Photo by Martin Barraud
How to maintain trust when you’re not always face-to-face
Despite going into, and out of, varying levels of lockdown what matters even more are your relationships. We find most ADHDr’s are sociable, chatty human beings and with a lot of companies allowing greater flexibility in work locations the replacement of in-person interaction with call/online video or chat methods has been challenging.
The Harvard Business Review conducted a research study on virtual working environments and found that virtual teammates are 2.5 times more likely to perceive mistrust, incompetence, broken commitments, and bad decision making with distant colleagues than those who are co-located. Worse, they report taking five to 10 times longer to address their concerns.
Managing the trust you’ve built into your relationships is key to maintain the bonds you have in place. Trust is so important because it boils down to psychological safety for all involved. The safer everyone feels the better your relationships will be. Being transparent, reliable and treating everyone equally still goes a long way to maintaining trusting relationships. But here are some tips to help you maintain your trust if you’re managing your relationships remotely.
Add visual cues by using:
Seeing someone’s face fosters deeper connection and likability than simply hearing their voice. Make sure there is ample light in your room so the other person can clearly see your face. When you can see someone’s facial expressions it’s easier to assess their tone and how they’re feeling.
Even online you can still project your warmth and personality by:
Do remember to actively engage in the conversation or at least move your head occasionally so those on the other end don’t confuse your stillness with a bad internet connection.
The background will also provide the people you’re talking to a personal aspect of you. You may even want to put something in the background (a souvenir, piece of art or your collection of ???) that you can share and talk about to help “humanise” you and make your conversation seem more personable.
Most companies are used to emojis being used in internal communication like emails and online chat. In fact, they’re extremely helpful, when used in the right context, to help people understand how you’re actually feeling about a situation. For example, a brief message can’t be interpreted as a snappy message if there’s a smiley face at the end of it.
Add aural cues
The water-cooler moments or when you’re grabbing lunch were the times when you were able to stay connected with those around you. And the standard rule of “microphones off if you’re not talking” does make it difficult to encourage interaction.
If you’re in a more formal setting, like a meeting, wait for five minutes before starting to allow for some small talk.
Asking people how they’re feeling and responding to that shows your listeners that you care and helps to validate their online experience. This encourages reciprocation and more fluid conversations/better collaboration.
You might even use the “bad connection” line as a way of asking for greater clarity.
At online events or webinars check to see if they have break-out rooms where you can go and chat if you need a break from the presentations.
Humans are drawn to familiar feelings for comfort and display trust in those familiar experiences. So above all, be yourself. Don’t change who you are in the presence of a virtual meeting. If you like to make people laugh then that’s OK even if it’s not face-to-face.