having a more genuine interest in how the other is coping with this situation, helps us improve relationships a lot.
So in fact, COVID-19 is sort of a wake-up call. It has forced us to rethink how we interact with each other, and it has made us aware of how important it is to pay attention to your social contacts, be it personal or business. Nobody knows how much longer we will be confronted with COVID-19 and its social distancing measures, so I firmly believe this new way of interacting with each other is here to stay. Even when a vaccine is found, I think many of us will have started to appreciate this way of high-quality interaction with each other, and that this is something we will want to keep.
I am curious to hear your stories; do you experience that your relationships have actually improved as well? And if not, maybe now is the time to change and spend more time and attention to those you interact with. Stay safe, stay healthy!