Since the start of the pandemic, none of us has had as many chances to meet people in person. As a result, we are all doing more meeting and relationship building remotely. When we meet someone we like and connect with – remotely or in-person, professionally or personally, how do we keep that connection alive? It’s more difficult now that we can’t just grab coffee twice a month or connect at our favorite conferences or wherever we are in the world together. So how do we keep the conversation going?
Often when I’d finish a focus group, I’d say to the participants that I wish we had more time, that I need to find another reason to come together again. There is rarely an opportunity to make that happen, focus groups being what they are. But it has and can be done. And one thing I’ve (re)learned as I do more remote meeting and remote research is to make time for people.
Take the Initiative
In Gay Hendricks book, The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, he reminds us time is something we own and should take full ownership of, that we are the source of time so we can make it, it’s not something that controls us. When we meet new people and we hit it off during that first 30-minute conversation or networking call, and we have more to talk about, take the initiative to suggest another call. Rather than act as if this is the only 30-minutes we’ll have together, choose not to rush, and schedule a follow up call, when you can have another equally satisfying and meaningful conversation.
We don’t have to accept that one meeting and one conversation is all we get when we meet people we like. My most recent in-person research, like research in general, led to meeting and spending time with some great people. The participants were honest, thoughtful and creative in their responses and advice. We were so interested and appreciative of them that we all wanted to take the relationship further. We have been to see them multiple times, have periodic contact to check in and answer their questions, and will be including them as we continue the project.
Build the Relationship
Some people we talk to are fleeting moments in our lives. But if we find someone with whom we have a connection, whether it’s because they provide foresight and insight that lets us do our jobs better or we have something in common and sense the potential for a new friendship, stay connected.
From phone calls to Snap streaks, video chats to socially distanced coffee, there’s no reason we can’t keep building relationships and continuing the conversations. In fact, there is every reason to do it.
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